If you’re going to roll your own online store, and want to be able to compete with the larger sites, you MUST create a Google Merchant Center (formerly Google Base) data feed. If you’ve read the instructions and found them confusing, it’s only because they are trying to give you as much information as they can, so that your code will be tight. It really isn’t that hard at all. You can make a Google Base worthy data feed from a normal text (.txt) file without any HTML or XML. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that they prefer it that way.
I recommend making your own because all the feed generator software I’ve tried is too buggy. Somehow, the file gets broken and what you put in isn’t what comes out. A common error is “too few tabs” or “too many tabs”. To save yourself lots of frustration and wasted money, it’s best to make your own. It’ll be a bit of a headache the first time if you have lots of products already, but after that just add new products and upload it again.
What you want to make it “tab delimited”. The first line in the file will be your header line, that tells what things you need Google’s spider to know about your products. These are the “tags“. Between each tag, you press the tab key, and at the end of the header, you press the enter key.
On the next line, you type the information that would apply to each tag. Between each of those, you press the tab key. At the end of each item, you press enter.
Yes, it’s that simple.
When people are looking for products, they usually use the search engines first. This will be especially important now that eBay has essentially closed itself to smaller merchants and individual sellers. They’re not as dependable as they were for the best prices or for special or hard to find items. So go do it now.