Businesses don't just collect online reviews to make their website look pretty - there are many benefits to having stars next to your business and product name online.
One of the biggest topics talked about when it comes to collecting customer feedback is trust. There are two reasons for this:
The importance of trust for eCommerce shouldn't be underestimated - In a Reviews.io study, over 83% of shoppers stated that the presence of reviews is the most important factor in their buying decision-making process and review-related studies correlate, showing reviews to increase basket size and on-page conversions.
Whether consumers are looking for the best body lotion or place to get a mortgage, chances are it'll start with a search. Search engine result pages are highly competitive places and can often be dominated by long-established companies with recognisable brand names and high Domain Authorities. SEO can improve your chances of getting noticed.
Review collection can benefit SEO in the following ways:
Whether good bad, short or long, user-generated content can benefit both companies and customers by giving them a deeper insight.
For companies: reviews are like free testing if you like. Customer feedback can tell you so much about your products and services and help you identify areas to constantly improve on.
For customers: reviews give more information about products and services - whether the sizing comes up small or is the scent is strong. Whilst such comments may put some customers off, they'll push them towards a more suitable offering, increasing your customer's satisfaction in the long run.
Google Ads is getting increasingly expensive, so businesses should be looking for anything they can to keep their costs low. Reviews could be the answer.Displaying stars in Google Ads helps you stand out above your competitors. It makes you shine so brightly that you can pretty much count on an increased click-through rate, which will lower your CPC and get you more bang for your buck.
What does this mean overall? Through their many benefits, reviews reduce costs and increase sales to give you a bigger profit.
Online Reviews usually take the form of a score out of an arbitrary number (usually 5 or 10) and a comment by the reviewer to justify or support their score. Quite often, a graphical representation of the review score is shown, usually in the form of stars.
Although reviews appear in many different places across many different sites, they can be segregated into two main categories:
Also known as Google Seller Ratings (Google), Seller Feedback (Amazon), Feedback (ebay)
A company review is a critique of a business as a whole by its customers. Elements included in company reviews may include order experience, delivery, and customer service. Company reviews are written by customers as a result of their experience with that company. Company reviews do not include details of an individual product.
Although the content of restaurant or attraction reviews may differ, they are still seen as 'company reviews' by Google.
Also known as Product Ratings (Google), Customer Reviews (Amazon), Product Reviews (ebay)
A product review is a critique of an individual item or set of items. Elements included in product reviews may include size, fit, description, ease of use, quality, longevity or suitability. Product reviews are usually written after a product has been received and used by the consumer.
Product reviews might be shown in Google Shopping adverts, on a company’s individual product page, or as a Rich Snippet in Google’s organic search results.
Not all product and company reviews are the same - some carry more 'weight' than others.
These are reviews left after a purchase or experience that cannot be verified. They're collected on TripAdvisor, Amazon and Google My Business listings and can be left by anyone. Whilst common, without confirmation, unverified reviews carry little weight.
Verified reviews are those that can be confirmed as authentic. The reviewer must provide proof - usually in the form of a receipt - to verify their purchase. These carry more weight as they're guaranteed to be genuine.
Google verified reviews & Google Licensed Review Partners
The Holy Grail of reviews are Google verified reviews. These are the only reviews that will ever appear in Google Ads (also known as Seller Ratings) and Google shopping. They are collected by Google Licensed Review Partners, who send review data to Google.
Google Verified Reviews must be collected in a certain way and carry certain data to qualify. This includes being collected through a review invitation and accompanying fields such as order ID, name and email address.
When you're first learning about online reviews, things can be pretty confusing. The important thing to remember is there are really, only two different types of reviews: company and product. The complicated part is understanding the different locations they can appear and where they can be collected. We're going to tackle the former in just a moment by looking at all the different places customer reviews can appear in Google Search Results.
But first, it's important to learn how Google gathers and collates these reviews.
Rich snippets are specific pieces of HTML which help Google identify different types of content. They're used to tell Google when an author is mentioned, an event is happening, or when someone has left a review by providing certain fields in a certain layout that Google is able to digest, then push into the SERPs.
To show online customer feedback in the Search Results, it's Review Rich Snippets that Google needs - they give Google information such as the star-rating, order ID and more.Most of the time, you won't have to think about Rich Snippets. They are built into sites such as TripAdvisor and Facebook, and Review Platforms will do all the hard work for you too so you can concentrate on collecting and managing your reviews.
Google Seller Ratings are those golden stars you see in Paid search - they appear in Ads.
In order to get reviews to show here, you must:
Another type of star you will have seen in paid search are those in Google Shopping. These are product reviews which are aggregated from various source. They do not necessarily need to be verified in order to be shown.
Google Local showcases Google My Business Profiles for a specific business or branch. For example, if you type "Specsavers, Leicester" in the search, the profile for the Leicester branch will appear in a big box to the right of the organic listings. Along with opening times and contact details, online reviews can also be shown here.
