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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A discussion on mapping product_type attributes on Google for Bonanzle sellers

Eye_catching_beauty_thumb128First, let me extend my sincere gratitude to Bonanzle Merchant eyecatchingbeauty who created this tutorial for fellow Bonanzle sellers who are interested in improving product ranking and searchability in Google Product Search and Shopping through attributes. Although this information has not been endorsed by Bonanzle management it has been endorsed by Google! I believe it may be of great value to many Bonanzle sellers, particularly to the "over-achievers".

And so I share it here:

Google Basics for Organic searches – how Google finds information to match:

Google's goal is to provide users with the most relevant results and a great user experience.  All of the content on the website and its pages: including your [descriptions, titles, and your image file names] as well as any sites linking to your page/site and many other factors I have not discovered or we do not have control over – such as the Bonanzle’s load speed, use of dynamic pages… all of the components combine to determine the site’s relevancy to a search query made on Google.com, Google Image search, or Google shopping…. Any Google related website.

You can read more about that here
Google 101: How Google crawls, indexes and serves the web.

Why Google?

What about Yahoo, bing, AOL, ASK.com?  Well those search engines are important of course, but their secondary to the Google Giant & it really is a giant in that it serves an enormous portion of internet users.  How much?  This Much

WOW!  Crazy huge- over 80% of all global online search queries are performed in the various Google sites – images – shopping…

Google didn’t buy its users with dollars and isn’t a monopoly like eBay a result of being the first ecommerce platform running wild because it paid our Government prostitutes to turn the blind eye.  Google produced a better product for its users earning Google the market share it has acquired.  Google has practically exterminated the Yahoo & Microsoft search engines which ruled the search engine market for years before Google made its debut.

Google's goal is to provide users with the most relevant results and a great user experience.
If you use Google ask yourself why.  I use Google because:
1)      I am not bombarded with ads on the homepage
2)      Google asks my permission to track my use of its various products
3)      When I do a search I find what I am looking for in the first few pages
4)      When I click a site I do not land on some scummy, malware, spyware, virus infected site as happens far too often on the other search engines
5)      The layout of the pages and the ads being distinct from organic search results yet not flying out at me make my browsing soothing
6)      I can sort results by news, blogs, books, groups, products….. to access my interests quicker than searching through a thousand results including all of the above medias 

In essence, Google is all about me – what I want, how I want it, and the atmosphere that makes me comfortable.  Google knows its audience (internet searchers) and caters to its audience.
Websites are of course important, but if a website isn’t compatible with Google’s philosophy /goal than that website and its content is of absolutely no value to Google.  Google wants relevant content that provides a great user experience.

It isn’t a guessing game, a big secret, or a mystery involved in what Google wants.  Google clearly states what the guidelines are if a site/its pages are going to be included in its index.
You can go to Google’s web help and read about the various aspects of using Google’s search engine as a searcher (tip: reading this will help you understand what you should do as a content provider).
Webmasters (or content providers such as us with are mini sites) can read scores of information & how to articles in Google webmasters Help.

Product content providers (that is us but via Bonanzle) can learn about Google Shopping by reading the help articles…. At the Google Merchant Center site  Google provides ample and specific instruction and guidelines to be followed if you want your products indexed in Google Shopping and how well you conform to those guidelines will hugely impact your placement in Google Shopping search results.

Google Shopping or Google Product Search What The Heck is it?
Google shopping is an engine dedicated to helping consumers find the products they want to buy without having to sort through the organic search results that are not purchasable products.  In other words Google shopping is Google’s effort to please its users by providing a site for them to shop without the clutter of blog articles, reviews, news….. returned in the search results on Google.com.
Isolating products from the rest of the crap requires Google to both capture and organize the products information.  Google uses attributes to categorize the products indexed in Google Shopping.  So what is an attribute?

