eCommerce

Are Seller Rating Extensions a 5-Star Feature?

At the end of June, Google announced new Seller Rating Extensions for AdWords that will show merchant ratings below eligible ads. Since all eligible advertisers have been automatically opted in to this new feature, we thought it would be helpful if we provided a detailed explanation of what Seller Rating Extensions are, whether or not a business is eligible and how they can help (or hurt) you.

When & how do Seller Rating Extensions appear? The Seller Rating Extension will automatically append a store’s rating from Google Product Search if you meet the minimum requirements of a 4-star rating and 30+ reviews. There is no need to sync your account with Google Product Search, as the ratings are pulled based on the display URL.

If your ad has an extremely high quality score and shows in the top panel (above natural results), the extension will also display the number of qualified reviews next to the rating. Note: New reviews can take up to 10 days to appear in product search.

Currently, the ratings will only show to English speakers in the US. It is our understanding that the ads will NOT show with other extensions (i.e. product extensions or SiteLinks).

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Where do the ratings & reviews come from? Google Product Search ratings are compiled from a variety of sources including (but not restricted to) Epinions, Google Checkout, Reseller Ratings, Bizrate & PriceGrabber.

How much do they cost? There is no additional charge if a user clicks on an ad featuring a Seller Rating Extension, and there is no cost if a user clicks through just to read reviews.

How can I take advantage? Assuming you’re already registered for Google Product Search (it’s free!) the most important thing you can do is to keep serving your customers well and encouraging them to rate your store. The ratings will show automatically for all eligible queries unless you explicitly opt out here.

Are seller rating extensions a good thing? That’s for you to decide. There are a number of huge advantages to the new extensions, but you will never know if they are truly helping your business until you test. To help decide if the extensions will help or hurt you, SEER has outlined a few pro’s and con’s/potential pitfalls below.

Pros

  • The extensions put a new emphasis on online customer service. We always knew that your reputation can have a huge influence on your store. Seller Rating Extensions only increases the influence by putting the ratings front and center.
  • Assuming you have a great customer service rating, you can stand out from competitors who may have had a few issues from time to time.
  • Having a 5-star rating show for a challenging non-brand term can enhance your visibility & help you stand out from the competition.

Potential Pitfalls

  • While you don’t pay for clicks to the review site (and Google claims the review links receive less clicks), these clicks take the user away from your AdWords landing pages and your planned conversion funnel.
  • If you have a new or small business, you may be trumped by a store with more reviews or simply may not be eligible.
  • The ratings extensions appear (based on preliminary testing) to be trumped by other extensions. If you have SiteLinks, Location Listings, or Product Listing Extensions, the Seller Ratings Extensions will not be shown.
  • The Seller Ratings Extensions could punish those who aren’t registered for Google Product Search (or other Comparison Shopping Engines).
    • While Google Product Search is free, it does require a certain amount of maintenance to make sure your product feed is up to date.
    • Other CSE’s that provide Google with reviews (PriceGrabber, BizRate) aren’t cheap and may not be right for your business.

The Seller Rating Extension is certainly a very compelling new AdWords feature; perhaps even more compelling is that Google rolled it out automatically and with almost no notice. Whether or not you are eligible for ratings extensions they provide an always welcomed reminder as to how important customer service is, especially in the E-Commerce space.

SEER will always recommend that you test, test, test to find out what works for your business; Seller Ratings Extensions are no exception! So what do you think – are Seller Ratings Extensions a 5-star feature??