Update March 2017: Google announced it will be phasing out Google Trusted Stores and replacing it with the Google Customer Reviews program managed through the Google Merchant Center.
Google Customer Reviews is a free program that allows businesses to collect feedback from users who’ve made a purchase on their site.
According to Google ratings from Google Customer Reviews apply to your seller ratings eligibility. Seller ratings appear on Search Ads, in Google Shopping, and on an optional badge that can be displayed on your site.
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How Do Google Customer Reviews Work?
Customers who’ve made a purchase on your site are presented with an option to opt-in to receive an email requesting feedback from Google about their experience with your store. If the customer opts-in, they may receive an email after their order has arrived.
The collected ratings are then:
- Displayed on your optional Google Customer Reviews badge
- Appear in your Merchant Center dashboard
- Used for seller ratings
You can enable Google Customer Reviews in the Merchant Center programs section, found under the 3-dot icon in your Merchant Center account.
4 Main Features of the Google Customer Reviews Program
There are 4 main components to the Google Customer Review program including:
Google Customer Reviews opt-in:
- An offer that appears to all customers after checkout. Users who opt-in may receive an email from Google Customer Reviews asking them to rate their experience with your store.
Google Customer Reviews badge:
- A badge on your site that helps users easily identify your site with the Google brand. The badge displays the seller rating score of 1-5 stars and can be placed on any page on your site.
Google Customer Reviews survey:
- The survey is an optional, brief questionnaire that enables customers to rate their purchase experiences with your site.
An aggregate score that appears on search ads and Google Shopping, as well on Google Customer Reviews badges.
What are Google Seller Ratings?
Seller ratings are an automated extension that let people know which advertisers are highly rated for quality service. Google gathers seller ratings from reputable sources that aggregate business reviews.
Seller ratings will always be marked by the green stars as seen in the example below:
Seller ratings show a combination of information and reviews next to AdWords ads (currently on Google search result pages and Google search partners). These reviews and ratings primarily reflect customers’ overall consumer experience with a business. Reviews are accumulated from seller rating websites, such as TrustPilot, and other third-party sources.
Pro-Tip: Product ratings refer to the product being advertised, while Seller ratings refer specifically to the merchant advertising the product. To learn more, check out our blog post here: “Google Seller Ratings & Product Reviews Platform Comparison“
For shoppers, reviews inform people of the quality of service they can come to expect from a business they are interested in purchasing from – which can go a long way in influencing customers who may be on the fence.
For advertisers, they can help improve click-through-rates, decrease cost-per-clicks, assist in boosting conversion rates, and otherwise strengthen credibility with the public.
Google Increases Number of Reviews Required for Seller Ratings
Last year, Google made it official that the number of reviews required for Seller Ratings to be shown on ads increased from 30 to 150 over a 12 month span, but the composite rating of at least 3.5 stars or higher has remained unchanged.
Initially, the policy updates to Seller Ratings was a distressing sight for small business advertisers. To better understand the impact of these changes, we interviewed Josh Brisco, Retail Search Operations Manager at CPC Strategy to gather insight:
Q: While the increase from 30 to 150 is a pretty big gap, do you think the change is totally unprecedented? With seller ratings joshthe growth of Google advertising and a rising popularity in retailers using the platform, the 30-review requirement seems like a fairly low threshold now.
Josh: I think this brings things more in line with the more stringent thresholds we see for Google Trusted Stores inclusion. From that perspective it is not a huge shift, but for a smaller retailer who has not prioritized gathering reviews up to this point, this is a significant jump.
If you would like to read the entire interview with Brisco on the new Seller Rating requirements, check out our recent blog post here.
How to Migrate Google Trusted Stores Accounts
According to Google, existing Trusted Stores accounts will be migrated to Merchant Center in the coming weeks. Google has identified which Google Trusted Stores account to migrate into your Merchant Center account based on shared claimed domains.
The Trusted Stores administrator for your domain should have already received an email regarding what steps, if any, need to be taken in order to have your account migrated.
Pro-Tip: There are no migration requirements unless you have multiple GMC accounts.
How to add a new user to your account
When Google migrates the Trusted Stores account into your Google Merchant Center account, if the Trusted Stores and Merchant Center admins are different, they will add the Trusted Stores admins to the advertisers Merchant Center account as restricted users.
Prop-Tip: Migrated admins will have access to the new Google Customer Reviews section of your Merchant Center account, but other sections will be unavailable to migrated admins.
If the same Google Account is used for Trusted Stores and Merchant Center, the existing Merchant Center admin will see the new Google Customer Reviews section of Merchant Center.
Once Google has completed the migration, advertisers be able to adjust this access (or remove this admin from your account) in the Users section of your account settings.
Google will send a confirmation email once the migration process is completed.