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Olivia McNaughten
Product Marketing Manager @ Yotpo
September 15th, 2020

What Google’s Stricter Seller Rating Guidelines Mean For Your Brand

In June, Google announced they’re making their Google Seller Rating guidelines more strict. Here’s how working with a trusted Google Partner, like Yotpo, gives your brand an advantage.

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In order to ensure authenticity and improve review experiences for both businesses and shoppers, Google has tightened restrictions on Google Seller Rating (GSR) guidelines, scheduled to go into effect in October 2020.

What are Google Seller Ratings? GSRs help brands increase credibility on search by showcasing their store’s star rating alongside text-based ads and on the Google Shopping Search tab. By displaying this social proof on search, GSRs can help brands build trust at the discovery stage — and increase click-through rates by 17%. 

The new GSR changes include:

1. Brands can no longer offer incentives for site reviews

To ensure the most authentic and unbiased reviews for shoppers discovering brands on Google, businesses will not be able to offer discounts, coupons, loyalty points, or other incentives for leaving site reviews

While this may sound like a big change, don’t worry. Yotpo has you covered. We’re making it as easy as possible for our customers to maintain compliance and collect eligible reviews by removing the incentive option for site reviews and introducing 2-in-1 review requests, giving your brand the power to collect both product and site reviews in one email flow. Interested? Keep reading to learn more.

If your brand has been incentivizing site reviews, be sure to update your review request copy to remove any incentive-centric language. Product reviews are unaffected by this change!

2. Seller ratings must have a dedicated page that’s visible, public, and discoverable via search.

In addition, it’s important that this dedicated page meets Google’s standards, like ensuring there are no edited reviews or that your brand isn’t removing negative reviews. Actions like these could put your brand at risk of being banned.

Great news: Yotpo already includes a feature that supports this update. It’s easy for Yotpo customers to get their dedicated page up and running quickly.

3. Customers must complete their site review within 90 days of receiving a request.

In order to prevent brands from gaming the system and removing potentially negative reviews, Google now requires all of your eligible site reviews to be permanently sent to Google to live on the review provider’s merchant page. 

If a site review is received after 90 days, Yotpo simply won’t send it to Google. To help your brand boost review complete rates within the timeframe, we recommend creating timely, tailored reminder emails — proven to help brands collect up to 80% more reviews. And, to ensure your brand’s ongoing eligibility, Yotpo will continue to send previously collected site reviews to Google even if your circumstances change, like if you switch plans. 

How can your brand prepare for these changes?

Stricter GSR guidelines make collecting site reviews more challenging, so it’s more important than ever to leverage the right reviews platform before the changes take effect in October. Without a trusted partner, your brand’s Google Seller Ratings could be at risk, making it easy for the competition to take over prime real estate on search results and in Google Shopping.

Because Yotpo is an official Google Partner, we were notified about these upcoming changes months in advance. To ensure our brands were ready, we created our new, innovative 2-in-1 review requests, giving brands the power to ask customers for both a product and site review at the same time. These requests not only reduce the effects of Google’s changing guidelines, but they can also help your brand collect more site reviews than ever before. If your reviews provider isn’t a Trusted Partner, it’s clear you’ll be left playing catch up.

For modern cookware brand Caraway Home, 2-in-1 review requests are now an essential part of their Google strategy. 

“We didn’t want to jeopardize product reviews by focusing on site review collection. Before Yotpo’s 2-in-1 review requests, we would manually convert relevant product reviews to site reviews and submit them to Google. Now, the process is seamless for customers and effortless for our small and busy team. In less than two months, we went from less than 100 site reviews (collected over 10 months) to more than 650 alongside our product reviews, and we’re now able to leverage Google Seller Ratings. It’s been a game changer for us.” — Josh Knopman, Growth Lead, Caraway Home

Getting started with Google features

Google also recently introduced commission-free checkout with Buy on Google in the US, with international expansion planned for later this year, as well as Shopify and Paypal integrations, meaning shoppers can now discover and purchase products from directly within Google Shopping. Learn how Yotpo is supporting brands through these changes here.

Interested in collecting more site reviews to meet the Google Seller Rating quota? Request a demo below to learn more.

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