Google has a lot of different platforms, from Google Search to Google Shopping to Google Maps. Star-ratings appear basically everywhere on Google. However, those different places for the stars to appear have different requirements. It can be a bit confusing, so let’s have a look at some of the most popular places for stars to appear.
A word about Google stars
Whether you’re an e-commerce expert or a novice, you’re probably well aware of the power Google carries for being discovered. Google offers websites the opportunity to earn their way to the top of the organic (unpaid) results by offering high-quality, relevant content.
Conversely, Google also offers websites the opportunity to “pay their way to the top” of their results by the way of Google Ads.
Either way, getting at the top of Google’s results, no matter which platform we’re talking about, can drive massive amounts of traffic your way.
Getting your star-ratings to appear alongside your post or advertisement in Google can also significantly increase the click-through rates (CTRs) of your website.
Google has made claims that stars in Google Ads can improve CTRs by 17%.
Another study performed by CXL in 2017 showed that CTRs can go up by 35% when stars appear in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
It all makes sense logically-speaking as well. First of all, those orange-stars can really grab users’ attention. Secondly, they provide instant credibility to your website. In theory, you’re already building trust before the user has even visited your website.
This is also true from a local search perspective. Bright Local releases annual results that confirm this. One conclusion from this study, for example, is the fact that going form three stars to five stars can get you a 25% increase in clicks.
All in all, it’s clear that reviews (and the star-ratings that represent them) are important for your Google presence.
So, how do we get them to appear?
NOTE: It’s important to point out that is impossible to guarantee that star-ratings will always appear next your shop. In the end, Google has the final word on whether stars appear or not. The displaying of stars is often connected to the exact search inquiry made by the user. In other words, your shop may appear in the search results for a certain search term. However, if Google decides displaying these stars isn’t relevant to this search term, it won’t show those stars next to your shop.
Getting stars to appear in Google
As you know, Google has a lot of places for stars to appear. Let’s look at how some of them work:
Star-ratings in Google SERPs
Let’s begin with the classic Google search results. Here, you can either appear organically or through paid ads. Both options allow for stars to be displayed.
Star-ratings can appear in organic search results. However, in 2019, Google changed the rules up a bit. A shop can no longer display shop-ratings (based on shop reviews) next to their own domain in the SERPs.
The reason for this decision, according to Google, is that these ratings are too “self-serving”. However, third-party review providers (like Trusted Shops) can show these star-ratings on the shop’s behalf.
In the search above for "Evotech reviews", the stars appear next to third-party reviewers
(e.g. Trusted Shops and Facebook)
Product ratings (based on the product reviews you collect), on the other hand, can still be displayed by shops organically.
Although third-party review providers can implement this much easier, shops can set this up themselves with the help of structured data.
Star-ratings also appear for product reviews when users search for a specific product.
You can think of structured data as a way of “labelling” the code of your pages so that Google can identify the most relevant information of your website more easily during its crawls.
As you probably know, you can pay your way to the top of Google’s SERPs. Google Ads can really drive traffic to your site with good texts and clever targeting of relevant keywords. When done correctly, you can minimise your cost-per-click (CPCs) and maximise relevant traffic. The investment in Google Ads can be extremely worthwhile.
Having said that, it’s important to remember that appearing at the top of the SERPs is great, but doesn’t guarantee clicks. Adding ad extensions to your ads can immensely help your click-through rate for two main reasons:
- The additional information can inform the users more and lead to “better” (i.e. more relevant) clicks
- The extra visual elements in your ad can draw the attention of users more
In paid ads for the Google SERPs, only shop reviews can be displayed (Product reviews are shown through Google Shopping).
In a search for reviews, a Google ad appears, showing star-ratings and more information relevant to the user via ad extensions.
In order to show off its seller-ratings, the shop must:
- provide reviews from Google Customer Reviews or a third-party review partner
- have collected at least 100 reviews in the past 12 months in the country the ad will be displayed in
- have a composite rating of 3.5 or more stars
- use the same domain for the ad as for the ratings
Clearly, getting at the top of Google SERPs is a great way to drive traffic to your website. However, there are even more places to get your stars to appear throughout Google.
Google Maps also allows shops to display their stars organically and through Google Ads.
We’ve created a whitepaper to guide you through those other Google platforms, including Google Shopping, Google Maps, and the Google Knowledge Centre. Download it for free now: