How to Get Star Ratings to Appear in the Google Search Results

Getting your star ratings placed throughout Google can have a big impact on your brand. For starters, they help drive traffic to your site by drawing clicks. However, on a deeper level, these stars can build trust in your brand and confidence in your product before the user even visits your site.

Google has a lot of places to display stars on the results page of a typical search. Not all stars are created equally though, so we wanted to create a guide for you to get an understanding.

You can also download our whitepaper, which goes a bit deeper into the other Google platforms:

How to display star ratings throughout Google  Learn the different requirements to show your stars Download whitepaper

Contents of this article:

  1. Why are Google Stars important for an online shop?
  2. Displaying star ratings in the Google SERPs
    1. Seller ratings in Google SERPs
      1. Organic seller ratings
      2. Paid seller ratings
    2. Product ratings in Google SERPs
      1. Organic product ratings
  3. Star ratings on other popular Google platforms

Why are Google Stars important for an online shop?

When it comes to visibility, Google is the place to be. Companies around the world have employees (and often entire teams) dedicated to search engine optimisation (SEO). Essentially, they work on techniques to rank individual website pages at the top of Google’s search results pages (SERPS) for the brand’s most important keywords.

For companies that struggle to rank at the top of the SERPs organically, Google offers advertisers the opportunity to “buy their way to the top” with Google Ads. In recent years, Google Shopping has also become more prominent in Google’s search results when a product search term is detected by the algorithm.

star ratings in the Google search results

This Google result shows stars in a few places. Can you find them all?
(Click on the image to enlarge it)

Getting on the first page for certain keywords is crucial to many businesses. However, even among those “chosen” to grace the top results, there is a battle for clicks. Companies fight for space on the results page like a piece of land during the California Gold Rush. Although gold may glitter, stars shine brightly too! And star ratings are a great way to win the battle of clicks in those Google SERPs.

There are a number of ways to draw a little extra attention to your page in the SERPs, including phone numbers, images, and more. However, nothing builds trust like those little yellow stars. Multiple studies have shown that stars in Google Ads (known as seller ratings) can impact click-through rates from anywhere between 5-100% or more.

At no extra cost to your ads, it’s a no-brainer: do what you can to get those star ratings next to your site. Alongside seller ratings, product ratings can have a similar effect on users when they are displayed in Google’s results.

Before continuing, it’s worth noting that it’s incredibly useful to have a Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) account as well as a Merchant Center account. Syncing your accounts across Google’s multiple platforms (including Google Ads) makes everything easier.

Set up your Google Business Profile  An essential part of your brand's Google presence Download whitepaper

On top of that, it’s important to collect reviews with a Google-certified reviews provider, like Trusted Shops. Google recognises these reviews as authentic, so if you want to display stars, make sure to use the right platform.

Without further ado, let’s get to the overview:

Displaying star ratings in the Google SERPs

In this section, we’ll look at the different stars found on a typical Google search results page.

The user has typed a product-related search term into Google and pressed enter. The stars found here can be broken down into two categories: service reviews and product reviews. We’ll take a look at each type of review and look at both the organic (free) or paid (ads) options.

smartphone showing a 5-star rating

Shutterstock/chainarong06

Seller ratings in Google SERPs

Seller ratings are based on the average rating your business gets from service reviews (as opposed to product reviews). These service ratings are known as seller ratings in Google.

Seller ratings can be displayed in a number of ways in the Google SERPS. For example, Google may determine that the user is performing a product search based on the search terms entered (e.g. “Red sneakers”). If this is the case, Google Shopping results may appear at the top of the SERPs as a convenience to the user.

We won’t talk about the requirements for Google Shopping in this article. However, you can download our guide to getting star ratings displayed throughout the search engine giant, including Google Shopping & Google Maps.

How to display star ratings throughout Google  Learn the different requirements to show your stars Download whitepaper

With that in mind, let’s take a deeper dive into seller ratings:

Organic seller ratings

These seller ratings can only be displayed organically by third-party review providers. In 2019, Google changed the rules: A shop can no longer display seller ratings (based on service reviews) next to its own domain in the SERPs.

