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How do trusted reviews factor into Google Product Ratings?

Wednesday, 5 October 2022
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It’s not every day that you get to hear about how to maximize your impact with Google Product Ratings from Google itself.

In our first-ever Trustpilot Five Star Session, we spoke with Michael Leo, Product Manager for Product Ratings at Google. He shared how companies can use reviews to best impact their Google Product Ratings and how companies can improve their results on Google. Simply put: if you’re an online business, you’ll want to read this.

Speaking to Michael, we also covered:

  • What Google Product Ratings are (and what they aren’t)

  • Why they’re important for businesses and consumers (and Google)

  • How you can become eligible for Google Product Ratings

  • How businesses can use trusted reviews to make the most out of Google Product Ratings

  • How to ensure you're using the right product identifiers (like GTIN)

Watch the full session below, or read on for some of the major takeaways from the conversation!

What are Google Product Ratings?

Google Product Ratings are the nifty little star ratings that you’ll see on specific products across Google search results, ads and within Google Shopping. They can help brands showcase the quality of their products, and they help customers make informed decisions based on trusted shopper feedback.

They’re different from Google Seller Ratings — those are merchant-focused ratings and reviews that center around specific businesses rather than products. Users can depend on Seller Ratings when they want to know the quality of a business’s customer service, reputation, and the general impression they’ve left on past customers.

How are Google Product Ratings decided?

Google has their own secret recipe for exactly how Google Product Ratings work — but a huge part of how they’re derived is customer reviews.

Whatever shoppers write about the quality, usefulness, functionality, problems or praise about a given product — it all gets factored into the Product Rating and derived insights (such as “sound quality” for headphones or “comfort” for shoes) presented on Google. These shopper reviews are sourced from merchants directly as well as through select review platforms.

And that’s where Trustpilot’s verified reviews come in. Any feedback that’s collected through automated post-purchase emails count towards the Google Product Rating (and/or the business’s Seller Rating, depending on the nature of the review).

How do consumers encounter Google Product Ratings?

As Michael Leo puts it, Google Product Ratings are showing up in more and more places every day! Consumers will come across Product Ratings in product listing ads — the shopping-specific ad format that shows up when someone searches relevant keywords (say, “lightweight camping chair”) across Web search, Image search, and Shopping search.

On the organic side, Google Product Ratings show up on product listings on the Shopping tab as well as shopping-specific modules of Web search. (Try searching “sneakers “ and you’ll see what we mean.)

Example of search results

Why you should care about Google Product Ratings

Whether you’re a consumer, a business, or hey—even if you work at Google — here’s how Google Product Ratings can be useful:

Why it matters for businesses

Brands can use the trusted feedback they gather from Google Product Ratings to improve their products and services, deliver better customer support, increase conversions and ultimately boost their bottom line.

This breadth of impact is mainly because of two reasons:

  1. Most shopping experiences start with Google. When Google’s trying to create the best shopping experience for people, it means offering them a huge array of different products. As you might expect, the cream rises to the top — and social proof acts as a clear differentiating factor.

  2. The second reason is that product ratings help Google understand which products are great, which features are more important than others, and which use cases matter — which all informs how Google is able to put the right product at the right time in front of the right customers, increasing their likelihood to take action.

Oh, and another notable way Google Product Ratings help merchants succeed is the network effect that happens when two businesses are selling the same product. So if, say, you’re selling a product that doesn’t generate enough reviews to have a product rating on Google, if other vendors have the same product, that product can end up having a Google Product Rating by including the other business’s reviews as well.

Why it matters for consumers

In short: it’s tough out there for consumers. There are so many options for any given purchase decision, choice paralysis can feel overwhelming.

But this is exactly why product reviews matter; being able to consult real shoppers makes people feel confident when it comes to purchase decisions.

89% of global consumers use reviews as part of their online journey.

Why it matters for Google

Google’s goal is to create the best possible shopping experience on the planet for consumers and businesses alike.

But to do that, they need to know about literally every product available online. While it’s true that they need product descriptions, titles and imagery, they also need to know how these products are actually being experienced by shoppers. Social proof is increasingly important.

That’s why third-party services like Trustpilot work so well with Google’s mission. Trustpilot doesn’t just offer a way for businesses to collect verified experiences via reviews, but also helps them succeed by giving them the ability to strategically leverage review content on websites and social media, and make decisions based on rich analytics. It all adds up to a virtuous cycle of better feedback leading to better shopping experiences.

How do I know if my business is eligible for Google Product Ratings?

There is a requirement to provide at least 50 product reviews before your account will be eligible to display product ratings with your listings. If you have collected at least 50 reviews through your Trustpilot account, and you are not seeing product ratings displayed with your shopping ads or free listings, you can contact Trustpilot or navigate to ‘Help’ within Google Merchant Center.

Four ways to maximize the impact of reviews on Google Product Ratings

  1. If you're not collecting product reviews and ratings, start today! Making a free Trustpilot account is easy.

  2. Ensure you're using the right product identifiers (like a Global Trade Item Number, or GTIN) and that the product identifiers in the product feed that you're sending to Google matches the product catalog you share with Trustpilot. If you don’t have an identifier, don't try to force one - having no identifier is better than fake identifiers. Beyond the unique product identifiers, fill out as many additional fields as you can, including product name, product URL, SKU, etc. The more accurate data provided, the better job Google’s system can do to make sure your products have the right reviews. Read more about acceptable product identifiers from Google here and check our guide to using Trustpilot product reviews for Google Shopping.

  3. Look at every review as a chance to engage with consumers. Reviews are more than just stars. When you respond to positive or negative feedback, you can resolve problems, connect with your customers, and ultimately create a better experience that drives your rating higher.

  4. Keep up a steady supply of fresh reviews by automating review invitations to customers. Automation makes it easier for you to collect reviews and for your customers to leave them. With more reviews, you'll meet the thresholds to qualify for product ratings in Google Shopping. Check out our integrations for eCommerce platforms to see how easy it can be.

And there you have it!

We hope to see you at the next edition of our Five Star Session series!

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Get started with a free account or talk to a Trustpilot expert here.


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