There’s a reason the best rating you can get with Google seller ratings is “five gold stars” – these value packed ad extensions stand to potentially make you quite a pretty chunk of change (if you know how to use and peruse them).
To be clear, Google seller ratings are the out-of-five star ad extensions search advertisers can use to have customers rate their brand and build trust with new prospects.
And trust is a valuable commodity in the pay-per-click advertising world, after all.
Throughout the online sales process, for example, sellers must convince buyers that their transactions will be safe and secure. And users who visit a vendor for the first time are especially hesitant to convert without these reassurances.
One effective way to put these skittish would-be buyers at ease is to show them early on that other users have interacted with you and lived to tell the tale. More than that, actually — they had a good experience and were willing to say so.
If this idea sounds familiar, it should — we’re talking about the seller ratings that can appear as extensions of PPC ads.
What Are PPC Seller Ratings?
Seller ratings are an optional extension for your paid ads, most often in Google search results. Users who enter a search that triggers your ad will also see a number- and star-based rating (out of five) with an option to click and read reviews of your business.
Your PPC team can set up your seller ratings (more on that later), and the reviews are hosted by Google or a third-party provider to ensure they’re valid.
Ads with seller ratings can appear in multiple locations, including just below the search box.
They can also appear with ads in local search results. In this case, you can also see the number of reviews each business has received (in gray parenthesis):
Digital marketers use seller ratings to attract and influence the users who see your ads. Like testimonials, reviews, and other forms of social proof, these ratings leverage other people’s opinions to show that you are a credible and authentic online vendor.
Seller ratings, however, have unique advantages that make them an effective part of many PPC campaigns.
Three Reasons Why Seller Ratings Are Important
First and foremost, seller ratings connect you to the larger PPC marketplace, which is important for the success of any digital marketing campaign.
In place of a face-to-face connection, users need to be reassured that you are who you say you are and that you’ll deliver what you offer. Social proof shows that real people have interacted successfully with your brand, and seller ratings offer unique advantages in that regard:
1) Seller Ratings Indicate Trust Pre-Click
We mentioned above that there are lots of forms of social proof. In addition to testimonials, marketers can use everything from case studies and trust icons to celebrity endorsements to get you to convert.
But there’s a problem with most of those tactics — someone has to actually get to your landing page first.
In contrast, when seller reviews appear below your ads, the user who entered the search sees that you’re credible before they even click. Your landing page social proof can reinforce that first impression, but we all know it’s the first impression that really matters.
2) They’re Recommended By Google
According to the Google Ads blog, “Showing seller ratings on your text ads can boost your ads’ click through rate by up to 10%.”
Also, ad extensions in general can boost the amount of space your ad occupies on a SERP. Increased visibility can draw more clicks and improve your Quality Score, which in turn can bring down your cost per acquisition and lots of other fun stuff.
3) You Can Implement Them For Free
We’ll dive deeper into seller ratings implementation in the next section, but it’s worth pointing out that basic customer surveys and ad extensions are free to set up and show as part of your paid ads.
You can pay to customize some survey questions, increase their reach, and other factors, but the basic framework is free to access.
Your PPC Seller Rating ‘How-To’s
Now that we’ve established why seller ratings are such a good idea for your PPC campaigns, let’s talk details.
Specifically, what you need to know to get your seller ratings up and running, how to turn seller ratings off, and — possibly most important to you right at this moment — how to see if you have a seller rating already.
Note: Microsoft Ads also provides ad review extensions, but they provide the same benefits and are set up in basically the same way as Google Ads. You can even import your existing review extensions from Google Ads into Microsoft. So for our purposes, we’ll reference “Google Ads” as the location of your seller ratings in this section.
How to See Existing Google Ads Seller Ratings
Google Ads has a simple three-step process to find out if your brand or business already has a seller rating.
1) Copy the link below and open a new tab.
2) Paste the link into the new tab.
3) Replace “example.com” with your homepage URL (for example, “nike.com”) and press enter.
If your site already meets the minimum qualifications for seller ratings, you should see a report that looks something like this:
Google will also provide seller information where applicable and, if available, a dropdown menu to view your ratings in different countries.
How To Set Up Google Seller Ratings
We’ve already pointed out that reviews and ratings of your business can be added to Google without you knowing about it.
The solution? Claim your review profile on Google Ads. That way you can oversee the ratings that come in and take ownership of increasing your seller rating.
1) Create A Google Merchant Center Account
Setting up your Google seller ratings is a three-part process. First, you’ll need to set up a Google Merchant Center account, if you haven’t already. (If you already have a GMC account, skip to Step 2.)
1) Visit merchants.google.com.
2) Click Create an Account.
3) Follow the promots to sign up.
Note: Your Merchant Center account must be verified and claimed before you enable Customer Reviews. This gives you an exclusive connection from your Merchant Center account to your website. If your website is hosted by a third-party eCommerce platform, there may be additional options for verifying and claiming your website through the platform.
2) Opt In To Google Customer Reviews
To opt in to Google Customer Reviews, follow these steps:
1) Log into your Merchant Center account.
2) Click Growth in the navigation panel on the left.
3) Click Manage Programs.
4) Open the Customer Reviews card.
5) Click Enable to sign up.