An Attribute is a quality ascribed to someone or something – a quality describing someone or something

Brown eyes
Blond hair
….. an attribute describes a quality or feature of a person or product

Google “attributes” are exactly that each Google attribute describes a quality or feature of the product
Brand: Lancôme
Color: Red
Condition: New
Product _type: Health & Beauty > Personal Care > Cosmetics > Makeup > Lips > Lipsticks

Reading the above attributes we know that combined they are descriptions of a product
New- Red- Lancôme –Lipstick

What is the purpose of Google’s Attributes?
I’m sure you remember ‘Google Base’- yes of course Google Base = Google’s Product database

A comprehensive collection of related data organized for convenient access, generally in a computer.
Google uses attributes to organize our products in its database for not simply convenience, but because users want results when?  That’s right when they hit enter they expect the result to be on the page by the time they blink.   When a search query is made for example Urban Decay Lip Gloss Google processes my keywords and uses its “knowledge” of what items are most often clicked into when those terms are searched and goes to its product database –

The search terms consist of 2 attributes
Brand:Urban Decay
Product_type:Lip Gloss
Google goes to its database buckets to combine the attributes into a profile to select the products to serve up in the search results.
So the attributes
The above attributes are all single terms, so why then does Google use this string for the product_type attribute?
Product_type: Health & Beauty > Personal Care > Cosmetics > Makeup > Lips > Lipsticks"

The product is a lipstick right?  So what is all this [Health & Beauty > Personal Care > Cosmetics > Makeup > Lips >] about?
That is the map – Google uses the map to access “relevant” products as quickly as possible.
Health & beauty >Personal Care > Cosmetics > Makeup > lips > [lipsticks]

Notice the product type is the last term in the sequence the rest of the terms is the map.  What if the map to my product_type ended with a “brand” or the generic brand “other” and not lipstick?

What happens if I do not include the map?
What happens if my map isn’t identical to Google preferred/suggested map?
How quickly can Google locate your product & how well does your product match the search query?

Google's goal is to provide users with the most relevant results and a great user experience.
The attributes you use describe what your product is.  Using applicable attributes in your listings provides Google with a product profile that it will use to determine relevancy.
The map you attach to your product_type attribute will determine the speed at which Google can locate your item.

Users want and expect Google to send a list of results matching their search query NOW!  Right now – how long will it take Google to locate your product?  How well are you describing your product via attributes?

Search query: New Red Lancôme Lipstick
What attributes do I need to be considered relevant & found fast fast fast??
Product_type:{ map}> [Lipsticks]"

Product_Type: Health & Beauty > Personal Care > Cosmetics > Makeup > Lips > Lipsticks"
You need {Google’s Product_Type Map} leading to the [product type]

The simple reality is there is not a single product_type attribute that Bonanzle is submitting that is correct – why?
1)      The category structured attribute he was sending ended in a Brand or Other (a generic for brand) – a brand is not a product – brands should be submitted under the brand attribute
2)      Sending only the [product_type]{without the map} slows the speed at which Google can locate your product and decreases the probability  that it will find it
3)      Bonanzle map is not the same as Google’s Map

Bonanzle Map
Health & Beauty > Makeup>Lipstick>[Lancome the brand being sent as the product]
Google’s Map
Health & Beauty > Personal Care > Cosmetics > Makeup > Lips > [Lipsticks]

They do not fit – so in my opinion need to be changed regardless of where you see it when YOU search for your product.  Always remember that it is the ability of others to find our products based on what search terms they would use which can be far different from what we use.

Also – and most importantly – remember that attributes are for Google’s “filing system” in its database, and is not for buyers.  Your job is to give Google the details of your product with the attributes & provide the map to your product_type so Google knows your product is relevant to a search and can access your product immediately – any extra time can land you on page 50…  When have you ever been on page one and Google’s results started shifting as though more relevant results were coming in at a later time and bumping the others out of the way??  You haven’t and you won’t – use the map – the quicker Google can locate your items the higher your rank will be if you have all the other attributes you need to let Google know the other details about your product.

Ok now you know my reasoning for making the change if you want to also
You can find the product_type taxonomy here
You can find the full list of Google Attributes here
Here are images to help guide you in locating the product_type attribute in the taxonomy & applying them in the batch edit on Bonanzle.com.

