Google Adwords Review Extensions: How-to & Alternatives

Google announced on October 14th the launch of their new Review Extensions for Google Adwords on their Google+ page and began to roll it out the following day.

The new Review Extension allows advertiser to include positive third party reviews from reputable sources under their ads as seen below:

 
Google review extension

Reputable Third Party Sources Criteria for Adwords Review Extensions

Google has created a set of qualifying factors to determine if third party sources are considered reputable and can be used as reviews, here are the guidelines:

  1. Review extensions must use the original source of the review.
  2. The source page shouldn't require the user to sign up or sign in to see the review content.
  3. On the source page, the review title must relate either to the award, certification, or recognition of the advertiser, or else pertain to the advertiser itself.
  4. The source page must not be hosted on the same domain as the ad's destination URL.
  5. The source page should consist of HTML content only (e.g. no video or PDF)

Setup of the Adwords Review Extensions

To get started, you can access the feature under Review Extensions from the Ad Extensions tab in Google Adwords. You can learn more about how to start using the review extension.
Tip: Search Engine Land’s article recommends using the Review Extension at the campaign level rather than ad group level as they get approved faster. 

Google review extension setup

Benefits and Limitations of the Adwords Review Extensions

Google says the new Review Extensions has provided “impressive results” to the few advertisers able to implement them ahead of the official launch. Israel’s main airline El Al was part of the beta test and observed a 10% increase in click-through rate.
These results have yet to be confirmed for the majority of advertisers, and certain questions remain:

  • Since the reviews are entered by the advertiser, will the consumers trust them once they start seeing them everywhere?
  • How effective will the reviews be once the majority of advertisers start using the feature?

And as with the site extension or other additional information that we see under the ads, the review extension will most likely only be displayed for the first 3 ads, and won’t appear for all the ads on the side of the search results. 

Alternatives to the Adwords Review Extensions for Organic Search Results

The good news for businesses who don’t want to advertise or for advertisers who can’t rank in the first 3 positions, you can still use reviews outside Adwords, and for free!
And if reviews are effective in ads, they are as well in organic search results. These are the different solutions to leverage the reviews:

  1. Use the Google+ / Google Place reviews: the reviews on your Google+ / Place page will appear right under the link to your website on Google.

    Vancouver Art Gallery Google Review

  2. Use schema markups: You can add schema markups to provide additional information under your organic search results. Schemas can be described as “HTML tags that webmasters can use to markup their pages in ways recognized by major search providers. Search engines […] rely on this markup to improve the display of search results, making it easier for people to find the right web pages.” You can find the complete list of schema markups on the schema website.

The Artist film schema extension

Above, an example of the review schema markup in use for a movie review.

This topic will be covered again once the feature is widely used to have another look at the results. In the meantime, let us know how you plan on using reviews in the comments section below or on our Facebook & Twitter pages.