Type in 'Glasses shops near me' and Google will feature a map at the top of the SERPs with local opticians. These are compact versions of My Business Profiles and also contain reviews.
Just as reviews can appear in paid search results, they can also appear in organic results.If you're collecting reviews on your site, they'll appear under your website listing in the SERPs. Additionally, any reviews collected on sites such as Facebook, Yelp or TripAdvisor will also be shown under the listing for your business page.
In order to show any reviews, first, you'll need to collect some. There are several ways to do this, each requiring different amounts of effort and offering varied results.
Every single business is entitled to a free Google My Business account.
Along with your company name, opening hours and contact information, they also facilitate the collection of Company Reviews.
Whether you've claimed your My Business account or not (we recommend this to anyone to increase the accuracy of your listing and also enable review replies) anyone with a Gmail account will be able to leave you a review using Google's own review platform, Google Customer Reviews. These reviews will then appear for your business in the SERPs.
Where can I display Google My Business reviews?
Google My Business reviews are collected by Google from anyone that has a Gmail account. They are unverified reviews and therefore do not show as Google Sellar Ratings. Instead, they will be aggregated with reviews from other sources and be shown in the SERPs, in Google Local searches and in Google maps.
One of the most obvious places to collect reviews is on your own website...but how do you do it?
The easiest way is using a Review Platform. Review Collection Widgets are easily installed onto your own site and will enable you to both show and collect reviews. There may also be other widgets available on the web, although as these are not designed by professionals, they cannot be relied upon.
If you have a team of developers, they may be able to build you a bespoke review-collection system themselves.
Where can I show reviews collected on my website?
These solutions will enable you to show reviews across Google Shopping, in SERPs and will also be collated in Google My Business Reviews. However, unless you are using a widget from a Google Licensed Review Partner and collecting verified customer reviews, you will not be able to show Sellar Ratings in Ads.
There's a reason so many companies use review platforms - they make everything so much easier. It's important to remember that not every Review Platform is the same - each not only offers different prices and technology, but some are Licensed whilst others are not.
Collecting reviews through a Review Site such as Reviews.io has many benefits including being able to send email review request to get more reviews, showcase reviews on your site in a number of ways and facilitating the response to reviews - these are just a few of the very basic highlights.
Where can I display reviews collected with a Review Site?
If your Review Platform is Google Licensed, you will be able to showcase reviews everywhere in Google - both in organic and paid search results. Additionally, some platforms will direct your customers to other review sites such as Facebook and TripAdvisor to help you maintain a consistent online reputation.
There are many other, less-sophisticated Review Sites that enable consumers to leave reviews about everything from cars to fry ups including:
They collect reviews for specific locations, such as various branches of large chains or small local businesses.
Do Local Reviews appear in Google Search Results?
The reviews on these sites vary, with some being verified and others not, however, none are Google Verified and therefore cannot be shown in Seller Ratings. They will, however, appear under your business page listings in the SERPs.
Still not sure you need to collect customer reviews for your business? Here are some fun facts that might just change your mind.
We’ve discussed what reviews are, the reasons for collecting reviews and all the different places you can collect and show them.
By now, you should have a good idea of how important reviews are for your business. Consumers search everywhere for information about you before they make a purchase. You need to be aware of and keep on top of, your reputation across a wide range of review sources. If one source of reviews is bringing your overall reputation down, it will have a negative impact on your bottom line.
Here's a list of essential, review jargon definitions to help you succeed in the world of online customer reviews.
SEO: Search Engine Optimisation is a technique used to maximise a website's visbility in Organic Search Results.
LSI Keywords: Latent Semantic Indexing are the keywords that surround your target keyword. They're words that are likely to be used on the same topic as your target keyword and help Google to identify your topic.
CTR: Click-Through Rate is the percentage of people that saw your content and clicked a link.
CPC: Cost per click is the amount you pay for every click your ad gets.
SERPs: Search Engine Result Pages are the list of websites shown when a search is made on a Search Engine such as Google.
HTML: The code your website is made of.
Google Ads: Google Ads is an advertising platform operated by Google, which enables businesses to bid on keywords. Google Ads feature at the top of the SERPs.
Google Seller Ratings: Google Seller Ratings are the stars seen in paid search such as Google Ads and Google Shopping.
Organic Search Results: the listings shown in a search engine that exlude paid search.
Paid Search Results: the listing shown in a search engine that are paid for, including Google Ads and Google Shopping.
Review Platform: Websites that faciliate the collection of customer reviews for a business.
Google Licensed Review Partner: Review Platforms that faciliate the collection and publishing of stars in Google Ads.
Rich Snippets: pieces of HTML, specified by Google, which tell Google what type of content is being featured. They enable Google to showcase this information in a certain way in the SERPs, such as event and product listings, or as reviews.
Local Search Results: searches made for local places such as restaurants and specific branches.
Google My Business: a service that enables businesses to edit the information that is shown about them in Google, by updating their profile.
Still got questions about Customer Reviews? Head over to our website or jump on live chat with one of our advisors.