(added by ECB 4/15) In my opinion the product_type attribute that Bonanzle submits is not optimal – it is as good as it can be – in other words I can do it better and it is in my best interest to do. Why isn’t it good enough?
1) The category structured attribute he was sending ended in a Brand or Other (a generic for brand) – a brand is not a product – brands should be submitted under the brand attribute

2) Sending only the [product_type]{without the map} slows the speed at which Google can locate your product and decreases the probability  that it will find it

3)  Bonanzle map is not the same as Google’s Map

The reality is there is not an algorithm anywhere that can communicate to Google what your product is better than you can.  If you intend to rely on programming than you should expect less than optimal results.  Yes, it would be great if everything always worked the way they are designed to, but we all know better than to have such fantasies – even as I type this I am having some funky formatting issue that I can’t figure out.  The point is – Sh** happens and usually it causes a lot of extra stupid time sucking work, but often after we clean it up we find we have learned valuable information that had the sh… not happened we probably never would have looked into at all.  In this circumstance not much was selling and that caused me to wonder wth > causing me to email blue penny to ask for the Tom the developer link > while looking at that I noted one of my items had the [[brand:new]] after thinking on the attributes more I decided to go make some changes and found a lot of my item’s had a whacky brand attribute.  The brand bug glitch led me to look deeper into the role of attributes……. Also found that bug which is what killed my sells.

There has been only one “glitch” ‘bug’ (that I am aware of) and that glitch involves the brand attribute not the product_type attribute.  If you have never applied the brand attribute to your listings than you should go to your batch editor > click search optimize> and look at every item to be sure you did not have one applied for you.  If you find you suddenly have [[brand:adults]] applied to your Coleman lantern than you might want to remove that and while you’re at it add the [[brand:coleman]] to your item and if you haven’t already add the [[condition:attribute]] as well.

There have been misunderstandings concerning the product_attribute and Bonanzle.  When I posted about the attribute the other night it wasn’t to say hey they’re screwing up.  I just wanted to share what I learned and what I am doing so if anyone else wanted to give it a go they can.  I like sharing information if I think it will benefit others – though often I regret hitting submit – hard headed I guess J

The product_type attribute is important – you know Google Products probably wants to know your product type – and I saw that the product_type Bonanzle was submitting is not optimal in my opinion– it does/did work I have sold every single month I have been live on Bonanzle  - my 1st sale 4 days after I hit the on switch.  Actually,  I don’t think we even had attributes at that time to apply – I don’t think so…you will have sales as I’m sure most of you have.   I just want more so I decided to try gaining greater exposure (than I had prior to the brand glitch) by beefing up my attributes and thought others might want to as well.

This is hugely important for you to know

What I am not
• I am not a Google expert
• I am not Google endorsed
• I do not offer this information as a guarantee it will benefit you
• I am not saying it is essential for you to do to have sales

I am just another seller trying to figure it all out just like you.  I share what I think might help and hope it does.  Please if you decide to try this and you’re not sure how or what ….. just ask me I don’t want anyone spending a week revising/adding attributes and have them be wrong.

Oh, and this has nothing to do with traits either – the brand bug is a result of the mapping of the trait to the attribute process thingy – the trait is not incorrect it just caused an attribute to be added in some circumstances.  So don’t remove your traits – those are for Bonanzle just ensure your attributes are accurate and for me that means making sure that I decide which attributes are submitted for me as much as possible.  For you that might be a quick scan to be sure all is well…..However, if you do decide only a quick scan is needed be sure to remember your decision if something should occur.  You can absolutely control the attributes submitted for you if you choose not to then

Bonanzle sellers are welcome to continue their discussion here.


  1. Thank You Both for making this information available. I can now quietly read and re-read this important information in peace. I thank you So Much again and have a trial ad using this information up and running.


  2. thank you and I am trying this on a few items, unfortunately, batch edit for product type does not appear to be accepting the sting (at least mine) at this time

  3. huggets you need to make sure you do not include the quotation marks

    [[product_type:Clothing & Accessories > Clothing > Outerwear > Sweaters > Cardigans]]

    No " or ' or ; or , in your attributes they do not work in the editor

  4. Here is an article written by Tom the Developer supporting my suggested method of which product_type to use - one word, a string, or Google's suggested string


  5. And if the last article from Tom the developer wasn't convincing perhaps this will be