Review snippets are the best way to show user ratings and author reviews. You can show aggregated review star rating in google search results with ease. This will improve authority of your pages and click-through rate.
Wi-Fi, Network and Internet users like to know about reviews from fellow visitors. You can show rich snippet stars, that people believe are proof of authority and popularity. WordPress users can easily make this happen with little piece of code.
What are Rich Star Snippets in Google
A rich snippet is additional information shown below google search result for some websites. This includes stars and other summary collected from reviews or ratings. For a recipe site, you may see different information compared to a tech product.
First you need to do something called "schema markup" and add "structured data" to your site to be able to show stars in google search results. This can be done using "pieces of code" readily available on the official documentation page of schema.
A review snippet is a short byline of information for a review or rating from a review blog or app or site. Aggregated star rating is shown as an average of the combined rating scores from many visitor votes or reviewers. Sometimes, an author of a post or reviewer, reviews a product or book or movies and gives his own ratings.
Requirements of Star Ratings in Google Search Results
You can see "name" and "description" of the review, based on Google algorithm. A rating is generally shown on a scale of 1 to 5. These review snippets appear in rich snippet results or knowledge panels. Only certain schema types will be allowed to show rating in 2020 as per Google's review snippet guidelines.
These include the following –
- Local business
- Software App
Google also supports reviews for the following schema.org types (and their subtypes):
In this searchengineland post, it is clear that Google stopped showing review stars for certain schema types. It now showing rich review snippets for set of schema types, non "self-serving" reviews and reviews that have name property in the schema markup.
In another googleblog post, it is made clear what are meant by "self-serving" reviews. In Google's eyes, it is believed that these type of reviews are not meant for users. Therefore, such rich snippets are not allowed for LocalBusiness and Organization.
Earlier it was possible to show star ratings, by directly installing a plugin in WordPress. Now, this is not possible with those type of plugins. Only a few support these kind of rich review snippets in Google.
Two Important Conditions
- Don't show star ratings or reviews on the home page. Better provide these reviews on a specific post showing a product or service or recipe or how-to etc kind of schema.
- Make sure the review schema code is added at the top of your article code. This equates to code coming before other schema code like article, blog posting etc. You can make use of a plugin to add the code in the header.
In this guide, we are going to show how to display google rich snippets related to ratings and reviews for posts and pages.
How to Show Aggregate Star Ratings in Google
- Install the kk Star Ratings plugin.
- Install the Schema & Structured Data for WP & AMP plugin.
- Create a new Schema.
- Structured Data > Schema Types > Add Schema Type
- Select the required schema type as per Google requirements.
- Next, choose the Placement condition or do it later.
- The created schema is shown as a list.
- Edit the schema for further modification.
- Modify Schema output to your requirement.
- Assign the mandatory fields and select the optional fields to your requirement.
- For Aggregate Rating property, you can assign custom field.
- Select "kksr ratings" as the value.
Note: At least give one vote or rating, to prevent warnings in Google Structured Data Testing Tool.
How to Show Reviews in Google Search
- Install the MTS plugin.
- Install the WP Review Pro plugin.
- Enable the "Review" settings in Screen options of your WordPress post.
Note: They are enabled by default. If not so, do so.
- In the Review box, enter the required properties.
- For "Reviewed Item Schema" field select "Product". (This is an eg. You can select other Schema as per Google requirement and provided properties as per WP Review Pro plugin)
- Select Rating Schema as "Author Review Rating".
- Fill the other mandatory and optional properties.
How to show Google Rich Snippets using Plugin
- Install the Schema Pro plugin.
- Settings > Schema Pro
- Add new Schema.
- Select the Schema Type you need to add.
- Add And or Or Rule for Target pages.
Note: You can also do this later.
- Edit the created Schema.
- Enable it on the required criteria. These include – All Singulars, Front page, All Posts, All Pages, Specific Pages/Posts/Archives etc. If you have other themes and plugins, options like All Modular Content for Thesis, All Affiliate links, All Ads, All Groups etc are also visible.
- Using Add, Or rules, you can exclude posts, category, archives etc from target criterion.
- Assign the properties the required values.
- These include – Site Title, Tag line, Site URL, Title, Content, Excerpt, Permalink, Author name, Author first name, Author last name, Publish Date, Last Modify Date, Fixed Text, New Custom Field, Select other Custom Fields Here.
- For eg, for Software Application schema, you have the following mandatory properties. I assigned the following values for a download manager review.
- Name – Title
- Operating System – Fixed Text – Windows
- Category – Select other Custom Fields Here – yoast wpseo primary category
- Price – Select other Custom Fields Here – Price (custom field created by me)
- Currency – Fixed Option – US Dollar
- Rating – Select other Custom Fields Here – kksr avg
- Review Count – Select other Custom Fields Here – kksr ratings
The above methods work most of the time as of writing this article. I had good experience with WP Review Pro plugin (premium) as I was able to show aggregated star ratings and review snippets in Google.
This was after Google banned most of the rich review snippets displayed by different plugins. This plugin allows for different schema like Product, Software Application, Recipe etc. You can also assign custom fields.
I also tried "Schema & Structured Data"(free) plugin by Magazine3. This was also giving the desired results of ratings and review rich snippet results. But I saw drop in ranking and traffic, after I installed this plugin on one of my sites. I am not sure of the exact reason.
Both the above plugins, seem to be resource intensive and cause performance issues to WordPress dashboard. Also, if you use an older version of these plugins, it can slow down the wordpress panel.
Recently I bought Schema Pro (premium) and checked its usage. But I did not get immediate results of star ratings in Google as for now. I'm waiting few more days, to check if it works or not.
Leave your comments about the above mentioned methods on google star ratings in search results.