After less than four years on the German market, Google will announce the end of the "Google Certified Retailer" seal of approval in March. One can only speculate about the reasons for this; there are no reliable statements on the matter. What is certain, however, is that there will be a successor program: according to the search engine giant's own information, "Google Customer Reviews" will focus more clearly on high-quality reviews from customers and their seller ratings - according to Google, the two main factors for increasing the number of visitors to websites.
New program without buyer protection and review extensions
In plain language, this means that customer reviews and seller ratings will remain, while buyer protection and the option of using review extensions to advertise via Google AdWords and Shopping Ads will be dropped. Instead, participating merchants and companies will receive more information about their seller ratings and will be able to embed or design both seals of approval and opt-ins more individually.
Since negative reviews, just like positive reviews, already play a central role in whether users click on a company's or merchant's link and visit their website, the competition for positive Google reviews will continue to increase. This is also true in the case of local searches via Google Maps, which are quickly performed on the side on a smartphone. Thus, bad Google reviews from dissatisfied customers can have a negative impact on one's own business success not only in online commerce, but also away from the Internet. However, since an unsatisfied customer is usually more likely to rate a company than a satisfied customer, caution is advised, especially in the case of negative Google reviews. Anger - or at least dissatisfaction - is a bad advisor and the temptation is great to vent it through negative reviews. The supposed anonymity of a Google account created free of charge promises the security of being able to write negative reviews completely unmolested.
The already existing market around the deletion of negative Google evaluations, which appear to enterprises simply wrong or illegitimate, possible requirements on payment of damages due to a bad evaluation as well as all other services approximately around the deletion of unwanted and business-damaging contents will be animated thereby. Proceeding against business-damaging statements via Google reviews is a topic that will probably bring many a lawyer one case or another in the future.
But the business with fake reviews, bought Google reviews and fake reviewers will also grow as a result. Just as on shopping platforms such as Amazon, where it also plays a central role how users rate a seller or a product, a battle will break out for every good review.
Want to learn more about what role how you rate your business online plays in Google's guidelines? We'll provide more info on the impact of negative reviews on their placement in Google search results, as well as tips on how to deal with bad reviews, in another article on the topic.
Time-saving management in Google Merchant Center
Overall, management with "Google Customer Reviews" should be easier than with its predecessor "Google Certified Merchants". The Google Merchant Center is now available for this purpose. The existing merchant dashboard is only available with limited functionality until the end of June, then the Californian company wants to remove the associated content. Our tip: So if you are a Google-certified merchant and want to use "Google Customer Reviews" in the future, you should take care of the account migration as soon as possible before deleting the existing dashboard so as not to lose any valuable reviews and seller ratings. You can read how to proceed and which guidelines are associated with the change on a current Google help page.
[This article was last updated on 3/24/21].