Last month, Google told the world it would be shuttering its Google Trusted Stores program, its long-standing ratings and certification program. Well the time has come, as the program said farewell this week. In its place, Google has launched “Google Customer Reviews” – a new ratings program that aims to be more accurate and valuable to consumers.
Customer Reviews vs. Google Reviews
The launch of the new program has brought some confusion, as Google now has two separate ratings systems.
The classic ratings system allows users to leave reviews and ratings on any business’s listing. These “Google Reviews” are then aggregated into the search results. While the system mostly works, there is one big issue – literally anyone can leave a review, whether they’ve been to your business or not.
With “Customer Reviews”, Google is aiming to make reviews more accurate and reliable by only allowing those who have legitimately made a purchase from the business’s website. That means no trolls bringing down your rankings, but the new program really only works for online retailers.
After you’ve collected some reviews, you can highlight your high rankings on your site with a customizable badge.
Notably missing from the program is the customer protection aspect of the Trusted Stores program. Online businesses will have to turn to other certification programs to help prove they are a legitimate and reputable business.
How To Join Google Customer Reviews
Businesses that were already participating in the Trusted Stores program have been automatically migrated over to the new program.
If you’re an online merchant who isn’t already participating in the program, follow these four steps:
- Sign into or sign up for a Google Merchant Center account.
- Select “Merchant Center programs” from the dropdown menu in the upper-right corner.
- Click “Get Started” within the Google Customer Reviews card and accept the Program Agreement.
- Add the survey opt-in code to your site.
Once you’ve gotten all set up, you can put the badge code for displaying your seller rating anywhere you want on your website.