Google is a household name for a good reason. The famous search engine helps users explore infinite amounts of information out there on the internet, but it also connects us to the real world with apps like Google Maps. For many business owners, Google is the first touchpoint that potential customers have with their shop. Therefore, it’s very possible and incredibly important to make good first impressions. Let’s have a look at how companies can build trust with their audiences with the help of Google.
Google has become so integrated in our daily lives, we probably use the word “google” more often than the word “water”. Whether you think that’s a good thing or not, it’s simply the reality.
The other thing to remember is that many of Google’s most popular features all tie back to the search engine and the results pages (SERPs). Depending on the search terms, the SERPs can look different. You can get Google Shopping results for a product-related search. If Google thinks you’re looking for a local business, then Google Maps appears in the results.
As a business owner, you can get real benefits from this. Because your business can show up in multiple places across the Google world, you should make sure you’re showing off your best side. Let’s have a look at where your business might show up in the Google universe and what small actions you can take in order to build trust with your audience.
The first place we should begin is the organic results. Organic results are, of course, the results that appear in Google SERPs that are not advertisements. Because of the “purity” of the organic results, simply ranking high for certain search terms can be considered a trust-builder in and of itself.
Depending on the search term, getting to the top of the results can be quite difficult, but not impossible. However, if you are ranking towards the top, you’re probably doing something right, so some of these tips won’t apply to you.
Generally speaking, you’ll want to make sure all the SEO basics are covered. That means making sure your meta description gives readers a good (and useful) amount of information. Make sure those all-important keywords are in the meta title as well.
One other point that can’t be ignored is the star-ratings that appear in Google search results sometimes. Although Google no longer allows businesses to display their own shop ratings next to their own domains on Google organic results, displaying product reviews is still possible.
You just need to set up some code (i.e. rich results) on the appropriate website so that Google knows you have product reviews there. Depending on your reviews provider, this may or may not already be implemented. There’s no clear guidelines to know what triggers the stars to appear. This usually depends on Google, so it’s not completely in your hands. However, make sure the code is there. Otherwise, you won’t stand a chance!
Alternatively, you can still boost your shop’s trustworthiness if a third-party reviews provider displays your shop ratings on your behalf. In the example below, Trusted Shops displays the rating they’ve collected for an audio equipment shop.
The other most common results you find on Google are the paid results. Google Ads generally refer to the paid results at the top of the search results.
Google Ads are Google’s biggest money-maker for a reason. Google likes to reward advertisers who create ads that lead to clicks (and sales), so the more successful your ad is, the cheaper Google charges for them. It might seem off, but it makes sense. Google doesn’t like ads that don’t give users a good experience. It makes it much less likely they will click on an ad again in the future.
Google Ads offers users lots of ad extensions. Ad extensions are extra bits of information that are added to your text ads. As we mentioned above, star-ratings are an (automated) ad extension. If your reviews are from a Google-approved reviews provider, they can automatically show up in your ads if Google thinks it will boost your ad’s click-through rate.
Unlike the organic results, you are allowed to promote your own business’s shop rating here. The main factors to getting star-ratings to show up are:
Google refers to these as seller ratings. Read more about them here.
Google does offer other ad extensions that could potentially help you build up trust with your audience.
For example, call extensions allow you to attach your company phone number to the ad. This helps build trust because people know there is someone they can reach if need be.
Sitelink extensions can show different pages from your website that can also build trust (e.g. an About Us page).
In the Google Ad above, we see seller-ratings as well as additional page links at the bottom of the ad for the site’s most visited pages.
Make sure to check out the other ad extensions that Google Ads offers to their advertisers. The main idea is that if you can figure out a way to be even more transparent and accessible, then do it!
Google Shopping is the aspect of Google that is continuously evolving. For a long time, it was free to use. Then, it was exclusively for advertisers and a paid service. Now, during the pandemic, it’s become a hybrid variation where many posts are free, but the ones at the top of the results are paid.
These days, Google’s algorithm is smart enough to guess if a user’s search query is product-related. If the search is indeed product-related, then chances are that Google Shopping results will appear in the SERPs.
As you probably already know, Google Shopping ads can show both product reviews and shop reviews. Product ratings are what consumers first see:
The star-ratings in Google Shopping ads refer to the product rating. (Source: Google)
If a user decides to click around a bit, they will see that multiple other shops offer the same product. If they want to compare prices from different shops, they will see the shop ratings of those sellers (in the form of a percentage) right under the shop name.
Therefore, collecting and displaying your shop and product reviews is very important for Google Shopping. However, it’s important to know that they have different requirements.
For the product reviews to be displayed:
When it comes to the seller comparison, there are no clear guidelines for getting your reviews to show up here. However, it is recommended to put up as much accurate information as possible in your product feed, including GTIN info, product details, etc. Of course, collecting reviews with an approved reviews provider can’t hurt those chances.
Although Google might be the first touch point a lot of your customers have with your shop, the way they interact with your shop after clicking onto your site also affects your SERP rankings and your ad campaign costs. Having poor bounce rates can negatively affect your standing on Google. As we mentioned earlier, having a great conversion rate will improve it.
Therefore, it’s important to remember that simply creating ads that produce traffic to your site isn’t where it ends. Having a great customer experience on the site is also imperative to how your shop “performs” on Google.
We won’t get into too much detail here about how to create a perfect landing page, but think about transparency when going through your website. Make sure your shop’s contact details are easily accessible. Your prices should be accurate. Make sure you have an About Us page that tells your company story.
Building trust on your website is of course always important, no matter how the user ends up on your site. Displaying a trustmark with Buyer Protection to ensure delivery and returns can definitely give shoppers peace of mind when trying out a new shop and boost conversion rates.
Finally, one last word about customer feedback: make sure you reply to the negative reviews. Remember that many shoppers will actively search out negative reviews to see a few things. Namely, they want to see what issues there are with your products and/or services. They also check reviews to see how your business handles customer service topics. Answering negative reviews is an opportunity to show off how you handle things when they go a bit south.
There are many ways to build trust for your business on Google. The most important thing to do is be proactive and “advertise” your trustworthiness by making your business transparent and accessible.