How to Set up a Google Merchant Center Account

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn how to showcase your products through Google searches by setting up and integrating a Google Merchant Center account for your business.

[Featured image] The owner of a plant store sets up a Google Merchant Center account on a tablet.

Google Merchant Center is a centralized dashboard from which you can organize all your e-commerce products so they appear in Google shopping searches. Doing so allows potential customers to browse your products via Google. You also can integrate other Google business features such as Google Ads (formerly AdWords) and local search functions. 

By the end of this tutorial, you will know how to set up and update a Google Merchant Center account.

How to set up a Google Merchant Center account

We’ve put together a series of steps to set up your Google Merchant Center account:

  1. Sign up for a Google account if you don’t already have one. 

  2. Create a merchant Center account.

  3. Add your business information. 

  4. Verify your business URL.

  5. Set up shipping.

  6. Set up sales tax.

  7. Add products.

  8. Review Google's product policies.

  9. Submit for review.

To illustrate the process, let’s review each step in more detail. 

1. Ensure you have a Google account before you begin.

A standard Google account is a prerequisite. If you have one, verify that you are logged in. If not, you can set one up.

2. Create your Google Merchant Center account.

Create your Google Merchant Center account by clicking here and clicking Sign up for free. Google will ask you to input details, including your name and contact information. You'll also need to indicate whether your business is online, brick-and-mortar, or both. Additionally, you must agree to Google’s terms of service.

[Screenshot] Google for Retail signin page
Google Merchant Center signup page

3. Add your business information. 

The business details you'll be requested to enter will depend on the type of business you're setting up. Follow Google’s prompts to ensure you provide all required information, which may include the business name and address, website, and contact details. You may be asked to provide a phone number for verification.

4. Verify your business website.

To link your website to the merchant account, Google will ask you to verify ownership and claim your website URL my adding an HTML tag or uploading an HTML file to your site. You may also choose to verify through Google Analytics if you're already using it on your site. 

[Screenshot] Website verification step for Google for Retail

5. Set up shipping.

On this screen, you can select which countries you deliver to, and choose a currency and delivery location.

[Screenshot] Shipping selection screen within Google Merchant Center

6. Set up sales tax.

Google will suggest a tax setup for you based on the location of your business. You can choose to let Google determine the amount of sales tax to collect or opt to set this up manually. You can also select whether shipping and handling charges are taxable or not. 

[Screenshot] Set up sales tax within Google Merchant Center

Tip: It's always a good idea to talk with your tax advisor before setting up your business to ensure you're in compliance with all state and local tax laws.


7. Add products.

Google gives you the option to add products directly from your website or add them manually one at a time or in batches via a file or Content API. Here are a few tips to optimize your product data for Google Merchant Center:

  1. Use high-quality images: Google Shopping is a visual platform, so high-quality, clear images are important. Ensure your images are well-lit, feature the product prominently, and are set against a clean, preferably white, background.

  2. Optimize your product titles: Your product titles should be clear and descriptive. Include important information like the brand, product type, and attributes such as color or size. The first few words of the title are particularly important as they are more likely to catch the shopper's eye.

  3. Write accurate and detailed product descriptions: Include important selling points and features of the product. Google uses the information in your description to understand what you're selling and match your product to relevant searches.

  4. Include all required attributes: Google Merchant Center requires certain attributes for every product, such as 'id', 'title', 'description', 'link', 'image_link', 'price', 'availability', etc. Be sure to include all required attributes, and as many optional ones as are relevant, to provide a complete picture of what you're selling.

  5. Use Google product categories: Google has its own set of standard product categories. If possible, map your products to these categories. This can help Google understand what you're selling and show your products in relevant searches.

Remember, the goal is to provide as much relevant and accurate information as possible, so that Google can match your products to the right searches and shoppers can find what they're looking for.

[Screenshot] Add products to a Google Merchant Center account

8. Review Google's product policies.

Google will walk you through a set of policies on things like refunds and returns and what you can and can't show on product listings. Take some time to read through these, and make sure you're aligned before starting the final review.

9. Submit for review.

Once all steps are complete, you will see a prompt instructing you to submit your account for review. Choose this option, and Google will review and approve your account. 

Advantages of using Google Merchant Center

Using Google Merchant Center allows you to run Google ads for your products. The integration of these features makes advertising streamlined and effective. With Google being the most popular search engine [1], having products listed for customers when they search can be a significant advantage for your business. 


Learn more with Coursera

If you enjoy learning about e-commerce and digital marketing strategies, including accessing the Google Merchant Center, consider upgrading your knowledge. For example, explore best practices and strategies with the Google Digital Marketing and E-commerce Professional Certificate. Get you job-ready in the field in six months or less as you learn at your own pace from the experts at Google.

Article sources

  1. Statista. “Global search engine desktop market share 2023,” Accessed June 13, 2023.

Keep reading

Updated on
Written by:

Editorial Team

Coursera’s editorial team is comprised of highly experienced professional editors, writers, and fact...

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.