A look at several of the Google AdWords extensions, ratings, and review services available, including what they do, where they come from, and how they can help your marketing efforts.
You might have noticed in the recent past the number of review and rating services, stars, and evaluation methods growing and displaying not just on Google SERPs but on Google Shopping SERPs as well and in some cases, on both.
So just what are all of these and where do they come from?
Product Ratings are aggregated from multiple sources, like merchants and third-party sources that compile and show on a five-star scale in a product listing ad (PLA) unit what that particular product's rating is and based on how many reviews. Clicking on the rating stars in the PLA ad will open up a product review page that goes over product specs and where the reviews are aggregated from. If you'd like to participate in product ratings, you need to submit a product ratings form until the initial launch in October.
Seller Ratings appear in AdWords ads in the form of a five-star scale as well and are aggregated from "reputable sources" such as Stella Service, Bizrate, PriceGrabber, and Reseller Ratings and reflect the ratings of the site itself, not products.
If while on a Google Shopping SERP you click on the name of a store, you can view ratings for that store, where the ratings were taken from, and in greater detail.
Review Extensions are an exact quote or paraphrased versions of a third-party review that appears underneath your AdWords ad. In order to get these to appear, you'll need to enter them into the AdWords interface like any other extension, as well as provide a URL for where Google can validate the review snippet you provide. There are several rules around these reviews, including that they should be less than a year old, must be taken directly from the original source, and avoid repeating the name of the business in the review itself.
Google Consumer Ratings appear in AdWords ads and if you click on the word "Ratings" in the ad, it opens a pop-up window that shows ratings based on survey responses from Google Consumer Surveys, administered by Google, and includes a time frame from which the surveys were taken. This is not a free service, it's priced by number of questions and completed questions and the question format and types of questions are chosen by the business.
Google Trusted Stores are sites that have undergone a trial with Google to prove that they are "worthy" of the Trusted Store badge, which they can display on their site and may appear on product listing ads units as well as in the compare stores matrix on Google Shopping results pages. The Trusted Store approval isn't easy and requires code placement so that shipping time and speed and customer service monitoring can be tracked, as Google then offers consumers purchase protection, so they understandably won't let just any site in.
I'm sure I forgot an extension, rating, review, or something or other, especially if you were to dissect an e-commerce AdWords ad or product listing ad over the course of 100 queries. Let me know if I left one out in the comments - I'd love to build on this post more!
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Elizabeth Marsten is the Director of PPC at Mercent - A CommerceHub solution in Seattle, Washington. She oversees the PPC advertising practice and is the is the co-author of All in One Web Marketing Reference for Dummies (Wiley Publishing) with Ian Lurie, Marty Dickenson, Michael Becker, and John Arnold, as well as PPC courses on Lynda.com.
See her SlideShare presentations from speaking at MozCon, SMX Advanced, East and West, PPC Hero Con, Searchfest, and State of Search or find her on Twitter.
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