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Do Non-Verified Amazon Reviews Add To Total Count, But Not Rating?

In this Ask Me Anything episode Bradley is answering the question, "Are non-verified Amazon reviews added to total review count, but not counted toward rating?"

Bradley Sutton, Helium 10’s Director of Customer Success and Training, is back with more answers to your most sought-after questions. In this episode Bradley is answering the question, “Are non-verified reviews added to total review count, but not counted toward rating?”

The short answer is that non-verified reviews do still add to the rating of a product.

HOWEVER, it’s not a straight average. In fact, it’s doubtful that any reviews on a single listing are weighted exactly the same by Amazon’s internal algorithms.

(Just as a refresher, verified reviews are reviews left by someone who purchased the product through Amazon with the same account they are using to leave the review. Unverified/non-verified reviews are reviews left by someone who has no such proof, and therefore may have purchased the item elsewhere, or who may not have purchased it at all).

In Amazon’s words:

“Amazon calculates a product’s star ratings based on a machine-learned model instead of a raw data average. The model takes into account factors including the age of a rating, whether the ratings are from verified purchasers, and factors that establish reviewer trustworthiness.”

It does appear non-verified reviews carry less weight than verified reviews. Other factors matter to review rating average as well, such as the trustworthiness – that is, does the reviewer’s account seem like a legit buyer, or does their account activity appear suspicious, like they might have been compensated or otherwise incentivized for leaving five-star reviews (whether on their most recent review, or their history of reviews)?

In our second AMA, we look at a couple of live examples on Amazon to see how star ratings are affected by customer-posted reviews.

The first example only has two reviews: one five-star review and one three-star review. Both are verified reviews, so a flat average ought to be a four-star total, right?

Apparently not, as you can see in the video. The average comes out to 3.8, meaning Amazon gave the three-star review a little more weight than the five-star one. As sellers (or customers) we probably won’t ever know exactly why that is, but we can make an educated guess that it has something to do with Amazon’s statement on product ratings.

We also look at a second example with four reviews: three five-star reviews and one one-star review, with only one of the five-star reviews with a “verified” status.

Yet this item doesn’t have a five-star rating, even though the only verified review here is five stars.

Therefore, unverified reviews are clearly still counted towards the star rating, even if they don’t carry as much weight as verified reviews.

That said, don’t forget that Amazon considers factors other than verified/unverified status, as stated above.

And at the end of the day, putting out a quality product and providing excellent customer service are the core of gathering positive and authentic reviews. There’s no way around that!


6 responses to “Way to Improve Amazon Keyword Rankings.”

  1. Hey Brad, does combining all the child listings under a parent also help the ranking of that parent listing by combining the stats of the child listings or will the parent only rank as well as the best-ranked child listing?

      • Hey Brad does that mean it’s possible adding a child variation actually hurts your overall ranking? For example, let’s say you’re selling 100 units/day so you add another color, but some of the people that would have bought the original are now buying the other color. Let’s say it’s now 80 units/day of the original and 40units/day of the new color. So overall you’re better off at 120 units, but now your best seller is selling 80/day instead of 100/day. Could that hurt your ranking? Or would Amazon look at the combined velocity of 100?

  2. Hi Bradley,

    Is there a Helium tool that lets you see how a specific competitor is spending money on Amazon ads (e.g. what keywords that competitor is buying and how much they’re spending)?

    • Hello Stephen, You can see all the keywords they are showing up for in sponsored ads, by putting that ASIN into Cerebro, and filtering for “Sponsored Results”. But you can’t see how much they are spending because the information on how much someone is spending is not public.

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