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Reviews and Google: How do they work together?

Monday, October 19, 2020
Reviews and SEO - a complete Trustpilot guide

On the 16th of September 2019, Google changed the review Rich Snippet guidelines which are outlined in this blog.

Here's what you need to know:

  • SEO Service Review TrustBoxes no longer display Rich Snippet stars (this impacts service reviews from all providers, not just Trustpilot).
  • Product Review SEO TrustBoxes and Google Seller Ratings (GSRs) aren't affected by this change.
  • Company Profile pages on Trustpilot.com will still display Rich Snippet stars. If you'd like to find out more, please read Trustpilot's explanatory blog post.

The eternal pairing of reviews and SEO has always been the subject of scrutiny.

Do reviews help SEO?

How do they help SEO?

Do all reviews help SEO?

Watch our webinar recording below, and learn:

  • How to make sure any reviews you collect are contributing to SEO
  • How to make the most of your reviews in your marketing
  • How to get more reviews
  • How to measure the SEO benefit from your reviews.

About Trustpilot

Trustpilot is the world's most powerful review platform. We're built on openness and collaboration. Our platform is open to all consumers and all companies, while we remain independent of both. Our mission is to become a universal symbol of trust, and we do this by tapping into people's desire to share experiences and make things better. For consumers, we're a place to share, discover, connect with and influence great businesses and awesome experiences. For companies, we're a platform of progress. A way to impress, improve and innovate by simply engaging and collaborating with consumers. All of this means Trustpilot is more than just a rating. The Trustpilot star signifies to the world that a company has nothing to hide, loves its customers and shares our mission to create ever improving experiences for everyone.

Here's some data that backs up how we are the world's most powerful review platform. Firstly, our online reach is huge. We have over four billion impressions a month, so this means the Trustpilot brand is seen online over four billion times, and this doesn't even count the offline appearances. We're in the top 1% of most visited websites globally and we have over 18 million reviews to date. We add to this number by over two million reviews every month. For those that know the Alexa rank, by way of traffic, Trustpilot is ranked as the 393rd largest website in the world, which is not too bad going. That number is reducing day by day.

We've talked about Trustpilot's goal, to be a universal symbol of trust. This all revolves around our powerful customer feedback software, but how does this actually help businesses? Well, it brings together three key pieces. We help businesses get better. This means genuine consumers' feedback with insights to learn from and to improve with. It's the ability to see your business from your customer's eyes. By listening to this feedback and acting on it, you can improve, which leads to selling more. As the feedback comes in and your Trustpilot rating improves, you can show off to the world and get seen more too.

So let's move on to how we work with Google.

Trustpilot is a Google Review Partner

Trustpilot has a licensing agreement with Google, which makes us one of their review partners. This agreement means that Google recognizes us as a trusted source of transparent, legitimate customer reviews. These reviews are what Google uses within its search results to help consumers make informed, confident buying decisions. We'll talk about a few of the places online where Trustpilot reviews can be used by consumers.

So this partnership with Google enables businesses to achieve two key things when collecting reviews with us. The first one is Google seller ratings, and these are the stars on Google AdWords campaigns that you've probably seen when you search online yourself. Product ratings in Google shopping, and these are the stars that appear next to specific products in Google shopping and on Google product ads. We'll go into more detail on each of these shortly.

Quick disclaimer, and it's important for anything Google-related, not just reviews. But obviously we have no control over Google and what happens and where things appear. As we've all experienced, the algorithm can be adjusted at any time. The recommendations we make are always in line with the best practice and guidelines set out by Google. So with that being said, let's move on to service reviews and take a bit of a closer look there.

Service reviews and SEO

Service reviews appear on your business's profile page on Trustpilot and can also easily be placed on your website. Typically, these reviews will relate to the business and overall experience the customer has had, so they're not product specific. Other consumers can then read these reviews when considering whether or not to buy from you. So typically there'll be aware of what they want to buy, but they're still deciding on where to buy it from. Service reviews help consumers make a confident buying decision, especially if it's the first time they're buying from you. Any business can have a profile page on Trustpilot for free and start collecting feedback pretty much straight away. As you start gathering review content, it's super easy to then integrate this content throughout your customer's buying journey on your website. So it's a great way to tell your customer's stories and build confidence in others to buy from you.

Acquiring Google Seller Ratings

Let's take a closer look at Google seller ratings. So firstly, to achieve Google seller ratings, there is some criteria that you need to hit as a business. So you need to achieve 100 verified reviews with an average star rating of three and a half stars or more. This would need to be within a 12 month period and it needs to be within each country that you advertise in. All of these reviews need to be service reviews. So typically once you've hit this criteria, within a few weeks, the Google seller ratings will appear on the relevant text ads. As you can see here, you'll probably recognize this from search results you've seen, it's the gold stars that appear within the paid ads on the Google search engine results page.

So when you do achieve seller ratings, the great thing is that your click through rate can improve by an average of up to 10%. So your ad becomes more relevant to the consumer who is considering buying and builds trust even before they've clicked through to your website. So imagine if this is combined with review content on the landing page, the likelihood to convert for your consumers can dramatically increase.

