Stars in searches on the main search engines is a increasingly important way for your site to get traffic and conversions. Why are they there? What use are they to your business?
The Search Market
There are three main search engines in the EU and US, Google, Yahoo & Bing (part of Microsoft). All are committed to helping their customers connect with the information they are looking for. As the only point of a search engine is to return results which are relevant and useful to the searcher. This is why the only real way to rank well in search results over the long term is to provide content which is both useful and relevant to your target audience. And believe me we are never going to outsmart the software engineers at these companies.
Bing & Yahoo although owned by different companies offer a joint advertising service.
Google Seller Ratings & Bing Merchant ratings
Over time the search engine companies have come up with ways to enhance the search results, to give their users a better experience. Because users are only going to use a search engine which finds what they are looking for. For this reason the Search Engines don’t like those who try to game their systems . One of these enhancements is to include ratings into search results. Most often these will appear as stars in the searches as part of your listing. Google call them Seller Ratings, Bing call them Merchant ratings.
Requirements of the Search Engines
For stars in searches to appear Google requires a minimum of 150 reviews with an average of 3.5 before it will display the Seller rating in its search results. Google also require that these reviews appear on your website and can not accessed from a third party.
Bing and Yahoo are more generous and only require 50 reviews currently.
Stars in searches are most likely to appear in pay per click (PPC) advertisements such as Google Adwords, as well as shopping channels and of course organic search results. When and where they appear is determined by the search engine.
Why Stars in searches (Google Seller Ratings & Bing Yahoo Merchant Ratings) are important?
Seller ratings are an important way to stand out. All things being equal which one would you click on? To quantify this Google estimate that the number of people clicking on a listing on a search (the click through rate) increases by 17%. That is a significant increase.
As mentioned before, Search Engines like relevant content. Search engines take the click through rate as a indication of relevance. A higher click through rate will increase the quality score of an advertisement. Which in turn will bring down the price per click. Having seller ratings and stars in your searches can thus lower your advertising costs as well as making your adverts more effective.
Of course the reviews and feedback you receive to get the seller rating, also inspire trust and build credibility in your company and products or services. This is turn increased conversions on your website.
trustr is designed to help you get your hard earned feedback and reviews into the major search engines. We want people to find great companies and great companies to stand out. Learn what we can do for you at trustr.cloud
Who else is there in search?
Google dominates most markets there are regional companies who are important. In Eastern Europe the Russian search engine Yandex is important. China the market is dominated by local companies the largest is Baidu. In the USA the market is less dominated by Google who only have a 63% market share. Both Bing & Yahoo taking up most of the rest, but the Ask network and AOL also having a small but notable share of the rest.
Can I get stars in searches for free?
Not many companies who have systems for collecting feedback and reviews will tell you this for obvious reasons. But yes it is free and there are several tools out there to help you, perhaps one of the best known is Word Press Structured Data Schema. It’s tricky to install correctly so you either need to read up or get professional help.
But free software has a few drawbacks, firstly it is not independent. And users will have to take it on faith you won’t mess with the feedback they leave. Secondly it is a passive system. Where Trustr actively requests feedback, sending reminders by email or SMS for maximum feedback. Making leaving feedback easy means you get more of the majority of happy customers. trustr is also easy to install and we also have a free option.
Where else can I use Seller ratings?
Internally knowing how your customers think about you is extremely useful and metrics such as the Net Promotor Score are useful in this regard.
Externally go nuts. Show it everywhere, to everybody. If your customers think you are great then you want all your potential customers to know that. Put it on your social media, on your stationary, on your email footers. Any interaction is an opportunity to sell yourself.
More about trustr
In addition trustr have a host of other features to help customer leave user generated feedback, that search Engines love. Video and photos are easy to post which makes it more likely they are left. Our Smart tracking allows us to offer thank yous to customer who left feedback, especially those who left valuable rich media. Further we collect demographic data about your customers tracking not he customer but statistically significant trends against your product. Thus your company can benefit by better targeting of social advertising.
Come an talk to use about your requirements.