Google displays star ratings against search results, but only for companies who collect product reviews and also include the relevant Google-friendly code on their product/service pages. You can take advantage of Rich Results and the benefits they bring.

What are Rich Snippets and what do they do? 

What are they?

Rich snippets are a term used to describe structured data which can be added to your webpages HTML. This allows for a search engine (e.g Google) to read or ‘Crawl’ your webpage and understand the information you present. It must be noted that review rich snippets are just one type of rich snippet, and that is what our widget allows for.

Once google has determined the content of your page by crawling the data, it will then be able to display this in Search Engine Results Pages (or SERP’s for short). Review data, will benefit your product pages through Rich Snippet data. 

This allows for your product pages to increase visibility in SERPs, giving you the competitive edge over a competitor who may be selling the same product.

What are the benefits of Rich Snippet Results?

Rich snippets allow consumers to educate themselves more quickly by viewing data of the particular product, without actually clicking onto your product page. They will be able to instantly see the overall rating of the product, and the amount of reviews that particular product has. This also gives the consumer the ability to assess whether your product/service is right for them. 

By accessing this information immediately in the SERP’s before clicking on the product, when the consumer does click on your product page, they are more likely to stay on site for longer, resulting in an increase in conversion. 

Ultimately, product review rich snippet data, has been found to increase click through rate by 10-30%. 

In a nutshell, it is specific structured data on your product pages that gives information to search engines (Google), about that particular product’s rating, and review count, for the consumer to view pre-clicking onto the particular product pages. Just have a think… are you more likely to click on a product with 10 reviews, and an average rating of 4.5, or the exact same product from another business, with no reviews and no ratings at all? Your company needs to stay competitive through rich snippet data by outclassing your competition though all aspects of the customer journey.

How Do I Enable Product Rich Snippets?

The rich snippets widgets are an easy way to display rich snippets, on your product pages across your website. Below is a simple guide to do so, no matter what E-Commerce platform or independent website you have. 

  1. Begin collecting product reviews for your products or services, for a guide to set this up and begin collection, see here. It is vital that you collect reviews for your particular product or service that you would like to display rich snippets data for to enable this function.  

  2. Once you have at least 1 product review of your product/service, you will need to install one of our product review widgets. My personal recommendation would be our newest product elements widget, available here. It should also be noted that this widget includes Rich Snippet Data, so you can skip step 5. It is important to note that you need to use your website’s code, or programming language, to include the SKU of the product/service in the code. 

  3. Once you have selected your widget that you would like to display your reviews on your product pages, install it by following the instructions on the widget page in your dashboard. 

  4. You will need to ensure that you have no other rich snippet review markup (or JSON-LD) already installed onto your product pages. Adding this code alongside existing markup data, may cause conflict. 

  5. If the widget does not have rich snippet data included (which is advised on the widget page), then you will need to also include our rich snippet code, available here

  6. Once you have installed the widget and the rich snippet code (if required), the next time that Google crawls your page, rich snippets will be enabled on SERPs.

Why can’t I display rich snippets on pages other than my product pages?

Google has announced that changes certain aspects of Review Rich Snippets for company reviews. Review rich snippets are the organic stars that you've been seeing across Google for certain results in the SERPS.

Here's the critical part of Google's Change to Displaying Rich Snippets:

Self-serving reviews aren't allowed for LocalBusiness and Organization Reviews that can be perceived as “self-serving” aren't in the best interest of users. We call reviews “self-serving” when a review about entity A is placed on the website of entity A - either directly in their markup or via an embedded 3rd party widget. That’s why, with this change, we’re not going to display review rich results anymore for the schema types LocalBusiness and Organization (and their subtypes) in cases when the entity being reviewed controls the reviews themselves.

To differentiate between the item types in this list, the "name" parameter is now required in structured markup:

Add the name of the item that's being reviewed With this update, the name property is now required, so you'll want to make sure that you specify the name of the item that's being reviewed.

Google have an FAQ available on their blog post:

What if I'm using a third-party widget to display reviews about my business?

Google Search won't display review snippets for those pages. Embedding a third-party widget is seen as controlling the process of linking reviews.

Do I need to remove self-serving reviews from LocalBusiness or Organization?

No, you don't need to remove them. Google Search just won't display review snippets for those pages anymore.

Will I get a manual action for having self-serving reviews on my site?

You won’t get a manual action just for this. However, we recommend making sure that your structured data matches our guidelines.

Does this update affect my Google My Business listing/profile?

No, Google My Business is not affected as this update only relates to organic Search.

Will sites that gather reviews about other organizations be affected?

No, that’s unchanged. Sites that gather reviews can show up with review snippets (for their reviews of other organizations) in search results.

Does this update apply to AggregateRating too?

Yes. It applies to Review and AggregateRating.

Final note

So how does this affect businesses displaying review widgets on their site. Well, it means that less weight is being placed on company reviews in the organic search results (although of course these changes do not affect Seller Ratings in paid results), but far more weight is going to be placed on product reviews in the search results.

This means that all companies who are not currently collecting product reviews should now switch their strategy to do so. It also means that from a search point of view, the playing field has become a bit more level. There'll be fewer stars in organic results, but those that remain will have more value.

If any client is concerned about these changes, please just get in contact with us and we'll talk you through it.

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