aug 2020  |  4 MIN READ

M.

Reach for the stars with reviews

by Wouter Buijze

How to benefit from reviews

Reviews are a reflection of the quality of your product or service. This helps build trust for your business to potential customers. Online reviews from complete strangers are very powerful tools to drive online conversion.

When making purchase decisions, 88% of customers trust online reviews. As much as they do with recommendations from a friends and family. 9 out of 10 customers use online reviews to help them make buying decisions.

It is important to utilise reviews at different touchpoints in the customer journey. On your own website as well as appearing on search engines. A few examples:

  • Use widgets to display reviews on you homepage or product pages.

  • Drive a higher CTR and lower CPC with Seller Ratings on Google Search or Google Shopping Ads

  • Boost your SEO ranking with SERP stars and higher CTR

Seller Ratings vs Organic SERP Stars

Seller ratings are an automated extension type that showcase advertisers with high ratings. Seller ratings can help advertisers improve ad performance and earn more qualified leads. A study by Google shows that Seller Ratings can increase your CTR by as much as 17%!

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Comparable to Seller Ratings are Star Ratings in Google’s SERPs. These organic results that are displayed below the ads, have a very positive impact on the CTR. The beauty of SEO is that this results in exponential growth in organic traffic. The stars increase the CTR, the increased CTR results in a higher ranking, which in turn result in a higher CTR.

How to get your Seller Rating stars?

Google gathers seller ratings from reputable sources that aggregate business reviews. These ratings reflect customers' overall consumer experience with your business. Collect reviews using Google Customer Reviews or an third party review aggregator.

There is a a caveat to to these stars appearing on SERPs. You need at least 100 unique reviews in the last 12 months and a rating of 3.5 stars. If you want to get reviews from specific customers. You will have to use third party toools to gather these reviews. As Google Customer Reviews does not allows you to pick and choose.

What changed for SERP stars?

Gone are the days where businesses could add mark-up on pages to serve specific reviews. This was "cheating" the system. So in September 2019. Google announced that they would disable self-serving reviews for organisations as a whole.

“Reviews that can be perceived as “self-serving” aren’t in the best interest of users. We call reviews “self-serving” when a review about entity A is placed on the website of entity A – either directly in their markup or via an embedded 3rd party widget. That’s why, with this change, we’re not going to display review rich results anymore for the schema types LocalBusiness and Organization (and their subtypes) in cases when the entity being reviewed controls the reviews themselves.

How to get your SERP stars?

Google disabled rich snippets for organisations through marked-up data. This means that the stars will most likely only show for specific product queries. The best option is to aim for stars for your products or services.

Add product markup data and collect reviews for that specific product. To help the Google algorithm that you have independent product reviews.

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Wouter Buijze

Wouter (aka Wally) arrived in Melbourne via Amsterdam where he founded a successful start-up. He's a natural when it comes to driving business value and strategic growth. His laid back energy and sense of humor are zeer gewaardeerd!

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