How do I categorize my products for Google Products, Bing Shopping and other feeds?

In order to maximize any data feed, most feeds have some form of categorization that they recommend or even require. Google Products is no different in that they now require you add a Google Product Category to your feed. They technically only "require" it when your items fall into one of the categories listed below, but the Feed Wizards recommend loading this data for all your products to be safe, and maximize your feed.

Apparel & Accessories > Clothing
Apparel & Accessories > Shoes
Apparel & Accessories (Note that submitting this value for clothing and shoes is not acceptable.)
Media > Books
Media > DVDs & Videos
Media > Music
Software > Video Game Software

In order to do this for Google Products, or other feeds, we now have an automatic categorization mapping system. What does this mean in non-geek speak? Basically if you categorize your products for Google Products, we will automatically map it for all your other feeds automatically.

How do I add the category information?

Categorization can be loaded in three different levels and you can use all three or any of the three in any combination.

1. Load a default category: This is a category that will be used for any item that you haven't set a category through one of the later methods below. To do this simply go to http://support.google.com/merchants/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1705911 and search their taxonomy (you can use the search box or expand the sections). Then find the lowest level section that matches, click on it, and the TEXT value listed above is what you want (without the quotes). Now you can either simply let the Feed Wizards know you want to use this as a default Google Product Category. Or if you want to do it yourself, you can. Simply login to the Feed Wizards Dashboard, Click on My stores, click on your store name, and then click on Mappings next to the Google Feed, and then find the line for Google_Product_Category and click the E so you edit the line. Then enter the value in the Default Value field and click Save.

2. Load a category on your section pages: To do this if you have catalog manager, you can edit the table and add a field called fw-category (that's the name we look for for our automatic mapping, you can let us know if your want to use another field but it won't auto-map for other feeds). The field should be a TEXT field. If you don't have catalog manager, contact us and we can explain what's needed to add it to your item types or manually on pages. Now simply edit any page in catalog manager or the editor, and in the fw-category field, enter any category from Google's Taxonomy and our system will automatically apply that category to any items directly in that section. This only applies to items directly in the section, not items that are deeper down in further subcategories.

3. Load a category directly on your item pages: For this you'd take the same steps as you did for categories (to add the field) but instead edit any item page and load the fw-category data there.

So you understand the hierarchy and logic, here's what our system does. First, when taking any item and loading it in the feed, it checks to see if you have loaded the fw-category on the item page. If you have, it uses it. If not, it then looks at the direct parent section the item is in. If it has fw-category loaded, it uses that one. If not, it then uses the default value listed in option 1. This way you can categorize quickly and easily and only have to do item level categorization if none of the other methods work for an item.

As always, if you have questions, let us know. We're glad to help maximize your Google Products Feed for your Yahoo! Store as well as any other feeds you need help with.