Product reviews in search

Taking a closer look at product reviews now. They're slightly different to service reviews in that the consumer has the opportunity to review the specific product they've bought, instead of talking about the service and the experience itself from buying from you. So this content does not appear on the Trustpilot profile page. Instead, you can easily make it part of your product pages. By having product specific review content on your product pages, you're adding relevant content to each product page, helping consumers make a more confident buying decision. There are also some requirements to hit when it comes to product reviews. So you need to have at least three reviews per product. Across your product range, you need to have at least 50 reviews in total. This review content must be shared with Google regularly, which is something that's that's automatically done by collecting product reviews through Trustpilot.

Another great benefit of collecting product reviews is the ability to have these gold stars appearing in organic results. So these are part of rich snippets, which is basically an enhanced line of text that you can see here, that can include stars like this, and it can include the number of reviews as well. So the great thing here is that when a customer does a product related search, it can really help your business stand out amongst the competition and help your consumer make a more confident buying decision from the results page even before they've clicked through to your site. So how powerful are product reviews really? Well, according to some research by Shopify, 79% of consumers trust a product review as much as a personal recommendation, which I think we can all relate to.

Reviews and Google Shopping

Google Shopping is another place where review content populates. This counts for both service reviews and product reviews are visible on Google shopping results. I'll show you a couple of examples shortly. So consumers searching in Google Shopping typically have an idea of what they're looking to buy. The reviews give them some extra direction and context to their decision-making all in one place. As we covered, the criteria for Google Shopping is actually very similar to the product review criteria in that you need to have at least 50 reviews across your product catalog and to have product reviews showing in Google Shopping you also need to have at least three product reviews per product.

Rich snippets

Rich Snippets are an additional line of information in organic results we had a look at a second ago. The great thing about our Trustpilot profile pages is the amount of authority we have in organic search results. So due to the sheer level of traffic we have, the amount of content we have by way of reviews, it means that all of those factors coming together enable our profile pages to rank very highly in organic search results. A great benefit of having us rank that highly means that your brand can be visible from a third party perspective as in your profile page, and each profile page can also have gold stars showing underneath them. So these are gold stars in organic results, and these stars relate to your service reviews, not your product reviews, so it's a great way to have gold star showing in search results for your brand that relate to your service reviews that you've collected. Those link directly through to your Trustpilot profile page, where customers can actually read some of that review content.

Organic results can be tricky to stand out in. Consumers are always looking for the most relevant results based on what they're looking for. The great thing about rich snippets with product reviews is we do the heavy lifting in that they're super easy to integrate on your website and those gold stars can start showing pretty quickly. Then when it comes to rich snippets on your profile pages, those are actually already set up when you sign up with us, so there's absolutely no development work or integration work for you to do on your side.

You can have rich snippet to show in organic results for specific product pages, as we've mentioned. This is really useful for consumers who are doing product specific searches. Then the other place that we've just covered where you can get rich snippets is on your Trustpilot profile page. So two really powerful places to have those gold stars appear for the products that you're selling and for your brand in particular.

Why reviews in search can help you convert more

Did you know that review stars in search can improve your click through rate by up to 35%? Imagine the kind of impact that could have on product specific pages where you're showing rich snippets, and also for allowing consumers to read service review content on your profile pages, by having the Trustpilot service review rich snippets visible there as well. It's a pretty impressive uptake in traffic.

The purchase likelihood for a product with five reviews is 270% greater than the purchase likelihood of a product with no reviews. Just bear in mind this isn't just about having five star reviews and having loads of them, this is just about collecting some product reviews. So just by starting to collect product reviews, and service reviews, even when you've collected a few, you're going to see the impact kicking in pretty quickly.

Let's have a quick look at social proof. So you've probably seen that there are a lot of brands using Trustpilot in their advertising now, and we do get asked quite often, why are so many companies doing this and does it really have an impact? Well, the short answer is yes, it does. We decided to do some social proof research ourselves and what we found was according to customers, the three most effective trust signals when making a purchase were positive star ratings and reviews, positive star ratings alone and positive customer testimonials. Those being the top three, you can see the importance that sits in having review content and ratings across your customer's buying journey and especially within social marketing as well.

Another stat for you here, 66% of customers said that the presence of social proof in particular, increased their likelihood to purchase a product. Here's an example of it in action. So Monzo tweeted this and you can see, it's just an image of their current rating, the number of reviews they have and their overall four and a half star rating. It's just a great way to, and a very simple way to showcase their Trustpilot star rating and how many reviews they have and for them to show that they're proud of what their rating is.

To sum up...

It's important to make it easy for people to find your reviews. You can do that in multiple ways, through having rich snippets displaying organic results, through collecting reviews to achieve Google seller ratings, as well as collecting reviews and having your profile page on Trustpilot to start with.

If you were to acquire the Google seller rating stars, you can improve your AdWords performance as a really valuable byproduct. Ultimately, by having these star showing in both paid and organic results, you're going to get more traffic from Google, which obviously is going to be of value.

If you'd like to learn more about reviews and SEO, give this quick guide a read:

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