Have you ever done a search for attorneys in your area and found that your competitors have five golden review stars gleaming right below their link in the results?
According to a recent study we conducted, review stars can have a big impact on clicks, and while that study is focused on local pack results, our experience suggests that the same is true with organic. The good news is that you can do the same thing! Here, I’ll outline the steps you need to take to get your own review stars displayed in Google’s search results.
First, Google’s Rules for Schema Reviews
Google only wants to display stars for pages that contain legitimate reviews of a product or service. Google is aware of the CTR benefit of having review stars in search results and so they know that people will abuse the feature to gain a marketing advantage.
To avoid that gaming, Google has created a set of rules for implementing schema on your website, the most notable being:
- Make sure the reviews and ratings you mark up are readily available to users from the marked-up page. It should be immediately obvious to users that the page has review or ratings content.
- Reviews must allow for customers to express both positive and negative sentiments. They may not be vetted by the business or restricted by the content provider based on the positive/negative sentiment of the review before submission to Google.
- Only include reviews that have been directly produced by your site, not reviews from third- party sites or syndicated reviews.
These rules are reasonable and we suggest that you do your best to follow them when collecting reviews for your pages.
That being said, we have seen many cases where these guidelines are not followed but reviews stars are displayed in search results anyhow.
3 Steps for Getting Review Stars Displayed in Google
Ready to get started? Here’s how to get reviews stars in Google for your law firm in three easy steps:
Step 1: Get Some Reviews
Ok, so the fact that you actually need some reviews available to make this happen should go without saying, but there are a few important things to remember here when gathering your reviews:
- The reviews should be unique. You can’t just grab reviews that are already published on Google or Avvo and then re-publish them on your site. Instead, take a loss on asking clients to review you on Google, and ask a few of them to send one directly to you to be published on your website.
- Use a different one on each page. When you ask your clients to give you a review, keep in mind what practice area they hired you for. Try to get a review for each practice area, since the reviews will need to be specific to each page that they’re placed on.
- Don’t try to do this on the homepage. While there’s nothing wrong with displaying reviews on the homepage, you won’t be able to get the review stars to show up on Google.
- Get all relevant information. You’ll need the review text, the name of the reviewer, the date that the person reviewed you, and a number of stars out of five (one-star reviews usually aren’t the best candidates for this project).
Step 2: Add Reviews to Your Site Using Schema Markup
Now let’s head over to the appropriate practice area page in your CMS (here, I’ll assume you’re using WordPress) and paste the code on the page wherever you’d like it to appear. After that, we have to use schema markup to denote it as a review to Google. But what on Earth is schema?
Schema (or more accurately, schemas) are a set of “types,” as stated by schema.org. They are really just ways to define specific things online, such as reviews, business information, or attributes of a celebrity. Each schema can be defined by using the proper schema markup.
To add schema markup to your page, you’ll need to switch from the visual editor to the text editor in WordPress.
There are three versions of schema markup available, which are useful in different scenarios. Here, we’ll be using the microdata version. This is how we’ll format our review:
Without going into too much technical detail, all you really need to understand here is that tags (which are bits of code between < and >) that are marked with itemscope or itemprop are the schema markup elements.
Step 3: Let Google Know About The New Reviews
You’ll want Google to take notice of the changes you’ve made as quickly as possible, so if you’ve verified your website in Google Search Console, let’s head over there now. In the left sidebar, you’ll want to click on Crawl > Fetch as Google. Now fill in the url of your page and click “Fetch and Render.”
When it’s finished, you’ll see a “Request indexing” button right beside the status column by your new entry. Click that and follow the instructions, and then you’re done!
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