How to Mark up a Website for Organic Stars using Schema

Here is some advice for marking up for Organic Stars using Schema. Whilst it is not official Google policy, you should have reviews being gathered from an official source. There are quite a few of these as follows:

Google Certified Shops, which is a Google-owned free certification programme that they claim helps shoppers to discover online shops that consistently offer a great shopping experience.

StellaService, an independent company that Google licenses data from which claims to analyze the quality of customer service through the measurement of customer care, shipping, and returns.

Ratings from Google Consumer Surveys, a market research platform that Google uses to collect data for certain domains and businesses.

There are also over 30 independent licensed Seller rating partners around the world. You can read more on Google Support here https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2375474?hl=en

What are Organic Stars?

They are the stars that appear next to a natural search result. It normally shows the stars, a score our of five and then the number of ratings or votes it has taken to make up that score. According to Search Engine Land, this can deliver a 30% increase in CTR. http://searchengineland.com/how-to-get-a-30-increase-in-ctr-with-structured-markup-105830

There are quite a few good examples out there.

If you search for ‘Business Insurance’ on Google.co.uk you’ll see (at least) three results with Organic stars – all of which use the method I’ll recommend below. It takes you to these pages

http://www.simplybusiness.co.uk/insurance

http://www.axa.co.uk/insurance/business

https://www.hiscox.co.uk/business-insurance

There are three key ways to mark up for Organic stars

  1. Using service reviews against Organization Schema https://schema.org/Organization
  2. Using product reviews against Product Schema
  3. Using Local Business Schema for individual retail stores or outlets
What is Structured Data & How Does it Look Like

How to mark up for Organization Schema – simple format

The three business insurance examples all use ‘Insurance Agency Schema’ which is a child of Organization. In it’s simplest form you can add Organization Schema to the home page and show the aggregate review score on the home page. This should gain stars.

You need to mark up the following parameters:

  • Organisation Name
  • Address
  • Aggregate rating
  • Best Rating
  • Worst Rating
  • Rating Count

Even if all of these parameters are not all visible they need to be within the page code so the Googlebot can read them.

It should also show the source of the reviews, ideally with a link back to the full page of reviews on the reviews provider site.

The ‘badge’ on the Just the Flight page here http://www.justtheflight.co.uk/flight-search.html  is a great example of this in action. It gained stars within a week or so.

How to mark up for Organization Schema – fully integrated format

This is where the reviews from the review-provider are fed into a standalone page showing all of the reviews on your own site.

They would normally be found at www.yoururl.com/reviews/ or similar and have either a text-based link (saying reviews or customer reviews) or graphical link (like the badge example above) to this page off the home page.

On this page, the SERVICE reviews only are fed in from the review partner’s XML feed and marked up using Organization Schema. Do not feed product reviews into this page as it will confuse things and may not gain stars.

What are Rich Snippets and why are they so important

With a standalone page like this, there are a few additional parameters that need to be added to the Schema. So the mark up needs to contain:

  • Organisation Name
  • Address
  • Telephone number (optional)
  • Aggregate rating
  • Best Rating
  • Worst Rating
  • Rating Count

Reviewer name (you do need to add this to do everything you need for stars – even if it is shown as anonymous)

Once you add any new code, you just need to check against the against the Google Structured Data markup tool here: https://developers.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool/

If it passes with green ticks on this, then it is in theory eligible for Organic Stars.

Bear in mind that it will pass without all of the parameters above, but it may not get stars.

Product Schema

This again needs to utilize the XML feed to bring the reviews down to the individual SKU level.

Within this Schema, we need to show Product Reviews on this page for the product itself (not the Service reviews). The parameters needed are

  • Aggregate score
  • Review count
  • Best Rating
  • Worst Rating
  • Rating Count

And the source of the reviews – Ie the link back to be able to read all of the reviews on your reviews provider page.

Again, you also need to show who wrote the review, even if it is marked up as anonymous.

We have found that the best effects come when product reviews are fed into the page using XML outside of a tab and lower down the page. The examples where I have seen organic stars have all come from those where the reviews are displayed on a tab, or in full view of the page such as on these pages here http://www.eversure.com/cycle/  or http://www.eversure.com/camera/

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Local Business Schema

If you have individual branches/stores/outlets too, you can also mark up for Local Business Schema (https://schema.org/LocalBusiness)  This is a ‘child’ of Organisation Schema but can allow you to get stars for every branch address too.

If you search for Safestore Manchester, you will see an example of Local business Schema in action https://www.google.co.uk/?ion=1&espv=2#q=safestore%20manchester

All of their branches have organic stars too. These show the individual review score for each of the branches and again use Schema.

This is the same basic format as the Organisation Schema on the home page but would need to add in a few extra parameters to fully comply.

Where practical, it should show the following Schema Parameters

local business branch name

  • Address details
  • Aggregate rating
  • Best Rating
  • Worst Rating
  • Rating Count
  • Opening times

If applicable you could also add payment methods accepted too.

Summary

Organic stars done right are a powerful tool that should lift your CR significantly. But it only works if you follow the rules to the letter. If you try and short-cut it, you may fall foul of the system. If you do this inadvertently, you should get a warning from Google through your Search Console (or Webmaster Tools)

So, If in doubt, run it through the Structured data testing tool.

Do NOT try to game the system or you are in danger of being removed from the index altogether. An example of this would be to try and show ALL of your reviews against a single product.

This was what ‘broke’ the system previously. If you searched for ‘printer Inks’ most of the retailers showed all of the reviews for all of their products against a single product.

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So, for example, a single type of printer ink (eg hp301) on one site may have had 30,000 plus reviews which were gathered across the whole domain. This is now black hat.

If you carry out the same search now, NONE of the ink retailers have organic stars showing at all.

Google Seller Ratings

Seller ratings are an automated extension type that showcases advertisers with high ratings. Google gathers seller ratings from reputable sources that aggregate business reviews. Showing below text ads, seller ratings help people searching on Google to find businesses that offer quality service. Seller ratings can help advertisers improve ad performance and earn more qualified leads.
Google

You can check to see if a website has a seller rating by going to https://www.google.com/shopping/seller?q=example.com but replacing ‘example.com’ with the website address (don’t add any www prefix). For example, https://www.google.com/shopping/seller?q=affordablegolf.co.uk shows Google’s seller ratings for Affordable Golf site in the UK, and https://www.google.com/shopping/seller?q=homedepot.com shows Google’s seller ratings for Home Depot in the US.

Useful References:

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/use-google-seller-ratings-beat-competition/127795/

https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2375474?hl=en-GB

Author: Aliva Tripathy

Taking out time from a housewife life and contributing to AxiBook is a passion for me. I love doing this and gets mind filled with huge satisfaction with thoughtful feedbacks from you all. Do love caring for others and love sharing knowledge more than this.

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