Small business owners know the importance of receiving positive customer reviews. Studies show that approximately 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. So, if customers leave positive reviews about your business, you’ll have an easier time selling your product or service.

While Google has allowed customers to leave reviews about businesses, the Mountain View company just released a new feature: verified customer reviews. What exactly are verified reviews and how do they work?

Verified Customer Reviews: The Basics

Verified customer reviews are exactly what they sound like: reviews from past customers that have been verified for authenticity. It’s not uncommon for nefarious individuals to leave fake reviews in hopes of hurting other business owners. In an effort to stop this manipulative behavior, Google has released verified customer reviews.

The new verified customer reviews — simply called “Google Customer Reviews” — will replace Google’s current Trusted Stores program. Using the platform, business owners can collect valuable reviews from their site’s customers, with Google checking to ensure they are legitimate. Granted, there’s no way to stop all forms of fake reviews, though Google’s new program will certainly weed out a significant portion of them.

When a customer makes a purchase, he or she will receive an email asking them to leave a review about their purchase. This is important, because only customers who’ve made a purchase will receive this email. Therefore, no one can leave a review about your business unless they’ve made a purchased and received the follow-up email. The only downside to Google’s verified customer reviews is that business owners must manually set up, though this isn’t a huge burden, as we reveal the steps listed below.

How to Enable Verified Customer Reviews

To enable verified customer reviews, sign in to your Google Merchant Center account (or create one if you don’t have an account already). Next, select “Merchant Center programs” from the drop-down menu in the upper right corner, followed by “Get Started” in the Google Customer Reviews card. From here, you can copy and add the survey code to your website.

Google Customer Reviews offers more ways to customize the Google badge and opt-in on your site, better account management tools that save your time, and new insights into your seller rating,” explained Google in a blog post announcing the new feature. “The reviews collected will contribute to your seller rating, which represents aggregated consumer reviews from multiple sources, including independent data providers and our own Google surveys.”