SEO – Google updates Misrepresentation policy with key information on building trust

SEO - Google updates Misrepresentation policy with key information on building trust

Google has updated its Misrepresentation policy with detailed information on how marketers can build trust.

The document advises what steps and precautions brands should take to make sure their products and offers are eligible to be served in Search.

Why we care. The updated policy provides specific criteria for brands. This level of detail will also prove useful for anyone struggling with a misrepresentation suspension or warning.

Building trust. In its updated policy, Google explained that there are four issues you need to address to build trust. For each issue specified, Google provided specific instructions that brands should follow:

  • Business Identity
    • Ensure that the official business name is provided and that there is consistency across the registered business name and domain name.
    • Make sure a brand’s website features an ‘About Us’ page as this establishes authenticity and helps customers to understand their unique journey.
    • Link out to the brand’s social media profiles from the website so that customers can follow those accounts should they so wish.
  • Transparency
    • Make sure website content and messaging is completely clear and include details regarding shipping, returns and privacy policies.
    • Ensure honesty and transparency about the brand’s business model and how the company operates.
  • Online reputation
    • Display honest reviews and testimonials about a brand’s products and services to help customers understand how to use them.
    • Feature any badges or seals of approval from official third-party sources.
    • Clearly display how customers can get in touch.
    • Be sure to tell customers if the brand publishes a blog post.
    • Make sure customers know if the brand was mentioned in a third-party article.
  • Professional design
    • Make sure that the brand’s website has an SSL certificate to reassure customers that their sensitive data is stored securely.
    • The brand’s website should be easy to navigate and shouldn’t contain any unnecessary redirects or redirects to broken links.
    • Try to avoid placeholders where possible as this gives Google and the customer the impression that the website is still under construction and not yet ready for SERPs.

Assisting Google. Google explained that there are several steps brands can take to help it to understand their business faster and more accurately:

  • Create and verify a Google Business Profile.
  • Share up-to-date information in the Merchant Center under the Business information settings.
  • Link relevant third-party platforms to Merchant Center.
  • Follow Google’s SEO guidelines to ensure a strong customer experience is provided.
  • Opt into the Google Customer Reviews or other third-party review services to improve eligibility for seller ratings.
  • Match product data in the product feed with your website to make sure that customers are seeing the same information across both platforms.

What has Google said? Google said via a statement posted on its Merchant Center:

  • “We want Google to be a safe and trustworthy place for both our customers and retailers.”
  • “Customers should feel confident about the offers they are browsing and the businesses they are purchasing from.”
  • “Sometimes it can take some time before a sufficient level of trust is established and before we consider it safe to display your offers to customers.”
  • “This assessment is an ongoing process and since we know that customers are likely to do research about your products and business, we may review multiple signals from across the web.”
  • “The more we know about your business, the better we are able to represent you.”

Deep dive. Read Google’s Building Trust with your Customers guide for more information on its Misrepresentation policy.

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About the author

Nicola Agius

Nicola Agius is Paid Media Editor of Search Engine Land after joining in 2023. She covers paid search, paid social, retail media and more. Prior to this, she was SEO Director at Jungle Creations (2020-2023), overseeing the company’s editorial strategy for multiple websites. She has over 15 years of experience in journalism and has previously worked at OK! Magazine (2010-2014), Mail Online (2014-2015), Mirror (2015-2017), Digital Spy (2017-2018) and The Sun (2018-2020). She also previously teamed up with SEO agency Blue Array to co-author Amazon bestselling book ‘Mastering In-House SEO’.

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