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Google Merchant Center will no longer remove listings missing return or refund policy and insufficient contact information

Google has updated its Merchant Center policy to no longer automatically remove shopping listings that are missing the return and refund policy and also that have insufficient contact information, the company posted. This specific policy change is only for free listings, not for paid listings.

What is new. Previously, Google would automatically disapprove Google Merchant Center feed listings that either is missing a return policy and/or a refund policy. Google would also automatically disapprove Google Merchant Center feed listings that have insufficient contact information. That is no longer the case, Google said these free listings with these issues will remain active.

One note, the enforcement type has changed for the free listings policies but the policies have not changed. What has changed is just how Google will enforce these policies for free listings.

Limited visibility. Although Google will keep those listings with the issues active, they may have the products limited in visibility within Google Search. Google said, “free listings accounts with these issue statuses will remain active, but their products will have limited visibility on Google.”

Insufficient contact information. Google defines “Insufficient contact information” as “Websites that are missing required contact information, have unverified business information in Merchant Center, or both.” Examples include the Website is missing contact information (e.g. no social media link, contact email address, or phone number); Merchant Center account has missing contact information, such as a physical business address or a verified phone number; contact information is missing from both the store website and Merchant Center account.

Missing return and refund policy. Google defines “Missing return and refund policy” as “Websites that are missing return and refund information.” Examples include the Store return policy pages that are empty or don’t state all the requirements for return; refund policies that aren’t clear or easy to find; no return or refund policy is clearly stated.

Why we care. Google will no longer disapprove these free listings but that does not mean those listings will garner much traffic from Google Search. So you still probably want to address these issues as soon as you can so that the visibility is not hurt by not complying with these policies.

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About The Author

Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry can be followed on Twitter here.