We talk about stars in Google a lot here at Reviews.io. You may already know about the effort required to get stars in Adwords, but you may not know about the easy win that is organic stars in Google. We're here to fill in the blanks for you.
Stars in Google Adwords are presented underneath your Search (text) ads and your Shopping (product picture) ads. The criteria for getting these stars is by collecting 100 verified reviews in a rolling 12 month period, per country.
Organic stars, on the other hand, do not have such requirements so they're a lot easier to implement. As long as you have collected at least one review, you are eligible for organic stars in Google through the use of Review Rich Snippets. Google will generally crawl your site every 7-14 days, so if you implement Review Rich Snippets you can get an easy win quickly. We'd recommend that everyone implement Review Rich Snippets, especially if they're just getting started collecting reviews.
2018 UPDATE:- We've recorded a handy 4 part video series explaining how to get Organic Stars in Google using Review Rich Snippets. Here's part 1:-
How to get organic stars in Google
While Rich Snippets are quick to implement, you still have to stick within certain guidelines to avoid getting any penalties from Google. Rich snippets are in the most case, areas of code on your site, invisible to anyone viewing your page, which inform Google as to the content of that page. For example, your product pages may contain product date such as SKU, sizing, colour etc. The areas of your web page where these are located are tagged with a special kind of code which Google reads. This is the Rich Snippet data itself.
Review Rich Snippets are a specific type of snippet and contain review-specific information such as customer name, star rating and review comment. Google reads this content from your HTML and uses it to generate organic stars.
If you want to implement Review Rich Snippets properly, without getting any penalties from Google, then it's critical you follow these four golden rules:-
- Add Rich Snippet Markup to your page
- Ensure you display reviews on the same page
- Install on no more than 6-7 individual pages
- Don't put Review Rich Snippets on your home page
There was a time back in the day that Google allowed you to markup your reviews without actually displaying them on the page. If you do that now, you will get a page penalty from Google which is, basically, a disaster.
Reviews.co.uk's implementation of Review Rich Snippets is essentially idiot-proof, because our widget displays reviews AND contains the Review Rich Snippet markup in one self-contained unit. Therefore, you can't implement one without the other (in other words, if you install Review Snippets, you are displaying reviews on your site as well).
You just need to make sure you don't put it on every page, because that's also a no-no in Google's eyes. We'd recommend you install it on no more than 6 or 7 pages, and never on your home page (Google don't show organic star ratings for company home pages).
You can also sub-divide your reviews by tagging them with keywords, then use these tags to determine which reviews show in which widget (and therefore, on which page).
It's worth noting that these Review Rich Snippets pertain to your overall Company Reviews, rather than to any particular product. Therefore, bear this in mind when choosing which page you install them on. For example, your About Us page would seem to be an ideal choice because you're talking about your company and offering customer testimonials about it right in the same place. As we all know, Google loves relevance, and showing relevant reviews in this way is a good way to keep them happy.
If you want to get organic stars across your site, not just limited to 6 or 7 pages, then you can implement the product rich snippet. You'll also need to add the product review widget (which is separate) so that you fulfil Google's requirements for displaying reviews on your site.
The product rich snippet code is standard and reusable across all your product pages, but it does require a couple of tweaks. You need to add your product SKU into the code, unique to each page. This is automatically added when you're using one of our eCommerce plugins (like Shopify or Magento) so you don't need to take any action to get it working.
You can test the installation of product rich snippets using Google's Structured Data Testing Tool. Once you've added a URL to test into the tool, you'll get a product object in response (if everything's working).
If you want a bit more information on installing product rich snippets then you can look at our support article.
Find out more about reviews
Here's another article explaining how to get stars in Google search results.
If you'd like to find out more about how review collection can help your business, just sign up for a free trial or give us a call.