Once you commit to the Google Customer Reviews program agreement for your company, your sign-up is complete. To confirm, you should see Customer Reviews Setup in the Tools section of your account.
3) Add The Survey To Your Website
To participate in Google Customer Reviews, the survey opt-in module must be added to all of your order confirmation pages. Technical details, including the HTML code you’ll need to add to your website, are available from Google here.
Integrating the survey lets your customers choose whether to leave a rating, and if they do, the review and relevant transaction information are automatically sent to Google. Once you’ve qualified for enough reviews, you can also add the seller rating badge code to your site to show off your stats.
How To Turn Seller Ratings Off
If you want to stop showing seller ratings in your Google Ads, follow these steps:
1) Click Ads & Extensions in the menu of your Google Ads account.
2) Under Ads & Extensions, click Automated Extensions.
3) Open the menu on the right and click Advanced Options.
4) Click Turn Off Specific Automated Extensions.
5) Select the seller rating extension.
6) Enter a reason for turning off the extension, and click Turn Off.
Qualifications For Seller Ratings
If you’d like to show your seller rating in your Google Ads, you’ll need to meet minimum thresholds for amount and quality of reviews.
According to Google Ads, Search Network campaigns need to meet one of the following criteria to show seller ratings in a given country:
- 100 unique reviews within the last 12 months across Google Customer Reviews or a third-party review partner
- A complete research evaluation of your site by Google and/or its partners
- A Google Consumer Surveys evaluation of your website.
The reviews themselves also have an average composite rating of 3.5 stars or above to appear as text ad extensions, though Shopping ads may show seller ratings below this average.
Finally, seller reviews on Google Ads are country-specific, and Google’s algorithm might not include a seller rating extension if “the underlying feedback is unrelated to what’s being advertised in a specific ad.”
Two Reasons Seller Ratings Might Not Show Up
Sometimes, you may think you’ve done everything right, and you still don’t see seller ratings appearing with your ads.
Before you jump into advanced troubleshooting mode, however, there are two common reasons that you should check on:
1) Your Grades Aren’t Good (Or Recent) Enough
If your rating is too low or you don’t have enough unique reviews within Google’s preferred timeframe, your reviews won’t appear. (Which is probably for the best — having a 1.7-star average review won’t help you convert many users.)
And even if your reviews are good enough, that doesn’t guarantee your ad a spot on a SERP. Ad auctions incorporate multiple factors, and seller ratings — and even Quality Score — are only part of the formula. Your campaigns will need to be effective enough to rank highly if you want to take full advantage of a positive seller rating.
2) You’re Looking In The Wrong Place
As we mentioned above, seller ratings in Google Ads are specific to a given country. (And not all countries support seller ratings either — for a list of the countries that do, click here.) You’ll need 100 verified reviews from each country to establish your seller rating there.
Also, you might be looking for your ratings in the wrong place within your campaign settings. To show your rating extension, the campaign type needs to be one of the following:
1) Search Network with Display Select — subtype All features
2) Search Network only — subtype All features
Campaigns that only appear exclusively on the Display Network will not appear with a seller rating extension.
Three Ways To Get Positive PPC Seller Ratings From Customers
Getting users to leave you positive reviews to build your seller rating might take time, but there are a few standard practices that you can use to get started.
First and foremost, however, users need to be made aware that they can review you, which is where we’ll start…
1) Ask Existing Or Repeat Customers
If you’re trying to generate new positive reviews for your brand, the best place to begin is with people that know and are satisfied with your products or services.
To that end, you can start by emailing customers in your existing database to ask for reviews. Being proactive in this process is important — businesses that request reviews average higher seller ratings than those that leave it to chance.
2) Include A Review Request In Your Post-Conversion Process
eCommerce vendors should be familiar with this tactic, as most sellers have automated follow-up messages that request reviews or feedback after a completed purchase.
The Google seller rating system works the same way — when customers make a purchase on your site, they can rate their buying experience by opting into an email survey, the results of which contribute to your seller rating.
Now, yes, we know that getting a “Tell us how we did!” message after every purchase is annoying. And yes, we know that most people don’t fill out those survey requests most of the time.
But if your customer service and fulfillment teams are crushing it (and we hope they are), even minimal engagement through this channel can help keep your reviews relevant and up-to-date.
3) Respond To Bad Reviews
If you’re getting decent traffic and reviews are coming in steadily, they aren’t all going to be good.
First, even if you get a few less-than-awesome reviews, it’s not the end of the world. In fact, research shows that most potential buyers lose trust if a seller doesn’t have negative reviews, so think of them as proof that you’re humans.
Second, do your best to respond to the negative review in a positive and proactive way. A genuine effort to resolve the situation in good faith, in a public forum, can go a long way in establishing your credibility as a vendor — and in some cases, the user will go back and edit their review to give you a better score.
Final Thoughts On PPC Seller Ratings
Getting your seller ratings up and running on Google Ads and other PPC platforms isn’t all that difficult.
Especially when you consider the time and effort in light of what seller ratings can provide — greater user trust, in the form of better PPC metrics like higher click-through rates, Quality Score, and ad rankings.
That said, seller ratings are just one tactic at the digital marketer’s disposal. Use them in conjunction with other ad extensions, and don’t lose focus on the larger customer journey. The best way to get a strong and sustainable seller rating is if people have a great interaction with your brand and love what you provide.