Customer reviews have always been a vital resource on the path to building brand loyalty, even before review sites existed.
Selling washing machines in 1970? The conversations between neighbors over backyard fences were crucial.
Marketing cars in 1990? Feedback among drivers had as much influence as any slick advertising campaign.
Why you should care about Google Seller Ratings
Research shows that, today, 89% of shoppers around the world check online reviews to inform their purchasing decisions — and 49% consider positive reviews to be among the top 3 deciding factors on what they buy.
So, ratings and reviews are a huge help to shoppers — but they can also help merchants improve their SEO and stand out in search results by earning Google Seller Ratings.
If you’ve ever typed into Google’s search bar, you’ve seen Google Seller Ratings in action. In essence, it’s a star rating that displays underneath the URL on your Google Ads. While most often associated with eCommerce companies, any company with a digital presence can take advantage of Google Seller Ratings.
Image courtesy of Google
Companies in every sector, from eCommerce to retail, education to travel, healthcare to finance, can benefit from showcasing their ratings and reviews right where shoppers are doing their research.
“Seller ratings help people find businesses that offer high quality customer experiences, helping to build trust and enabling more informed purchasing decisions. As a result, seller ratings can help merchants improve the performance of ads and organic listings and drive more qualified customers to their landing pages.”
Getting started with Google Seller Ratings
To generate Google Seller Ratings, Google gathers reviews and ratings from Google users and reputable third-party platforms.
Merchants should keep in mind that reviews aren’t added or removed to your Google Seller Rating in real-time, so there can be some lag time between customer review activity and the ratings and reviews that show up in search results.
There are also some requirements merchants have to meet in order to qualify for Google Seller Ratings. According to their latest documentation, businesses need to have enough unique reviews within the last 12 months for Google to calculate an accurate seller rating score.
The required number of reviews can vary by merchant, but most are able to earn a Google Seller Rating after collecting at least 100 eligible reviews — like verified or post-purchase reviews.
For Google Seller Ratings to show up in your Google Ads, you’ll also need an average composite rating of 3.5 or more stars.
No matter how you plan to use your Google Seller Ratings, the first thing you need to do is get at least 100 customer reviews.
How to get 100 customer reviews
Whether there was a positive or negative experience, customers want to let others know what about it. Sharing opinions is a part of human nature.
But don't let that scare you. You're looking at a golden opportunity to get reviews that can improve your business, increase your sales, and build brand loyalty.
It’s not too difficult to get reviews, either — here’s how:
1. Make it easy for customers to leave a review after every purchase
Make the reviews process as easy for customers as yelling over the fence to a friend next door.
If your business is online-only, automate the process so that customers receive an email inviting them to leave a review as soon as they make the purchase if that makes sense for your products — or as soon as their order is delivered.
If you have a brick and mortar presence, you can still create a seamless review experience by capturing customer emails at checkout so they can receive an email invitation post-purchase.
The key to success is optimizing your invitations with thoughtful timing, tailored messaging, and easy integrations with the rest of your tech stack.
2. Don’t forget about your past customers
When it comes to collecting reviews, there’s no need to start from ground zero — in fact, all of your past customers are an opportunity for a review.
With a review platform like Trustpilot, merchants can kickstart their review collection by bulk uploading a list of past customers to invite to leave feedback.
3. Send a friendly reminder to improve response rates
If customers don’t respond in a reasonable amount of time to your review invitations, a thoughtful reminder email can change that. A simple explanation like, “Your feedback is good for us, and great for other customers,” is all you need to boost their motivation.
Don’t stop at 100 — the more reviews, the better
There’s no need to stop at the minimum requirement of 100 eligible reviews for Google Seller Ratings. When it comes to social proof, quality and quantity both matter.
Authority online comes from volume
Let’s consider your customers. They rely on the ratings and reviews that show up in Google search results to help them make smart purchasing decisions.
For your ratings to show up in search, you need an average composite rating of at least 3.5 — and the highest you can achieve is 5 stars. Within that range, there are subtle shades between the worst-ranked brands and the best.
Would your customers choose to do business with you because you have 4.5 stars over a 4-star competitor?
And does the answer change if you have 100 reviews contributing to your 4.5 stars, and your competitor has 1,000 reviews factoring into their 4-star rating?
The reality is that click-through rates are likely to be increased by the wisdom of a larger crowd — even if that larger crowd includes a few negative reviews.
Shoppers want to know you care today, tomorrow, and yesterday
If you collected 32 positive reviews in January — but now it’s August — you can bet that your prospects will notice. First, they’ll decide to dig deeper into your star ratings to see what your customers had to say about your brand.
Second, they’ll look at the dates of those reviews – and they’ll wonder:
“Why hasn’t anyone reviewed this brand in almost a year? Are all the good things this company was doing eight months ago still relevant? Am I going to have a different experience than these reviewers had? I wonder whether any of these other companies over here have more recent reviews…”
With credible reviews making more of an impression than ever on shoppers, keeping feedback fresh is key.
Some things to remember once you're up and running
Sometimes Google Seller Ratings don’t show with your ads. And sometimes they do. Don’t panic, that doesn’t necessarily mean that something is wrong. If you've checked everything above (100 reviews, 3.5+ star average, reputable third party platform), there are a few things to keep in mind.
Not all of your ads are going to show star ratings. Google can be tricky. There might be nothing wrong at all. But if everything above looks good, there are a few more ways to troubleshoot and see if something is actually wrong.
Were those 100 reviews left in the past 12 months? These reviews need to be recent, otherwise they won't count.
Are your reviews relevant to whats in your ads? Google may not show seller ratings if your reviews and ads don't seem to match up.
Do you have enough reviews in the country your ads are targeting? If not, Google may not show seller ratings in that location.
Does the destination URL of your ads match the domain name where you've collected your feedback? If not, Google will not see the connection or give you Google Seller Ratings.
Success in Google search, and beyond…
You can’t underestimate the marketing value of consistently being the search result that stands out in the world’s largest search engine.
Earning — or improving — your Google Seller Ratings can make a rapid impact on a business, and that impact is only magnified when brands continue to collect feedback long after they hit the 100-review starting line set by Google.
Beyond the on Google Seller Rating benefits, a thoughtful customer review strategy can increase your website conversion rate and foster brand loyalty by showing customers you care.
The more reviews you have, the more data is at your fingertips to analyze product performance and business operations so you can do more of what’s working and less of what’s not.
Ready to find out more about Trustpilot and Google Seller Ratings? Request a free demo below.