The reason for this decision, according to Google, is that these ratings are too “self-serving”.Third-party review providers (like Trusted Shops) can show these star ratings on the shop’s behalf.

Organic seller ratings in Google search results

When users search “your company name + reviews”, there’s a good chance that multiple review platforms appear in the SERPs displaying your ratings (like in the image above). Having a consistent rating is important for your online reputation because showing a really high rating on one platform while showing a low rating on another one can be a red flag to some consumers.

The Trusted Shops Reputation Manager is an invaluable tool for helping you maintain your seller ratings across multiple popular review platforms. You can, for example, disperse your review requests among Trusted Shops, Google Reviews, and Trustpilot (even if you’re not a member!).

Review distribution Reputation Manager

Requirements for displaying seller ratings in organic SERPS
  • Google receives “enough” unique reviews within the past 24 months in the appropriate country through Google Customer Reviews or third-party review partners.
    • Although it may depend from business to business, most retailers can obtain a rating after collecting 100 eligible reviews.
    • Alternatively, Google may display a shop’s rating after completing a research evaluation of the respective site.

Paid seller ratings

While you may be restricted from displaying seller ratings next to your domain organically, Google has not placed the same restrictions on Google Ads. As you can see in the example below:

Seller ratings in Google Ads

Once again, syncing your Google Business Profile with your Google Ads account is helpful here.

Requirements for displaying seller ratings in paid SERPs

In addition to the requirements listed for organic SERPs above, there are a few more requirements for displaying seller ratings in Google Ads:

  • The business must have a seller rating of 3.5 or above (this does not apply for organic results).
  • The ad’s visible URL domain must match the domain that has the ratings.

google ads guide whitepaper

Product ratings in Google SERPs

Product ratings are based on the average rating of the product reviews collected for a specific item. They can also be seen in both organic results as well as paid ones.

As far as product ratings go, syncing your Merchant Center account with your Google Ads account is quite helpful here.

It’s worth noting that product ratings only appear organically in the traditional Google SERPs. Paid product ratings, however, can be seen in the Google Shopping results when they appear at the top of the results page. While Google Shopping ads can display product ratings, traditional Google Ads found in the SERPs do not show product ratings, only seller ratings.

Organic product ratings

Since the Google Shopping results featured in the SERPs are paid ads, let’s focus on the product ratings found in the traditional results list.

Product reviews in organic search results

Unlike seller ratings, product ratings can appear next to your unique domain in the results. As multiple vendors’ product pages will most likely appear in the results, this is where you really want to grab the user’s attention with your product page’s star ratings.

Even if you’re not in the first position, being the only vendor with product ratings can improve your odds of winning that valuable click.

Requirements for displaying product ratings in organic SERPs
  • Product Ratings require that you have a minimum of 50 reviews across your entire product catalogue.
  • Retailers are required to either manually send their product ratings to Google to ensure they are up to date (using the Merchant Center) or use a third-party review provider to do this automatically.

To ensure both product reviews as well service reviews are sent to Google automatically, Trusted Shops has developed the Google Integration tool. With it, you can feel safe that Google is up to date with your company’s latest product ratings, thereby increasing the chances that your star ratings appear in your Google Ads and Google Shopping campaigns.

Star ratings on other popular Google platforms

Google stars also appear on other popular platforms throughout Google. Once again, for many of these other platforms, having your Merchant Center and Google Business Profile synced with your Google Ads account is helpful in many of these cases.

Some other popular Google platforms and areas that display star ratings from customer reviews include:

  • Google Shopping
  • Google Maps
  • Google Knowledge Graph

Our whitepaper covers these remaining topics and also summarises the Google SERPS, which were covered in this article as well. Make sure to download it now:

How to display star ratings throughout Google  Learn the different requirements to show your stars Download whitepaper

Conclusion

Star ratings are found across Google, particularly in the search results of common user searches. They are based on the customer reviews you collect from Google review partners and have different requirements for displaying them. Make sure you’re on top of your game so you can win the battle for clicks over your competitors.

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01/05/24

Alon Eisenberg

Alon Eisenberg has been the Content Manager UK at Trusted Shops since 2017. He graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor's degree in Communications in 2004.

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