Google is merging paid and organic search features in a test that shows businesses’ seller ratings in regular search snippets.
This was first reported by Brodie Clark who credits Brian Freiesleben with the discovery.
As part of the test, star ratings are shown in SERPs based on the website’s rating in Google Merchant Center.
Seller ratings are a feature of Google’s paid ads, which makes its crossover into organic search something SEOs should be aware of.
Let’s look at what’s known about the test so far and what it could mean for search going forward.
Google Seller Ratings in Organic Search
Seller ratings in organic search is an important development for two reasons.
One is that seller ratings are traditionally reserved for paid ads. The other reason is the pages were displaying star ratings without the assistance of review rating structured data markup.
Star ratings are capable of appearing in organic results if particular markup is used.
Since these pages weren’t using the markup, it means the seller ratings were being generated from the same sources as Google Ads.
It’s important for SEOs to be aware of this test because websites can have seller ratings even if they don’t buy Google Ads.
If Google rolls this out on a wider scale, it will be necessary to know which factors contribute toward calculating a site’s seller rating.
Seller ratings on Google Shopping may be based on one or more of the following sources:
- Google Customer Reviews: A free program that collects post-purchase reviews on behalf of merchants.
- Aggregated performance metrics from Google-led shopping research.
- Shopping reviews for your store domain, which include reviews from various third-party sources and users of Google Search.
Any retailer with a product feed uploaded to Google Merchant Center can potentially have a seller rating.
If you’re not aware of what your seller rating is, or whether you have one at all, now would be a good time to look it up.
What’s My Google Seller Rating?
Here’s how to check if you have a seller rating.
To find out if you have a seller rating for a specific country, edit the following URL to replace “www.example.com” with your homepage URL:
Example URL: https://www.google.com/shopping/ratings/account/lookup?q=www.example.com
Once that page loads, Google will display information about your store and its seller rating. A country selector will let you narrow down the data by country.
Investigate your seller rating and look into where the reviews are coming from, as this will be different for all retailers.
From there you’ll have an idea of where you need to be acquiring reviews in order to maintain a satisfactory seller rating for your store.
If Google doesn’t have information for your store, or if your store doesn’t meet the minimum seller rating thresholds, a seller ratings page may not load for your homepage.
Keep in mind this is just a test, and it appears these are the early stages according to examples Clark shared on Twitter.
OK, I've now had more time to look into the new Seller Rating test. Definitely one of the more interesting organic feature developments in recent times. Application is actually broader than I thought (have added some updates to my post). https://t.co/ReA9jvC7wG pic.twitter.com/0ZxVFqZzNj
— Brodie Clark (@brodieseo) June 26, 2021
In this example a seller rating is shown for Apple’s Wikipedia article, which is incorrect as Wikipedia is not an ecommerce site.
Here’s another example where Google uses the retailer’s site rating when reviews for a particular product weren’t available:
Fascinating example of the Site Rating mobile test in action. For this page, Product Structured Data is in use, but reviews aren't available. Google has then decided to also include the Site Rating (based on various sources) with the snippet. More info: https://t.co/dvZ87NDV0f pic.twitter.com/UI8sqVfFjq
— Brodie Clark (@brodieseo) June 28, 2021
Clearly this feature isn’t ready for a mass rollout at the moment, but it’s something to keep an eye on for the future.