It is not a good time to be in the mask business.

Since COVID hit the Google Shopping Merchant Centre algorithms have been adjusted to flag pretty much anything that uses the word ‘masks’ or ‘mask’.

So if you’re hoping to sell mardi gras masks, exfoliation masks or sleep apnea apparatuses you’re in for a headache.

After many many frustrating calls with Google Shopping reps I have been given the following advice but so far have not 100% solved the problem for my clients.

  • Request a manual review of the product
  • Remove the word ‘mask’ from the product title
  • Remove the word ‘mask’ from the product description
  • Remove the word ‘mask’ from the landing page
  • Remove the word mask from everywhere in the Google Shopping Feed because products with the word mask are polluting products that do not have issues
  • Change the item ID in the feed and resubmit the feed

Some other advice/tips I’ve been told include:

  • Having too many errors in the Merchant Centre can get the entire account suspended.
  • There is no manual override that anyone within Google can do for this issue.
  • Issues with around invalid stock values are caused by Google not even crawling the page to confirm stock because the product is already flagged as sensitive

Clearly the word mask in the product title is not getting through, but I have seen competitors with the word ‘mask’ in the description as well as their landing pages.

Possibly products that were selling and approved before COVID are getting away with more than brand new products. If this is you then you’d be wise to avoid making any drastic changes to your website or feed!

Luckily (for me anyway) Google Ads has not been impacted, nor has SEO.

Hopefully this all gets fixed soon.

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