The primary goal for any business that sells products is, of course, to increase their visibility and thus convert more browsers into buyers. One of the best ways to do this is by this two-step process: 1) make your products available on Google Shopping through your Google Merchant Account. If you do not yet have one, you should consider signing up as it is free and it will help you structure your product feed. As Google is highly data-driven, this is the best way to make sure your products are indexed correctly and appearing as often as possible on Google Shopping.
The second step of this process is to set up a special product review feed for Google Shopping Ads (formerly referred to as Google Product Listing Ads, or PLAs) which in essence links all ratings and reviews collected by your business to your products as it indexes them for Google to associate your with your Ad and your product results in Google Shopping. However, before we go into the specifics of how these ratings appear and how they can help the performance of your product results on Google Shopping and Shopping Ads, let’s take a step back and clarify the terms.
What are Seller & Product Ratings
Google uses a 5-star rating system, accompanied by a text review, to gauge the performance of either a business or its individual products. When the reviews and star ratings relate to a company and a client’s overall experience with the business in question (with their customer service, their purchasing process, etc.), these are referred to by Google as Seller Ratings (although they might also be referred to on other sources as “Customer Reviews,” “Merchant ratings,” or simply “Star Ratings.”). If, however, the reviews and ratings relate solely to the product purchased, then these are categorized as “Product Ratings.” Google aggregates these ratings from different sources and compiles them so that browsers can easily access an overview of the ratings for a company or product.
How can reviews and ratings enhance your Google Shopping Results?
In another article, we discuss how to collect and display seller ratings on Google. So here, our main focus is how to get your product-related stars and reviews appearing on your Shopping Ads and within your Google Shopping results. So assuming you have already set up your Google Merchant Centre, take a look at the example below:
This is a screenshot of the Google Shopping results for this baby carriage. The products with the stars underneath naturally stick out more than those that have no star ratings. If you were to click on the number of reviews displayed right next to the stars, you will be taken to another page like this one below. Here is where one can see a breakdown of all the reviews aggregated for this specific product, across all stores and sales platforms. The individual reviews and ratings are sourced back to the original company that collected and indexed the reviews. This is important, as it will bring clients back to your store.
Linked to this same page is a section that lists all of the shops that sell this particular product on Google Shopping, accompanied by their Seller Rating Stars in green and the number of seller reviews and ratings Google has aggregated for them. Clicking on that number will take you to the same breakdown page for the business’s Seller Ratings of their company in general.
How these reviews and ratings enhance your Google Shopping Ads?
It is definitely positive to have star ratings show up next to your Google Shopping results, but it is even more beneficial to have these also appear on your Shopping Ads. If you are using Google Adwords as well, you can easily set up a Shopping Campaign which basically creates a Product Ad for you. These have a large advantage over traditional text-only ads, as they appear at the top or at the side of the organic search results, and they display your product image, name, price and any aggregated product reviews. This means that you are driving more and more qualified traffic to your product page, making your ads both more effective and efficient.
This is how your Ad would show up on the first page of Google Search. As you can see, the Ad contains a photo, the name of the product, the price, the website it is sold on, any special terms (like free shipping in this case) and last but definitely not least, the overall star rating of the product. See how this Babymarkt.de pram stands out much more against the rest?
Again, if you were to click on the number of reviews next to the star rating, you would be directed to the aggregation of all product reviews for this particular product, thus helping potential clients make their purchasing decision. The important point here, therefore, is to make sure that the product reviews collected by your website are appearing and sourcing back to your domain, and that your company with your seller ratings is ranked among the top sellers for the item.
Setting up your Product Listing Ads, listing your products on Google Shopping and collecting/displaying reviews on your product pages are all strategies which combined will give your business a significant boost!
- You position yourself ahead of the competition. By structuring your data correctly and listing your products on Google Shopping, you are making it easier for customers who are searching for that specific product to land on your page. Furthermore, by collecting and sourcing reviews linked to those products, you are not only leading clients back to your site, but you are also granting them the power of your social proof, through which you generate trust in your selection and your business by extension. This will help you position yourself ahead of the competition as you are more accessible and more trustworthy.
- Greater Return on Investment. As Google Shopping is more of a visual experience and you are publishing images of your products on Google Search Results, Google reports that Product Listing Ads may double or even triple their click-through-rate (CTR) compared to normal AdWords ads. Likewise, when your CTR increases, so does the quality score or your Ad. Your result becomes more relevant, which in turn decreases in your cost-per-click (CPC). This will make your Ads more effective, efficient and a smarter investment overall.
- Drive more traffic. By collecting reviews about your products and publishing them on your product-specific pages, you are boosting your website’s user-generated content, which has a positive effect on your SEO and your overall organic search ranking. (In terms of organic search you can also use your ratings to activate rich snippets for your product pages. These display as stars on Organic Search and also help your website stand out among the organic search results).
- Increase sales & reduce returns. While displaying product reviews on your pages, you are providing your clients with a powerful decision-making tool. Interested viewers can simply scroll down for more information about the product based on the experience of other customers without having to leave your product page. Turn more browsers into buyers and reduce returns through this simple action.
Great, so how can I set this up today?
First, sign up for a Google Merchant account and structure your product data accordingly. That lays the groundwork for your products to appear in Google Shopping, and for reviews to then be sourced correctly to your products.
Second, start collecting product reviews. The easiest way to do this is through a review collection service, as the product reviews should not only be certified but also fed to Google in a specific format in order to be indexed properly. Make sure you request the setup of a Product feed for Google, as this usually has to be prepared manually and may not be available with some providers or included as a standard in all packages.
Google specifies that your business must have a minimum of 50 product reviews across all of your products and that each eligible product must have at least 3 reviews for the star ratings to show up on Shopping Ads.
Currently, product ratings on Shopping Ads are available in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States. However, product ratings appear on Google Shopping results in all countries where Google Shopping is currently available, so get started today!
Click here to get in touch and let us know that you want to set up a Google Shopping Feed.