Frequently asked questions

Feeds

How frequently should the feed be uploaded to Google?

The feed should be uploaded every 4 hours and contain the full inventory for all dealerships every time.

Dealerships typically update their inventory once per day, why refresh the feed more frequently than daily?

There are two main reasons:

  • More frequent feed uploads increase the overall data freshness as it reduces the time between inventory being updated and data being delivered to Google,
  • It allows for faster detection of and recovery from outages that would cause a feed to not be successfully processed.

Is it possible to only send the inventory that has changed since last time?

The feed should contain the full inventory for all dealerships every time. Cars and dealerships that are not present in a feed will be removed from Google within a few hours.

How long does it take for the data to update after a feed is uploaded to Google?

The data update time depends on the kind of update. The numbers below are estimates and are not guaranteed.

Update type Expected update time
Adding a new dealership 1 day [1]
Removing a dealership 6 hours
Changing the Business Profile for a dealership 12 hours
Adding a new car 12 hours [1]
Removing a car 6 hours
Changing car attributes other than images (e.g., price) 6 hours
Changing car images 12 hours

[1] Adding a new dealership or a car might be additionally delayed by the image crawling process. In this case they will show as Pending on the portal.

Is it possible to only show new / used inventory for a dealership?

Google requires the dealership’s full (new and used) inventory before it can be eligible for the cars for sale program. It is not possible to restrict the dealership’s inventory by car’s condition, make, or similar.

Which phone number is shown on the Google VDP?

By default, the Google VDP will show the phone number associated with the Business Profile. A custom tracking phone number can be specified using the tracking_phone_number field in the feed. See the Cars feed specification for more details.

Where is the dealership description shown on the Google VDP?

The dealership’s car description is not shown anywhere on the Google VDP. Dealerships can use the legal_disclaimer field to display any disclosures on the Google VDP. Note that the legal disclaimer should not be used for marketing / promotions. See the Cars feed specification for more details.

Does Google add UTM parameters to the dealership’s VDP URL?

Google does not modify the VDP URL, including adding or removing any UTM parameters from the URL provided in the feed. However, UTM parameters are permitted and can be included in the VDP by the provider or dealership.

Troubleshooting

Inventory is not showing on the dealership’s Business Profile

Follow the steps below to troubleshoot why the inventory might not be showing for a dealership.

  1. Find the dealership’s status on the Cars Onboarding Portal,
  2. If the dealership status is NOT Live, the cars for sale inventory will not show on the Business Profile:
    • See the status reason column for more details on why the dealership is not live and check below for troubleshooting common problems,
  3. If the dealership status is Live, open the associated Business Profile on Google by clicking on the link in the Place ID column, Place ID
  4. If the inventory is now displayed, verify that the dealership was linked to the intended Business Profile on Google:
  5. If the inventory is still not displayed, please check again in a few hours as there might be a delay between the information shown on the portal and the Business Profile:

Dealer has requested another provider to be their primary provider

Please see the Dealership provider choice help article.

Another provider's data has been automatically selected for this dealer

Please see the Dealership provider choice help article.

Dealership was not linked to a Business Profile on Google

Please see the Dealership matching help article.

Inventory is incomplete compared to the dealership’s website

Google requires the dealership’s full inventory in order for it to be eligible for the cars for sale program. If the dealership has been excluded because of incomplete inventory, this means that the number of cars in the feed does not match the number of cars displayed on the dealership’s website.

We are excluding cars that do not meet Google’s requirements and it is causing this error

Please include all inventory in the feed, regardless of whether any particular car meets all of the requirements. Reach out to cars-for-sale-partners@google.com if you need help with resolving any particular issue with the dealership’s inventory.

What about shared / in-transit / coming soon cars?

All cars that are available for sale through the dealership should be included in the feed. If a car is not available at the dealership’s location (for example, available for transfer), use the vehicle_fulfillment feed field to indicate the status of the car.

VDP invalid, expired, or not showing the details of the car for sale

Google crawls the dealership VDP to verify it works, as well as to perform various quality checks. In order for the VDP to be considered valid, it has to show the details of the car that is for sale. Google uses several indicators to detect this. The most common reasons why a VDP might be considered invalid are:

  • The page shows a list of cars (for example, a search results page):
    • This usually happens when the car is no longer available for sale and the VDP redirects to the search results page,
  • The page shows that the car was not found, or is no longer available (for example, a 404 page),
  • The page shows the car, but indicates it has been sold,
  • The page is missing car identifiers and Google was unable to verify it (for example, the VIN is not shown on the VDP),
  • (Rare) The page shows an unrelated car.

Google will exclude the car if its VDP makes it seem that the car is no longer available for sale at that dealership.

Can we then resolve this issue by not sending VDPs in the feed?

If VDPs are missing entirely, Google has lower confidence in that car still being available at that dealership (as compared to receiving an active VDP). In this case the car might still be displayed, but will rank lower in results.

Onboarding portal

How to check the status of a dealership?

After the inventory was submitted to Google, a status will be assigned to dealerships. The status indicates whether a dealership's inventory is eligible to appear on Google.

To check the status of a dealership, open the Cars Onboarding Portal and find the dealership in the Dealership summary table. Search by the store code, dealership name, or the Google Place ID.

Dealership status

How to share the portal with another user?

Users with owners permission can add or remove portal access from other users. To share the portal, open the Invite dialog on the top right corner and enter the desired email addresses.

Share

What does the Block expires column mean?

Blocked dealerships are not eligible to appear on Google because they do not comply with our policies (for example, a large portion of cars have product data quality and / or policy violations).

After the issues are resolved, there may be a grace period during which the dealership will remain blocked. The Block expires column indicates the time remaining in the grace period. If during that period the issues have not recurred, the dealership is expected to go live after the block expires.

How to download the data?

The information shown on the portal can be downloaded in CSV format. To download a table, hover over the top-right corner of the table and click the More Actions button, then select the Export Data option. In the pop-up window click on Download to download the file.

Export data

Known limitations:

  • Each table has to be exported separately (there is no bulk export option),
  • Programmatic and / or automated exports are not supported at this time,
  • CSV is the only supported export format,
  • The export is limited to the number of rows shown on the portal and may not contain all of the data.