When a small business needs to show up in specific locally-focused search queries, everyone agrees that strong and consistent Name, Address, Phone (NAP) data is important. Beyond making sure the search engines know where you are, making sure the search engines know you’re a legitimate, customer-focused business is extremely important. Verified 3rd party validation via reviews is a great way to do this – obtaining reviews at sites like Google Maps, Yelp, Yellowpages, etc.
Well, there’s more you can do. Customer reviews and testimonials on your own website can help lend legitimacy to your business, reassure potential customers as to the quality of your product or service, AND give the search engines signals as to your reliability in your customer’s eyes.
So – reviews are always a great thing. Reviews that Google can recognize as reviews and ratings are even better – enter Schema.org markup for reviews. By marking up ratings and reviews on your website – you’re ensuring that google understands that the content is a review and how many stars that review received. Rating in numbers is key in this understanding – computers cant really take words like “love” and “excellent” and convert them into a number an algorithm can understand and then use that number to rank you against your competition. So – Schema markup not only can define the text of a review – but it defines the number you’re ranked out of 5 stars.
Here are some examples of review markup. Keep in mind the rules for marking up reviews on your website:
- If you have more than one review on the page – make sure you use the aggregate rating schema along with the review schema
- You have to have a rating on each review – out of 5
- The reviews have to appear on the page where the rating is. You cannot mark up the rating on the homepage and then link to the page with the reviews.
- Use every line item in the review schema.
Here is an example of marking up your aggregate rating. Replace the example content with your own content and paste into your web pages.
<div itemprop="aggregateRating" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/AggregateRating"> Rated <span itemprop="ratingValue">3.5</span>/5 based on <span itemprop="reviewCount">11</span> customer reviews </div>
Here is an example of marking up an individual review – remember, individual reviews need to have a rating – and the ratings of the review on this page MUST add up to the totals in the aggregate review. For example – if you mark up a 3*, 4* and 5* review – your aggregate rating would be 4 of 5 – you cannot say your aggregate rating is 5* if it is not supported but the content ON THAT PAGE!
<div itemprop="review" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Review"> <span itemprop="name">Not a happy camper</span> - by <span itemprop="author">Ellie</span>, <meta itemprop="datePublished" content="2011-04-01">April 1, 2011 <div itemprop="reviewRating" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Rating"> <meta itemprop="worstRating" content = "1"> <span itemprop="ratingValue">1</span>/ <span itemprop="bestRating">5</span>stars </div> <span itemprop="description">The lamp burned out and now I have to replace it. </span> </div>
There are a few plugins for WordPess that we like to use to markup testimonials and reviews. I highly recommend Testimonial Basics – this lets you add reviews to your pages and markup each review as well as aggregate rating. Schema-Creator by Raven Tools also works incredibly well and is a great asset.