Even after creating compelling ad copy, deciding on a bidding strategy, and connecting your ad to an optimized post-click landing page, your Google Ads campaign may not be earning the kind of performance you hoped. Having a Google Seller Rating may be the key to getting more click-throughs, finding more qualified leads, and ultimately making more sales.
What are Google Seller Ratings?
A seller rating is a Google Ads extension that offers a rating between one and five stars that displays on search ads. It’s an automated extension that is calculated by using customer reviews from various sources that Google trusts (reviews left through Google, Trustpilot, Bizrate, Yotpo, etc.). The result is then displayed within the body of the ad.
In addition to the star count, the rating includes the number of unique reviews and a qualifier (such as average delivery time, if the featured item is in stock, etc.) that is relevant to the business. Google automatically decides the qualifier, and in some instances may choose not to display anything.
With Sonos, for example, Google displays the rating and the number of reviews, but no qualifier:
For Adidas, however, Google shows the rating and the qualifier (the average delivery time), but not the number of reviews:
Additionally, ratings appear on both desktop and mobile ads, so your campaign can always stand out.
In this ad from Under Armour, the rating, number of reviews, and a unique qualified (the 60+ day return policy) are all prominently displayed in a mobile search:
What are the benefits of using seller ratings?
Seller ratings accomplish a few things that are key to a high-performing ad campaign:
- They let buyers know that a business offers a reputable service or a high-quality product
- They can increase an ad’s click-through rate, thus lowering its cost-per-click (CPC)
- They can attract more qualified leads
But just how much of an improvement in performance can you expect? By Google’s own account, showing detailed seller ratings in a text ad can increase click-through rates up to 10%.
However, there are likely to be significant differences from one advertiser to another. Shortly after Google announced a new ad extension reporting feature that could track the impact of seller ratings, Search Engine Journal reported that some advertisers were seeing CTR increase by more than 100% for ads with seller ratings. Meanwhile, others were experiencing as little as a 5.9% increase.
Cindy He, the Associate Director at Metric Theory Digital Marketing Agency, ran reports for nine of the agency’s ecommerce clients. She found that ads with detailed seller ratings experienced an average 24% higher click-through rate and a 26% higher conversion rate.
It’s worth remembering that by increasing an ad’s click-through rate, you can score higher ad rankings and reduce your cost-per-click. So while there’s no guarantee just how much an ad’s click-through rate will increase with online seller ratings, the results here generally indicate there’s some promise of improvement. That improvement could translate into a big return on investment.
What industries can use Google Seller Ratings?
While the most obvious users of Google Seller Ratings are ecommerce businesses, they are certainly not the only industry that can benefit. As long as they meet the criteria for activating the extension (covered in the next section), any business in almost any industry can have a rating on their ad.
Here are just a few examples that highlight the extension’s versatility:
This popular tax filing software stands out with a near-perfect rating:
PR & Marketing
Digital marketing and advertising agencies stand to benefit massively from having Google Shopping Seller Ratings. This press release agency definitely stood out thanks to the extension:
Expedia leverages nearly a quarter million reviews to show why it’s become one of the leaders in the travel booking industry:
This simple ad for dental plans keeps the copy to a minimum and lets the business’s 1,223 reviews speak for themselves:
This ad for a repair service shows that even a local franchise can find a way to incorporate detailed seller ratings:
Seller ratings appear to be more popular in some industries than others, but this may offer additional benefits. If competitors within your industry don’t currently seem to be taking advantage of the extension, you have the opportunity to stand out.
What to know before setting them up
Seller ratings are an automated extension, but only show up when a business has 150 unique reviews and a rating of at least 3.5 stars. Google collects these reviews from various sources, including its own customer reviews service.
Google Customer Reviews is a free service that collects post-purchase comments for ecommerce businesses. To set it up for your business, simply start a Merchant Center account with Google, then opt in for Google Customer Reviews. Full instructions can be found here.
Non-ecommerce businesses can use a Google Website Satisfaction Survey, which is also free but is limited in the questions you can ask unless you’re willing to upgrade to a paid plan.
Reviews are also pulled from some third-party sites, including but not limited to:
- Verified Reviews
For the full list of third-party review sites trusted by Google, go here.
There are benefits to contracting with one of these third-party review sites, including the ability to invite past customers to submit a review retroactively.
However, third-party sites can be on the pricier side. For example, Trustpilot’s “Lite” package starts at $299 per month, which must be paid upfront for a year. Meanwhile, the most basic plan from Verified Reviews is $99 per month.
When it comes to choosing a method for collecting reviews, go with the option that makes sense for your volume of sales or clients. A pricier plan will naturally make more sense for a business that anticipates collecting several thousand or more reviews a year.
Common troubleshooting for Google Seller Ratings
Collecting the necessary number of reviews you need to activate the extension might take some time, but overall, troubleshooting the feature is simple.
Check to see if they’re working
According to Google, checking to see if seller ratings are showing up is relatively straightforward.
- Go to the following URL: https://www.google.com/shopping/seller?q=example.com.
- Replace “example.com” with your domain name.
Even if there’s a seller rating associated with a domain name, this doesn’t guarantee it’ll appear in the ad. Ultimately, whether or not a rating appears depends on ad auction performance. Only the highest ranking ads in a search show the rating extension.
When reviews aren’t showing up
There are several reasons why seller ratings may not appear in an ad. The following are four of the most common:
1. You need more recent reviews
Not only will online seller ratings fail to appear if you have less than 150 reviews, but those reviews must be within the past 12 months. To get new reviews, consider sending a link to your most recent customers using a third-party review service.
2. You need to search in certain countries
Google only shows reviews when searching from certain geographic locations. These include Google.com/.co.uk/.fr/.de/.nl/.com.au/.co.nz/.co.jp
In the past, at least 10 of the reviews had to be in that country’s language. So when searching from .co,.jp, seller ratings would only appear if at least 10 of the reviews were in Japanese.
As of October 2018, though, Google requires at least 100 verified reviews from a country within a 12-month period in order for people searching from within that country to see the seller rating.
3. You picked the wrong campaign type
If seller ratings aren’t displaying, make sure the campaign type is either:
- Search Network with Display Select with subtype All features
- Search Network only with subtype All features
4. You didn’t score high enough in the ad ranking
Ad auctions are a dynamic and complex process. Google looks at a variety of factors when awarding bids and determining rank, and only the highest ranking ads display the seller rating. To increase your ad ranking, start by improving the quality of your ad, your post-click landing page, or increasing your bid.
How to turn them off
Google provides simple instructions how to remove automated extensions like Seller Ratings:
- In your Google Ads account, click Ads & extensions in the menu, then Automated Extensions.
- Click the menu on the right, then Advanced options.
- Click Turn off specific automated extensions, then select the seller rating extension.
- Give your reasoning for turning off the extension, then click Turn off.
Optimize your Shopping ads
Setting up and maintaining seller ratings on your Google Ads is a relatively easy process. These ratings will likely increase click-through rates, increase your ad ranking, reduce the cost-per-click, and ultimately move the needle on your business.
However, online seller ratings are only one component of creating effective ads. Take advantage of your high seller rating and people clicking through by connecting your ad with an optimized post-click landing page. For details on how to optimize your marketing at every stage of the funnel, check out this complete guide.