Curious about Google Customer Reviews? We've got you covered! Today we'll be walking you through the what, the why and the how of Google Customer Reviews so you can decipher whether they're the right fit or not for your business.
What Is Google Customer Reviews
The reviews are then aggregated and displayed across Google as part of your star rating.
How does Google Customer Reviews Work?
The Google Customer Reviews process works in three simple steps:
Google Customer Reviews operate by asking customers to opt-in to receive a survey about their experience when checking out on your site.
Google then sends the survey on or around the delivery date, enabling customers to review their entire shopping experience. Additional coding can be added in order to collect reviews for specific products. The survey consists of a star rating from 1-5 and has space for any additional comments customers would like to make.
Google then aggregates all of these ratings to form star ratings for your business, which are displayed in both Organic and Paid Search Results. The feedback you've collected will also be shown in the Merchant Centre for you to analyse and look back on as and when.
Benefits of Google Customer Reviews
There are always benefits of collecting customer feedback, but let's take a look at how collecting with Google Customer Reviews specifically can help your business' online reputation.
1. It's free
Google Customer Reviews is the only way you will be able to get Google Seller Ratings (stars that show in Google Ads) without paying to collect with a Google Licensed Review Partner, like Reviews.io. For some small businesses, this is a big pull, and even though the service isn't perfect, it does provide a way for eCommerce businesses to show stars in their ads that they otherwise, couldn't afford to.
If you are just starting out and looking for a Review Platform, we'd encourage you to shop around to find the best deal.
2. Google Seller Ratings
All the feedback collected through Google Customer Reviews counts towards your Google Seller Ratings - the stars that show below your business in Google Ads. As we've mentioned, ordinarily, you have to pay for this privilege.
Google Seller Ratings boost conversion rates dramatically as customers are able to see you as a trustworthy and reliable merchant. As a result, you could see your PPC spend reduced by up to 17%!
Remember: In order to qualify for Google Seller Ratings, you must collect at least 100 reviews per country, within a 12 month period and have an average star rating of at least 3.5.
3. Google Product Ratings
Along with Google Seller Ratings, if you set up your Google Customer Reviews to ask for feedback on specific products, the feedback collected will count towards your product ratings, which show in both paid and organic search results, including Google Shopping.
Again, these stars increase conversion and will do wonders for your online success.
4. Google Customer Reviews Website Badge
Although you won't be able to display the feedback collected with Google Customer Reviews in full on your site, you can embed a badge that highlights your overall score. This is marked 'Google Rating' giving it a fair bit of authority and helping to improve trust onsite as well as in the SERPs.
Eligibility for Google Customer Reviews
Although Google Customer Reviews is a free service, it's not right - or even possible - for every business.
Why? Well, Google Customer Reviews requires you to have a certain few things in place. To collect, you'll need:
A Checkout process on your website in order for the survey opt-in to be set up. No Checkout? No reviews. So unless you're an eCommerce store selling products directly to customers via your website, Google Customer Reviews won't be possible for you. And even if you do have a Checkout, you'll also need an Order Confirmation Page, as this is the only location which the Google Customer Reviews opt-in survey can be placed.
Additionally, in order to be eligible for Google Customer Reviews, every single customer must receive the opt-in on your checkout page so it must be a permanent fixture on your page.
How to set up Google Customer Reviews
We could copy and paste the instructions for setting up Google Customer Reviews for you here, but that would be silly, so instead, we'd advise you to head over to Google Merchant Centre Help where you'll be able to find all the information you need. In brief, you'll need to edit some of the code on your website so that it includes the opt-in code, which you'll also need to customise.
The process is relatively straightforward and you should be up and running in no time.
Drawbacks of Google Customer Reviews
We'd be fools to argue that Google Customer Reviews isn't a great service, because it really is. But as a paid Review Platform, we know just what can be done with online feedback. Here's where Google falls short.
1. No customisation
One of the main drawbacks of Google Customer Reviews, in our opinion, is the inability to customise all manner of things, from the opt-in to the badge that appears on your site.
If you're an online fashion company and aesthetics are everything, Google's green, red and yellow might look a bit out of place.
Additionally, being unable to personalise the survey email can make it seem rather amateur and create friction, resulting in a low collection rate.
2. Limited use
We've already mentioned that in order to even collect Google Customer Reviews, you need to be an eCommerce site with both a Checkout and Order Confirmation page. For service businesses or even those shops that do not currently operate online, this makes Google Customer Reviews redundant.
We feel every business, no matter the industry or size, should be able to collect feedback and Google Customer Reviews does not currently facilitate this.
3. No Widgets
Last but by no means least is the lack of widgets that Google Customer Reviews provides. Review Platforms usually provide a plethora of widgets to choose from which enable you to display your reviews across your site for all to see.
Google's current 'Website Badge' offering falls a little short. Displaying a star-rating only, it's nowhere near as compelling as showing reviews in full.
Other Review Options
If you're not an eCommerce store and have lost hope that you'll ever be able to collect online feedback whilst reading this article, fret not. There are a few other options when it comes to collecting online reviews that will give you more freedom.
1. Third Party Review Sites
Did you know there are loads of sites that facilitate the collection of customer feedback, completely free? Facebook, Yelp and TripAdvisor just to name a few.
Feedback collected on Third Party Review Sites doesn't just stay there, Google aggregates it and it will be displayed underneath your listings in Organic SERPs. Additionally, with sites such as Facebook, reviews can be turned on and off. You also don't need to make any changes to your site itself, or be an eCommerce store.
The downside? No Seller Ratings. It's also worth remembering that, unlike with Google Customer Reviews, reviewers don't need to have purchased from you to qualify.
2. Review Platforms
Yes, we may be a little biased, but the service and capabilities Review Platforms offer are in a league of their own.
Review Platforms such as Reviews.io offer a number of review collection methods, including email, SMS and for us, even in store. Go with a Google Licensed Review Partner, and all your verified reviews will count towards your Google Seller Rating.
Widgets make it easy for you to display all the customer feedback you want on your site, and customisation options mean everything can be tailored to fit your brand and leave a lasting impression on your customers.
Review Platforms often have much higher collection rates than other methods, and the reviews left tend to achieve higher scores.
Of course, nothing really great in life comes for free, and they are paid. But don't let this put you off. We offer extremely reasonable rates and have special deals for smaller companies just starting up.
Hopefully you now have a good understanding how Google Customer Reviews work, including the benefits and drawbacks of the service.