What Will Google Trusted Stores Mean for WordPress Users?

What Will Google Trusted Stores Mean for WordPress Users?

Just a few months ago, Google launched a new program call “Google Trusted Stores.”

As a WordPress user selling products and services online and trying to gain rankings and traffic, you might assume this has nothing to do with the future of your business.

As long as you keep on creating great content, building back links and climbing up the search engine rankings you’re in good shape right?

Not really, and if you’ve got five minutes, I’ll tell you why this new Google program is yet another thread in the social tapestry which will soon cover over the traditional practices of SEO and online marketing as we know it.

Understanding the principles behind the creation of Google Trusted Stores could also help you increase conversions and repeat business for your WordPress site and possibly offer some insight into how Google will be ranking websites in the near future:

How the Google Trusted Stores Program Works

The following list was taken directly from Google’s description of the Trusted Store program requirements. I’ve underlined the places which I believe WordPress users need to pay attention to, whether they’re interested in the Trusted Store Program or not:

**********START OF GOOGLE TRUSTED STORE DETAILS**********

Qualifications

  • US Merchants only, English as the primary language on the website
  • Clearly Visible Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, Returns, and Shipping policies
  • No selling of Google Prohibited Items.
  • Drop shippers are allowed, but not through ready-made drop shipping sites. Merchants must charge the card and cause an item to be shipped.
  • Accurate inventory availability at all times

Performance Requirements  

  • On-time shipping > 90%
  • More than 100 orders on a rolling 28 day basis
  • > 50% trackable shipments
  • 90% of orders must have an actual ship date within 3 days of estimated ship date
  • Average time to shipments less than or equal to 14 days
  • < 2.5% cancellation rate
  • < 10% of orders are pre-orders or backorders
  • Merchant must respond to the customer questions within 2 business days 99% of the time
  • 99% resolution rate to customer questions within 2 business days
  • 100% of refunds  within 2 days if product does not have to be returned by customers, or within 6 days of receipt of a returned item.
  • Google code on every page to track shoppers, and code to pass data back to Google on the receipt/thank-you page.
  • Code, Manual entry, or a data feed to pass tracking numbers, cancellations, and refunds back to Google for measurement.

Steps to Become Member of Google Trusted Stores

1.      Place the Google Trusted Stores code on your website

2.      Google monitors your shipping and customer service for 28 days

3.      If your store meets the Trusted Store requirements, your site becomes a Google Trusted Store

**********END OF GOOGLE TRUSTED STORE DETAILS**********

Okay, big deal.

You get a nice Google Trusted Store badge on your WordPress site and maybe you’ll make a few more sales right? Actually, there’s a bit more to it than that.

When your site visitors hover over the Trusted Store badge, they’ll be able to see your site’s performance. Google will also mediate between the Trusted Store Merchants and their customers and offer the option for customers to purchase protection on eligible purchases.

Essentially, being a member of Google Trusted Store will be much like being a member of the Better Business Bureau. Their objective is to protect consumers from bogus businesses, or even businesses with poor customer service performance, and to provide trusted businesses with an opportunity to earn more market share.

But Why Should You Care?

So how is this new Google Program relevant to you as a WordPress user? You can find other ways to increase conversions. You can build back links and post keyword rich content on your WordPress blog.

Who needs a nifty “Trusted Store” badge?

Okay, so maybe you don’t care about becoming a member, but if you care about your search engine rankings you need to take a closer look at how Google is determining which stores are trusted. Can you spot the common thread in the qualifications and performance requirements listed above?

The common treads are: responsiveness, great customer service and a commitment to delivering exactly what the customer wants. But undergirding all these principles is the principle of trust.

Google isn’t in the business of counting back links and indexing meta tags, keywords and keyword rich content. Google is in the trust business, and programs like the Trusted Store program are designed to help consumers connect with trusted businesses.

It’s the same thing with everything Google does, including their organic search rankings…and THAT is where WordPress users need to pay attention. How well will Google be able to measure the social value and customer service performance of your WordPress site within the next two years?

What kind of technology will they develop to track how responsive you are to your customers and whether your WordPress store is selling products based on questionable or credible claims? Once again, the Google Trusted Store requirements suggest that it’s only a matter of time before such things impact your search engine rankings.

Many of them are already. For example, naturally, the Google Trusted Store program cannot be used by sites selling illegal items or pornography, but the qualifications don’t stop there. According to Google, any site selling “unsubstantiated cures, remedies, or other products marketed as quick health fixes,” will not qualify.

Again, this ^ requirement is undergirded by the principle of trust and you can bet that Google’s search algorithms are also being refined in order to weed out such sites. So there are a few key questions to ask yourself as you’re doing your ranking analysis for your WordPress site, some of which might appear to have nothing to do with SEO.

How trustworthy are you in delivering exactly what your customers want, responding promptly to concerns, questions and complaints?

Can the claims on your products be backed up with rock solid evidence or by authentic customer reviews?

Do you have a clearly stated privacy policy and terms of service on your WordPress site?

If your customers could see into your business practices and monitor how much integrity you were demonstrating in every transaction, would they still want to do business with you?

Would they feel comfortable sharing your products and services with their Facebook friends?

Are you still putting the majority of your effort into building back links and optimizing your site content to gain rankings?

If these questions raise any doubts, it’s probably time to consider the moves Google has made over the past year:

  1. They released the Penguin update to weed out over-optimized sites.
  2. They began requiring anyone posting a review on Google places to have a Google + account.
  3. They launched Google trusted stores, which will reward sites that perform well in customer service.

Once again, the undergirding principle in all of these strategies is trust and authentic customer service. In his recent book “No BS Trust Based Marketing,” Dan Kennedy said that no matter what business you’re in, you need to get out of it and get into the business of selling trust.

Trust is the currency of the new economy, and if you can earn it, earning money and growing your business will be easy. Plenty of WordPress plugins have been created for collecting and posting customer reviews, building customer support systems and Q & A environments for your WordPress site and making it a trust rich environment.

So you have all the tools you need to get out of your current business and to get into the trust business alongside Goode, and it’s time to make it happen.

Best,

Seth C