The ratings are literally a visual snapshot of how customers rate your business.
Google aggregates reviews from a variety of third party shopping review sites, as well as Google Checkout. They then create an overall star rating for each advertiser, on a scale of 1-5.
The aggregated score is then displayed next to your AdWords ads. This not only adds a visual dimension to ads, but it can also potentially increase trust in a business.
Seller ratings are free to all advertisers. You will only be charged if someone clicks on the headline of the ad – clicks on the review link are free.
Can Seller Ratings help my business?
High seller ratings can increase paid search traffic and click-through rates.
A series of site performance tests by Google concluded that those merchants and advertisers who had ads with seller ratings saw, on average, a 17% rise in click-through rates.
It’s easy to see why this simple star rating can help your business. Potential customers love reviews – research shows that 61% of people read online reviews before making a purchase decision.
The great thing about seller ratings is the transparency. These are independent reviews, which ultimately create a sense of trust. Think of them as a personal referral from one customer to another. The star rating is a quick guide on how others see your service, helping customers make a decision on which merchant to use.
This is particularly valuable if you currently don’t have much of a reputation online. Customers who are unfamiliar with your brand are more likely to click on your link if they’ve seen others have had a very positive experience.
There’s also the visual aspect to consider. Ads containing the star rating are much more visual than those without, which can really make you stand out from your competitors – especially if you have a fabulously high star rating!
How can I get Google Seller Ratings?
You have to meet the following criteria to qualify for the Seller Rating extension:
You need to have collected at least 30 reviews from the last 12 months. If you’ve got 30 from over five years, that’s not good enough. However, this is a great incentive to implement an online review platform such as Trustpilot to ensure you regularly talk to your customers and find out if they’re satisfied with your service.
Your online store needs to have a minimum rating of 3.5 stars on Google Shopping.
The Google Seller Ratings ad extension is available for ads appearing on Google.com, Google.co.uk, Google.de, Google.fr, and Google.nl. At least 10 of your reviews must be in the user’s Google interface language.
Your campaign must be opted in to Google search. The campaign type should be “Search & Display Networks” or “Search Network only.”
You must be an advertiser that provides users with paid goods or services, or one that enables the buying or selling of products or services via a marketplace.
Once you meet these criteria, you’ll be automatically opted in to show seller ratings with your ads on Google and their search partners.
As the important sources for Google Seller Ratings are shopping review sites, you should really think about utilising these sites to ensure you’re optimising your ad potential.
How to increase the quantity and quality of your reviews
Since Google only looks at reviews submitted in the last 12 months, it’s important to regularly talk to your customers and enable them to review your services quickly and easily.
Almost half of Britons (47%) have reviewed a product online, so in theory it shouldn’t be too hard to get your customers to write a review. The following tips should help increase the quantity and quality of reviews you’re getting.
1. Talk to existing customers
Send out an email to your existing database asking for a review.
Existing customers are already familiar with your products or service and if they’ve been using you for a while, they’re also more likely to leave a positive review.
If sending out manual emails sounds like too much hard work, there are lots of services you can use. Trustpilot’s ‘Kickstarts’ makes sending out customisable emails to several customers requesting feedback easy.
2. Think about the customer journey
Request a review at the right spot in your customer’s buying journey and you’re more likely to get one.
If you would like your customers to rate the online buying experience of your website, include a short survey on the confirmation page. The customer has made a purchase, so they are already engaged with you and are therefore more likely to leave a good review.
To let your customers review the overall buying and service experience, send them an email once the product or service has been delivered, asking them for feedback. Hopefully they will be happy with your service and oblige you with positive feedback.
If your business also has an actual physical building, you can provide information for customer reviews on the receipt.
3. Read and respond to reviews
It’s really important to be proactive and regularly read your reviews. If you do then encounter any bad reviews, you have the ability to resolve issues directly with the customers.
Not only will this soften the negative aspect of the review, but potential customers will see that you care enough to sort out problems, which can only improve your company’s credibility.
Don’t ignore positive reviews either. After all, the customer has taken the time to write a review for you, so you could acknowledge it and thank them for their feedback.
4. Provide excellent customer service
People are more likely to leave positive reviews if you’ve gone above and beyond their expectations. If you keep your customers happy, it will lead to more happy customers – positive reviews will help bring in more business.
5. Be patient!
If you’re currently below the 30 review threshold, it may take some time to build your reviews up, but remember that reviews are a bit like buses. They all come along at once!
It’s also worth noting that ratings are not published in real-time, so there is usually a delay in reviews being posted and then seeing in search results.
More reviews = more business
Knowing that you can potentially increase your click-through rate by 17% should be reason enough to ensure you use Google Seller Ratings.
To help you succeed in attracting more customers, it’s essential you also get the right third-party customer review solution. They will take the strain out of the whole process, ensuring that reviews are easily collected; that it’s easy for you to engage with your customers and that all the information is shared with Google.