Product Taxonomy Automation

Understanding Google Product Taxonomy and Its Benefits

Matt Payne
November 23, 2022

45% of searchers take less than 5 seconds to act on a Google search results page.

You can assume that most of your users aren't carefully analyzing the search engine results page (SERP) before deciding which result to click.

What does this have to do with Google product taxonomy?

Your customers are making choices based on visual data. They're quickly interacting with familiar user interfaces, thumbnails, and drop-down menus. How you categorize your products affects your sales and conversion goals in a myriad of ways.

In this article, we'll cover what Google product category taxonomy is, and how it can be used to benefit your business.

Key Insights

  • What Google's product categories are
  • How Google product category taxonomy works
  • How Google’s product categories work with other platforms
  • The benefits of categorizing your products
  • The different methods of product categorization

Google’s Product Categories

Before explaining Google's current taxonomy, let’s understand Google product categories.

As a merchant, you have the option to categorize items using the Google product category [google_product_category] property. The options you have for categorizing your products and their relationships to other products all fit into one large category tree. This system is known as a "taxonomy."

A taxonomy is intended to assist prospective customers in finding your goods on your site.

Taxonomy & Standardized Product Categories

The Google taxonomy (also known as “Google shopping taxonomy”) is Google's list of product categories used to organize goods in a particular data feed known as a "shopping feed."

There are about 5,595 categories in total, although this number is subject to change as Google updates their taxonomy to account for new products and categories.

Each category in Google's taxonomy is carefully organized and labeled to help shoppers find products quickly and easily. Since Google's taxonomy is standardized across sites, shoppers also benefit from consistent navigation and expect to find similar categories in your online store as the ones they are used to from other sites. For you as the merchant, the taxonomy is used to help merchants optimize their product listings to attract more customers and maximize their sales.

By default, Google overrides pre-existing custom-created categories and automatically categorizes goods for you.

However, to put products into categories that your customers will recognize, Google first needs to understand how to index and recommend those products.

There are a few ways to help Google do that. To help you, here's our guide on product taxonomy automation and how it works.


We mentioned there are currently around 6,000 categories. Each begins with a general main category such as "Animals & Pet Supplies" or "Apparel & Accessories."

From there, the categories branch off (subdivide) into sub-categories such as "Pet Supplies" or "Clothing Accessories."

Here's what the hierarchy in Google's product taxonomy looks like:

Apparel & Accessories > Clothing > Activewear > Motorcycle Protective Clothing > Motorcycle Jackets

How Google’s Product Categories Affect Other Platforms

Google's product categories are meant to organize and present your products in a standardized way.

Correct and thorough categorization helps optimize your website for multichannel marketing.

Additionally, Google can quickly determine if a user's search query matches your website's products, based on product categorization.

A couple of other channels that use the Google Product Category include Bing Shopping and Facebook Dynamic Product Ads.

Google Search Results

Categorizing your products makes it easier for potential customers to locate your online store.

With SEO, relevancy of your results to user search intent is key. By adopting Google’s standard product categories you can ensure that your products are indexed correctly and show up in the results for the right searches. This way, you can get more organic traffic and potentially increase your sales.

Simply put, if their search phrases match your products, they're more likely to visit and buy from your website.

Google Shopping Campaigns

While GTIN can assist Google in matching products to search queries, Google Shopping relies on Google Product Categories for both comparison and navigation.

Google Ads

Google’s standard product categories can also help you save money on ad campaigns.

Google decides what to show searchers depending on several characteristics and qualities such as Title and GTIN.

For each category, Google has various editorial criteria and advertising practices.

No matter what type of goods you sell, you must first define the relevant Google product category in order for them to be accepted.

When you categorize products in a way that Google understands, Google can show your ads to more relevant buyers. If more people who see your ads click on them, you will probably see higher click-through rate (CTR) and lower customer acquisition costs (CAC).

Facebook Ads

You can use Google product categories on Facebook to create additional product sets.

However, Google's Taxonomy contains multiple levels (hierarchies) that can help you simply categorize your products advertised on Facebook without breaking them into product sets.

Just as with Google’s native ads, standardizing your product categories on Facebook can help you see a higher ROI with Facebook ads. By using correct product categories for your listings, you can make sure that your ads reach the right audience. This way, you can create more effective ad campaigns, improve visibility, and increase your reach. 

Why Should I Categorize My Products?

Some categories, like "Apparel & Accessories," need product categories included in the shopping (data) feed.

Even though you're not obligated to include many other categories, there are still good reasons to do so. Google’s product taxonomy is a useful tool for:

  • Reducing the amount of clicks and time consumers spend looking for a product
  • Improving SEO and organic traffic
  • Getting better results out of ad campaigns.

