Debunking ratings in Google AdWords

Debunking ratings in Google AdWords

Most businesses have the same goal when it comes to Google – appear on the first page of results. If you’ve been following our blog, you know the first step to this process is creating your Google My Business account (you didn’t know? Read about it here ). The next step is to integrate Google AdWords into your marketing strategy.

What is Google AdWords?

Google AdWords allows you to advertise directly in Google search results. You can tell a Google ad by the green square next to the website URL in the search results.


In the above image, you see the first result is an ad and the second is an organic (i.e. unpaid) search result.

Google AdWords expands your reach and puts you above organic search result listings. Even with your Google AdWords campaign, it is smart to always ensure your website maintains SEO relevance.

Not yet using Google AdWords? Get started with Google AdWords here.

Now, what about my ratings appearing in search results?

Your rating appears within search results once you meet Google’s minimum requirements and you have incorporated their ‘rich snippets’ (see screenshot) within your website. Let’s rewind and first talk about how Google manages and displays ratings.

Google Ratings

Google ratings are an aggregate of your review score across Google and their selected sources (see list of sources here). In order for your ratings to appear in your search results listing, you first have to meet three requirements:

  • Collect a minimum of 150 reviews over the past 12 months via Google and/or its partner sources
    Note: Google does measure the “”velocity””, or how quickly, you receive reviews; avoid being penalized by also distributing your guests to other portals.
  • Those reviews must result in a cumulative rating of 3.5 or higher
  • You must have a Google My Business account (seriously, set it up now)


See the difference between this search result and the previous? This Google Ad includes the ratings for within their ad because optimized their AdWords campaign in line with the aforementioned criteria.

What this means is: the more guests you send to Google to leave a review, the more reviews you acquire and the greater the potential for improving your ratings on Google. This increases the potential for your ratings to appear within your AdWords campaigns, thereby increasing the campaigns’ effectiveness.

There are three ways to share your ratings on your Google Ad:

  • Certification as a Google Trusted Store (for companies selling goods, not hotels)
    The certification is free
  • Evaluation by Google and or StellaService (for companies selling goods, not hotels)
    A quality assurance company measuring your customer care, shipping, and returns
  • Aggregation of ratings from Google’s customer survey and their partner review sources (for hoteliers)

The third option is, clearly, the only option for hotels; especially with optimized review distribution and an AdWords campaign.

Optimizing your AdWords campaign

To include your ratings, configure your AdWords campaigns according to the following steps:

  1. Go into your AdWords account
  2. Click the tab labeled “Ad extensions
  3. Select from your drop-down “View: Automated extension report”
  4. Ensure you selected: “Do not use specific automated extensions for this account”
  5. Ensure these two options are not selected: “Seller Ratings” and “Consumer ratings”

Remember: your rating still will not appear until you have met the minimum requirements of 150+ reviews and a rating of 3.5 or higher. To ensure you reach this score efficiently, take advantage of the recent Customer Alliance “Distribution” update.

To reach your 150 review minimum, you can strategically set-up your Distribution Settings and increase your return-rate for Google reviews. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Go to “Distribution”
  2. Choose “Settings”
  3. Strategically set your distribution percentages for Google
    Note: Google does measure the “”velocity””, or how quickly, you receive reviews; avoid being penalized by also distributing your guests to other portals.
  4. Check the box to “redirect all guests with a Gmail address to Google”
  5. Then check the box in Step 3 to invite guests to leave a review on Google from your Customer Alliance questionnaire “thank you” page

With this, those guests with a Gmail address will be redirected to our Google Questionnaire automatically (read about our Google integration).

Once you’ve met the requirements, your Google ad will appear like so:
Now, doesn’t that look great!