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Google testing ‘top rated’ shopping ads format for “best” searches

By now we should be used to Google experimenting with its results pages and ad formats, and well, we are, but it doesn’t stop a minor change from creating a frisson of excitement even when only about 0.5% of searchers in a single territory get to see them.

The latest variation, as discovered last Friday and brought to my attention by @VikingWagon (probably not her real name, in fact it’s Victoria), is a new way of presenting Google Shopping Ads, ranked by customer ratings.

Let’s take a look at the screengrabs, and I’ll try not to be too offended that I discovered @VikingWagon tweeted a certain Barry before me.

This was also replicated by a company called Grade Us.

And although we all assumed foolishly this was a mobile only variant, Victoria also made it appear on desktop.

Now as I stated in the opening paragraph, which I’ve just realised is drenched in sarcasm, this isn’t much to get terribly excited about, however it is an interesting variation of format that’s perhaps more useful than a mere change of colour.

Google is using rich snippet markup provided by retailers, and using the aggregated customer ratings to put them in a ranked order of best rated. Notice the little blue ‘1st’, ‘2nd’ and ‘3rd’. It’s a great way for retailers to show off their ‘top customer rated’ products and everyone loves a ranked lists right?

This is also particularly relevant – and will also probably only appear – for searches including the term “best”, as this shows that Google is providing results based on genuine intent.

Although at the moment it’s only working for ‘lawn feed’ so who knows what Google’s secret agenda is there. To encourage everyone’s gardens to look prettier? Well I guess that’s not too evil.

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Search Engine Watch

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