Reduce Clicks Required to Find Relevant Products

Consumers are impatient and, in today's digital world, they expect instant gratification. This is why it is important to reduce the amount of time and clicks they have to take to find what they are looking for.

By helping your customers find products faster, you can not only reduce the bounce rate but also increase the number of items added to shopping carts.

Furthermore, shoppers may not even be aware of the products that you have available. If they can’t find a product in the category that they expected, they might assume that you don’t sell a specific item, even when you do.

Through the use of Google’s product taxonomy, you can provide consumers with the most streamlined and convenient shopping experience possible. This will give them the ability to quickly and easily find the exact product they are looking for, allowing them to make their purchase with minimal friction.

Improve SEO and Increase Organic Traffic

If your visitors can't simply discover what they want to buy, 79% will go to a competing site for identical goods.

Additionally, a lot of Google searches end without a click, leading to lost opportunities for businesses. To combat this issue, Google product categories are designed to help businesses like yours and your products to appear within relevant search results for potential buyers. When your products appear for more relevant searches, you will see an overall improvement in your click-through rates (CTR) and search rankings.

As a result, your business will be able to efficiently guide consumers to the products that they are searching for, thus improving your website traffic and ultimately your sales.

Businesses that make use of these product categories can benefit from the improved visibility and presence that comes from being listed as a relevant search result.

Get More Out of Your Ad Campaigns

Correctly categorized products make it easier for Google to show your ad to relevant buyers. This categorization can also be used in tandem with Facebook ads and Shopify.

When you correctly categorize products within a standard taxonomy, you can more easily create targeted campaigns for increased clicks, conversions, and sales.

For instance, you can use an appropriate Google product category as a targeting option in your ad campaigns. This will allow you to show your ads to people who are more likely to be interested in your products.

Additionally, you can use the taxonomy to create product sets on Facebook. This will allow you to target specific categories of shoppers and ensure that your ads show up in front of the right people.

Finally, you can use the taxonomy to organize your Shopify store in an intuitive way that makes it easier for customers to find what they're looking for.

By correctly categorizing your products, you can make sure that you are getting the most out of your ad campaigns and reaching the right people.

Types Of Categorization

Here we'll cover two methods for categorizing your products: manual and automated.

Overriding the standard Google taxonomy to manually classify each and every item may save you money.

However, if your schedule doesn't allow for such tedious customization, automated classification can be a lifesaver.

Manual Categorization

It's worth repeating that manual categorization is time-consuming. It also gets more complex as you add products and categories to your site's store.

Incorrectly categorizing products means Google may not index them or mis-categorize them.

The reality is that once you've chosen to manually categorize product categories, you'll need to continuously update business rules and keywords to keep up with the growing complexity.

While manual categorization can save you money, the complexity of the process has created a demand for eCommerce automation tools.

Automated Categorization

As you’ve probably experienced yourself by this point, setting up custom transformation rules and keyword matching can be a time-consuming and error-prone process. 

Getting all of your product categories is essential, but when completing this work at scale for hundreds or even thousands of items in your online store, it’s easy to make mistakes. But the consequences for even simple mistakes are severe. Mis-categorizing your products can lead to decreased sales and even rejection of your products in the Google Merchant Center.

This is where Pumice comes in. Our automated product categorization solution uses AI technology to accurately map your products to their appropriate categories within the Google Shopping taxonomy. 

With over 95% accuracy, Pumice ensures that all of your products are properly categorized, increasing the likelihood of your offerings getting featured in the Google Merchant Center and Google Search. And if Google changes its taxonomy, you won't have to worry since categories are automatically updated.

By making it easier for customers to find your products and understand their relevance, you're more likely to see an uptick in traffic and conversions. And by automating this process, you can save your team days of time-consuming, manual data processing. With all the time you save through automation, you’ll be able to focus on other aspects of your business, such as shipping, customer support, and promoting your products.

Automating your product taxonomy with Pumice can be a game-changer for your ecommerce business. Our AI-powered software will accurately categorize your products, save time, and ultimately help you increase sales and revenue. Don't waste time and resources on manual categorization - let Pumice do the work for you.

Setting up custom transformation rules and keyword matching must be done correctly. Mis-categorizing products within the Google taxonomy list can be catastrophic for sales.

Instead, consider Pumice's automatic categorization software. Our AI has learned the relationship between the Google Shopping categories and product data with over 95% accuracy.

By using it to map your categories, you'll reduce the likelihood of having items rejected in the Merchant Center.

And if Google changes its taxonomy, you won't have to worry since categories are automatically updated.

Add AI Automation to Your PIM & Catalog Management

Ultimately, understanding Google product taxonomy is about understanding how to give your customers the best possible shopping experience.

If you're ready to leverage AI to automate your product information and catalog management for you, check out our pricing page here.