Seller reviews are a key part in convincing your customers to buy from you, convincing a customer to buy from you is not only to be the cheapest price or provide free delivery, it’s also about reviews. Reviews that sometimes your competitor will not have, giving you the upper hand in selling more products.
Having your reviews on Google Shopping requires a few criteria. Reviews are compiled from multiple sources such as the merchant site, 3rd party review sites, editors and users. Today I will explain to you in detail how to set up seller reviews in three different ways, each having their positives and negatives.
There is a big distinction between product reviews and seller reviews. Product reviews are ratings for the product itself while seller reviews are about the service, experience with the retailer.
Seller ratings are available in the following countries
This is the easiest to set up, all you need to do is register your domain name on a 3rd party site. I would recommend that you do not register for a paid account. Google does not add any reviews until you have met certain criteria. No point paying for something that you can do for free.
When to register for a paid account with 3rd party review sites
I would recommend to convert into a paid account once you have negative comments, registering as a paid retailer will allow you to reply to each comment. This so you can turn a negative comment into a positive one. You still have to remember that all negative comments will also be listed inside Google Shopping, and that your response makes no difference.
A selected few 3rd party review sites are raising their prices now that they know that Google Shopping is reliant towards these reviews and in some occasions depending on the size of the company will charge ridiculous amounts. There are several sites that are now abusing their power. Based on topical comments found on the internet, a list of review sites that abuse their power have been listed below.
List of abusive review sites
A complete list of US review sites
A complete list of UK review sites
* All review sites with an asterix are verified by visually looking at the reviews inside Google Shopping
As you can see I have also added Google+ with the list, if you have not done so already, register yourself a Google Plus Page. The reviews that you have on your Google+ Page will also be used in the product listings. Here is an example of a restaurant. I have no proof or seen this in the product listings, but I do know that Google takes this into consideration and maybe will soon integrate this feature.
A good method is to start with the best 3rd party review site, have at least 50 reviews in the last 12 months and move on to the next site. The more sites you have reviews on, the better Google will view you as a reliant merchant.
Official list from Google for Adwords ratings
Information found at show seller ratings can be considered to be used for Google Shopping, although the official list is for adwords only.
StellaService is now incorporated inside Google Shopping results as part of the review section (US only).
How it works
StellaService reviews your company based on many factors such as retailer service performance, site usability, features, policy, store shipping, delivery, returns, and many other factors. StellaService takes up to 200 different factors into consideration.
The most interesting reason is that they will order products from your company and based on the experience, they will provide a review. The process will be as followed.
Done annually and at random. Which means that you will never know when or who they are.
I really like this idea, currently StellaService is only available in the US and not the UK. If you know you have a great company, than I would highly recommend using them. Your customers will benefit from this rating which is visible inside Google Shopping knowing that you are a trusted company.
You can use your own reviews that are published on your site using your own system. These can be displayed inside Google Shopping, I have listed this as the last method because for most small merchants it’s the hardest one to complete. The criteria are much higher and you need to customize your website using rich snippets (schema.org)
I will explain what the known requirements are.
First you need to have a review system, this system enables your customers to leave a review/comment on your site. When looking for review plugins or scripts you need to make sure that the html that is generated inside your site has the following rich snippets.
Here is an example from schema.org‘s website.
<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Product"> Customer reviews: <div itemprop="review" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Review"> <span itemprop="name">Not a happy camper</span> - by <span itemprop="author">Ellie</span>, <meta itemprop="datePublished" content="2011-04-01">April 1, 2011 <div itemprop="reviewRating" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Rating"> <meta itemprop="worstRating" content = "1"> <span itemprop="ratingValue">1</span>/ <span itemprop="bestRating">5</span>stars </div> <span itemprop="description">The lamp burned out and now I have to replace it. </span> </div> <div itemprop="review" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Review"> <span itemprop="name">Value purchase</span> - by <span itemprop="author">Lucas</span>, <meta itemprop="datePublished" content="2011-03-25">March 25, 2011 <div itemprop="reviewRating" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Rating"> <meta itemprop="worstRating" content = "1"/> <span itemprop="ratingValue">4</span>/ <span itemprop="bestRating">5</span>stars </div> <span itemprop="description">Great microwave for the price. It is small and fits in my apartment.</span> </div> </div>
Once you have changed your markup to include the correct rich snippets associated to the reviews, you need to wait until you have reached a minimum of 30 reviews. Even then it’s not guaranteed that Google Shopping will incorporate the reviews.
Now that you have your reviews setup on your website, you need to wait for Google to add them. Currently there is no way to control this action. Popular pages with high page authority will more likely have reviews included than others. So again this is the reason why it’s much harder to have reviews on your own site to be included in Google Shopping.
My recommendation is to use both 3rd party and reviews on your own site.