Above and beyond everything else across the board, the voice of the people will always determine the success of your business. Whichever way you look at it, PR really is the be all and end all of things. After all, you can promote and market your business to kingdom come, but if you fall out of favour with the general public, it’s game over. Likewise, you can tell everyone and everything on earth that what you do is amazing, but if this is not backed by the voice of the people…well, good luck.
Long story short therefore – reviews matter. And not only do they matter, but actually getting them presented in front of the people that matter also matters. Which is precisely why a significant change in Google’s seller ratings policy can only be described as significant – especially if you happen to be a smaller or newer business.
The upshot of it all is pretty simple. While the announcement hasn’t been made official yet, Google has reportedly been advising a lot of its AdWords customers that a new minimum is to be established when it comes to Seller Ratings extensions appearing alongside the respective links/ads. Rather than being required to accrue 30 customer reviews over the past year, businesses will now be required to stack up a minimum of 150. Seller Ratings appear next to their respective listings automatically if the respective business qualifies and can make an incredible difference when it comes to both click-throughs and conversion rates.
Again, the new policy and the announcement itself have not been made official, but customers and agencies alike are noting it having already gone into effect in select markets. If you check out the current official policy over at Google, this is what it says:
Which means that as far as we can tell, the policy as a whole will remain largely identical – aside from the fact that the current 30 unique review minimum will be increased to 150. Presumably, this is due to the way in which tens of millions more consumers are now shopping online, which essentially means it shouldn’t be difficult to up the ante a little. Not only this, but it serves as something of an encouraging poke in the side of those that still are not doing enough to collect, collate and present feedback from their customers.
As far as all indications to date go, there will be no changes made to the minimum average 3.5-star rating to qualify.
Of course, bigger businesses and online stores with many thousands of customers are not exactly likely to be phased by what they will consider to be an insignificant alteration. However, smaller and newer businesses with equally small yet perhaps growing client-bases may find themselves under significant pressure to increase review quantities. If the requirements are not met, Seller Ratings will not be shown at all and thus convey the impression of a business with poor customer feedback – despite the fact that this may not in fact be the case.
Nevertheless, it’s another stern reminder of the importance of proactive reputation management for businesses at all levels – especially those still finding their feet and looking to make a name for themselves.