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Help your merchant clients make the most out of Google Seller Ratings with this in-depth guest post provided by PPC specialist John Horn of StubGroup Advertising.
Google Seller Ratings is an automated ad extension that can appear within your text and Shopping ads on Google. These ratings are collected by merchants through various means, and are displayed when a relevant company or product is searched for in Google’s search engine.
The ratings create immediate competition between e-retailers shown in the search, and allow consumers quick insight into companies and products. The purpose is to help consumers make the right purchase decision, and essentially reward the companies that provide the quality of product and service consumers are looking for.
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Google Text Ads are displayed when keywords that have been purchased by the merchant are typed into the search engine. These ads do not include product images or logos, but have short text and a link to the company’s website. Ratings can be displayed next to these types of ads.
Google Shopping Ads include a product image and compare prices, special offers, and seller ratings (if the company has them) to other merchants offering the same product.
Google identifies these seller ratings by indexing a select list of third-party review services such as Shopper Approved, as well as Google Customer Reviews, StellaService, Google Consumer Surveys, and aggregated performance metrics from Google-led shopping research.
Until recently, Google also indexed Google Trusted Stores for Seller Ratings. However, Google has announced that program is being shut down and replaced by Google Customer Reviews.
Using Google Seller Ratings increases the click-through rate and conversion rate of your AdWords ads. In fact, click-through rates increase by 20-30% when star-ratings are displayed next to ads.
Having a flash of color from the gold seller rating stars in your ad attracts searcher’s eyes, and the credibility your Seller Rating communicates increases their likelihood to click on the ad and trust your company enough to convert on your website.
Using Seller Ratings can give you an edge over your competition (or help you keep pace if they’re already taking advantage of the feature), and that’s why the agency I work for, StubGroup Advertising, recommends Shopper Approved to our clients.
It’s incredibly easy to see how many Seller Ratings Google has indexed for your domain.
Go to this url (replace YOURWEBSITE.COM with your domain name):
In the example below we can see that 1800flowers.com has 50,000+ indexed ratings from Shopper Approved along with a handful of ratings from other sources. This page also tells us the rating Google will show in 1800flowers.com’s AdWords ads (4.5).
If there aren’t any ratings indexed for your domain, you’ll get a message that says ‘Rating details are not available for this merchant’.
It’s quite possible that you’ve already captured a boatload of reviews from your customers, but that you’re still seeing the “Rating details are not available for this merchant” message — which means that Google hasn’t indexed those reviews.
Why is this?
Well, Google strongly prefers customer reviews that include text. So if you’re only collecting star-number ratings, and your customers aren’t writing anything to explain their ratings, Google will likely not be indexing those ratings for Seller Ratings.
Google’s requirements for ratings to display next to ads have increased in the last year. 150 reviews with comments for merchant reviews must be collected in a rolling 12-month period. This means that reviews older than 12 months old “fall off” your score. This ensures that consumers are getting up-to-date reviews on each company.
On top of those stipulations, the star-rating must be 3.5 or higher to be shown next to Google ads.
Additionally, there is often a 30+ day delay between when you receive a review and when Google indexes it. So if you started collecting reviews very recently, you may just need to wait a bit before they show up in Seller Ratings.
If you are collecting reviews with text, and you have reviews that are older than 30 days, you’ll need to contact Google support if those reviews haven’t been indexed yet. I’ve encountered that scenario before for some of StubGroup’s clients, and typically a call to a Google rep will jolt the system into doing what it’s supposed to be.
Are you wondering how much of an impact Seller Ratings is having on your AdWords performance? You can find out by following these steps:
Note: You’ll only be able to see data for when Seller Ratings appear in your text ads. Google does not currently report about Seller Ratings data with Google Shopping ads.
The gold stars in the Shopping ads below look like Seller Ratings, but they’re not. These are Product Listing Ads, which Google indexes differently than Seller Ratings. Shopper Approved can help you capture both Seller and Product Ratings. You can read more about PLA’s here.
For product reviews, the product displayed must have at least 3 reviews with comments for ratings to appear. Google does not currently report on how many times product ratings show with your Shopping ads.
Advertisers who want to succeed using Google AdWords are constantly looking for ways to improve their strategy and beat the competition.
Seller Ratings is a feature which takes some investment to fully utilize, but pays great dividends in conversion rate. These stats highlight the importance of collecting reviews as technology continues to change the way merchants and consumers do business.
John Horn is Director of Digital Performance at StubGroup Advertising, a Premier Google Partner ranked in the top 3% of all Google Partners worldwide. When he’s not writing books, teaching 10,000+ students online about AdWords, or playing foosball, John is leading his expert team of pay-per-click specialists in a never-ending quest to help StubGroup’s clients achieve their business and advertising goals via PPC. Follow him @StubGroup or connect on LinkedIn.