We talk about stars in Google a lot here at Reviews.io, and for good reason - they can save you money on ads, increase your CTR, help you rise above your competitors and much more besides. The question, though, is how do you get them? Today we're going to show you exactly how to get organic stars in Google using clever Review Rich Snippets.
What are organic stars
Simply put, organic stars are easy stars. Unlike displaying stars in Adwords - for which you have to qualify by collecting over 100 reviews in a 12 month period with a Licensed Review Partner - organic stars have fewer rules. As long as you have collected at least one review, you're eligible for organic stars in Google. But how do you get them to show?
How to get organic stars in Google with Review Rich Snippets
The key to getting Google to display your reviews is through the use of Rich Snippets. Without them, reviews on your site will remain unseen in your Google listings.
What are Review Rich Snippets?
'Rich snippets' is a term used to describe the structured data which can be added to your web page's HTML. Rich snippets allow a search engine - in this case, Google - to "read" your webpage and understand the type of information you're presenting. This can be done with all sorts of things, including authors, recipes and events - you've probably seen these types of listings in the SERPs yourself. Review Rich Snippets are used on your website to tell Google that the content featured there is review-based. They're a specific type of snippet and contain review-specific information such as customer name, star rating and a review comment. Google reads this content from your HTML and uses it to generate organic stars Google will then take this information and display it underneath your company or product name in the form of star-ratings.
Google will generally crawl your site every 7-14 days, so if you implement Review Rich Snippets, they will soon be detected by Google, making this a pretty quick and easy win.
Setting up Review Rich Snippets
There are two ways to go about setting up Review Rich Snippets:
- Manually editing your HTML
- Using a Review Platform
If you have a team of developers on hand, it may be relatively easy for you to implement Review Rich Snippets yourself. However, what's often easy, less time-consuming and provides a cleaner, more polished result is using widgets provided by Review Platforms. The widgets will do all the work for you and often be stylised to make your reviews look pretty too.
It's worth noting that these Review Rich Snippets pertain to your overall Company Reviews, rather than to any particular product - you'll need Product Rich Snippets for that. Bear this in mind when choosing which page you install them on. The About Us page is usually a good choice because you're talking about your company and offering customer testimonials about it in the same place. As we all know, Google loves relevance, so showing relevant reviews in this way is likely to pay off.
Review Rich Snippets rules
Getting organic stars in Google isn't, unfortunately, as simple as adding Review Rich Snippets to every page. Do this, and you may be penalised by Google. To avoid penalties, you should always abide by the following rules:-
- Ensure you display reviews on the same page as your Review Rich Snippet
- Install on no more than 6-7 individual pages
- Don't put Review Rich Snippets on your Home Page
Previously, 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 could be absolutely devastating for your site.
How to test your Review Rich Snippets
Reviews Rich Snippets are only going to work if Google can read them. We always recommend testing your Rich Snippets to ensure you reap their benefits. Testing is relatively easy to carry out in two ways.
Check Your Code One reason rich snippets won't work is if there are errors on your page. Go into your code, and check it's all correct and in order. One little oversight is not closing your code, which is so easily resolved. You can do so by putting your URL into WC3 Validator and it'll list any bugs which need fixing.
Google Testing Tool Lastly, one great way to check your rich snippets are working correctly (after following the steps above) is to check it using Google's Structured Data Testing Tool. All you need to do is insert your webpage URL you have the rich snippet on and check it.
Review Rich Snippets are something we'd encourage everyone to take advantage of. Displaying reviews in Google has so many benefits, and Organic Stars are a tool everyone can get started with right away.