Speculation has increased over the last few days that the multimillion pound search engine Google is set to introduce a new feature called ‘Google Trusted Stores’ on their search page results.
Discovered on the Google Operating System Blog the story reports that the new feature “makes it easier for online shoppers to identify stores that provide an excellent online shopping experience”.
A video accompanied the news which also featured on Google’s YouTube channel, however, it has now been set to private meaning that viewers can no longer access the content. Alongside the video a landing page was also discovered which currently displays an error message believed to be down to the fact that the project has not officially launched yet. So have Google accidentally let slip on an insight into a forthcoming product set to feature on their site?
The blog mentions that it is likely that Google will introduce a ‘Trusted Store badge’ alongside adverts for online stores that offer excellent experience as well as featuring a track record for shipping times and customer service.
Currently when a search is entered into Google, for example ‘Hats’, it shows an average customer rating and also a link to user reviews next to some Pay Per Click (PPC) adverts, so that users are able to assess how reliable the store is and the level of service they should be offered. The below diagram highlight this with a PPC advert for Marks & Spencer when searching for ‘Hats’:
So what will the changes mean for consumers and businesses?
Firstly, if introduced, the service would provide the user with more information in their search results about the best stores to purchase goods from based on, not only customer reviews, but also the track record for shipping times.
For the seller there is the concept that online stores with a more trusted rating will generate more traffic to their site and hopefully gain additional positive reviews, thus pushing their site higher up in the Google search engine rankings index.
However, the new feature may only be ad related and not designed for organic search results. Although, with Google recently removing the checkout badge from AdWords listings, maybe this is set to replace it in the coming weeks?
This wouldn’t be the only thing that Google is doing to gain trust in its search results as Google+ is also a major factor in this with the +1 button featuring on organic and paid results.
The following article discusses the idea that it’s not solely be about how many +1s you receive but more relevantly who is adding the +1s. It’s also worth noting that Google recently announced a partnership with some e-commerce platforms regarding the button.
So what is Google’s take on the Trusted Stores feature? According to Search Engine Land, a Google spokesperson was quoted as saying “We’re always exploring new ways to help improve the online commerce experience but don’t have anything new to announce today. Stay tuned for more.”
In that case watch this space.