This is a question that we get asked quite often, so I thought I’d write a quick post about it. The eagle-eyed amongst you will be aware that Google pulls product reviews into various search products of theirs – notably product search and paid search listings, as highlighted by the big red boxes in the images below:
Reviews in Google Product Search
Reviews in PPC Listings
These are good for lots of reasons:
- It makes product vendors look good
- Consumers like to see their purchasing decisions validated
- Consumer reviews can help to increase conversion rates (even negative reviews)
So all of these are good, right? We can see why people would want these. And we’d like to help product owners and vendors to do all they can to get these ratings shown against their website. BUT, ultimately this is something that Google control. We don’t work with Google to do this. Like any website on the internet, Google crawls our content on a frequent basis. Google knows we’re a review website, and then matches our review content to websites in their product search. We have no inside knowledge as to how they do this matching. All we know about the process is what they’ve written about publicly:
Based on this documentation, and our own understanding of how the process works, I thought I’d go through some of the common questions we get asked, and try and provide some useful answers
(Q) We’re listed on Review Centre – why aren’t Google picking up our ratings?
(A) Google say “if your online store is rated in Google Product Search, you have 4 or more stars, and you have at least 30 reviews, you’ll automatically get seller ratings with your ads.” Is this the case for your website?
(Q) OK, we’ve done that, but our ratings still aren’t showing.
(A) Elsewhere, Google say “for Google Product Search ratings to appear your business must have at least 30 unique seller reviews.” This is slightly different to the quote immediately above, in that they use the word unique. I don’t know if they do this or not, but there’s a chance that Google are measuring uniqueness of reviews. If some of your reviews are quite similar (i.e. perhaps there are a few that just say “This is good”), then these probably won’t stand up to their uniqueness test.
(Q) OK, we’ve got 30 unique reviews, but our ratings still aren’t showing.
(A) Google say that reviews aren’t added to Google Product in real time. That means if you’ve just got 30 reviews, you won’t see ratings immediately. From our experience with other Google products (rich snippets for example), we’ve noticed a lag time of about 2 months from something being approved, to it showing up in Google search results. This could be the same for product ratings.
(Q) We’ve got ratings showing against our website, but they’re not our ratings – they’re ratings for a completely different website
(A) This is something we’ve seen happen a handful of times, when two companies have very similar names. Potentially this could be fixed either by amending your store name in your Google Merchant Center account, or by contacting us, and asking us to tweak your store name on Review Centre. This is not us at fault, and is caused by Google incorrectly matching our data to theirs. While we will do all we can to update your store name on Review Centre, as per previous answers, this change is not likely to be reflected in your ratings immediately, as Google will need to redo their matching.
(Q) Ratings used to show, but have now stopped showing for our website
This could be for a number of reasons. Perhaps for some reason the number of reviews available to Google for your website has dropped below 30. Perhaps, for some reason, a disconnect has been introduced between your store name in your Merchant Center account, and your store name on Review Centre. Check both of these, and get in touch if you need something changed on Review Centre.
Other Review Websites
It’s also worth mentioning that there are other review websites out there that Google use for ratings. Below I’ve listed a few others that I’m aware of in the UK that I know Google use:
I’d like to point out that this post is written based on my observations, and from what I understand of the way Google works. Some of these observations may be incorrect, and I’m happy to be corrected (drop me a comment below). I would especially welcome any comments from Googlers, who may be able to clear up some of the processes involved in trying to get their Review Centre ratings showing within Google.