You’ve probably noticed in Google searches, sometimes results appear with yellow star ratings, revealing how highly customers of the business or product have reviewed it online. This can be a great marketing tool, kind of like an instant positive referral from your customers to someone who’s searching for what you offer. It’s a simple process to get those star ratings in search results for your services, and doing so can help boost your online reputation and encourage search users to choose your link to click.
Starred reviews also show up on your business’s Google My Business page when it appears in the top local search results shown with Google Maps, but that happens without you having to do anything. Those are aggregated from the reviews your customers have left on Google and typically are about your business as a whole.
The star ratings that appear alongside some results further down the page, like the example below, are the ones you can enable on your site’s service pages, and describe specialized topics like services and products. Sometimes, part of an actual review shows up with these ratings, which Google calls a rich snippet. They can apply to books, movies, music, products, services and local businesses.
Most small businesses don’t have star ratings like this appear when their services show up in organic search results, so if you can put the mechanisms in place to get those positive reviews to show up for your business, it’ll really help you stand above the competition.
The same way that customers check review ratings on products they’re interested in buying, the star rating offers users a glimpse at others’ experiences with your services. This builds trust with potential clients and enhances your trustworthiness online. It doesn’t hurt that it also increases the likelihood that someone will click your link instead of someone else’s in the search results.
There are a few things you can do to get a star rating in your Google results.
- Collect unique reviews. That means reviews that don’t appear on other websites like Yelp or Google. Reviews from external sources are no longer considered in star ratings, although they once were. If you don’t have a solid review strategy or aren’t asking your customers for reviews, do that first.
- The reviews have to be about a specific service or product you offer, not about your business as a whole. To distinguish this, Google relies on the review mentioning the specific service, and on the location of the reviews on your site. To show up in star rating form, the reviews should be on the page of the service they describe, not on your main page or elsewhere.
- There’s some coding to put in place on your site’s service pages once you have the reviews in place, to let Google know that these pages contain reviews and should be assessed as such. It’s called a schema markup or structured data, and the kind you need to add is particularly for reviews. If that’s not something you’re comfortable with doing, we’d be happy to help, and you can contact us online anytime.
After you’ve taken these steps toward getting star ratings to appear in search results for your business, it’s also important to continue collecting reviews, keep your site content and information about your services updated, and in general, maintain and build on the authority and trustworthiness of your site. These things help you appear higher in search results to begin with, and improving these assets also helps signal to Google that your reviews are valid and worth displaying.
In the end, it’s hard to guarantee that star ratings will appear on your search results, because that’s up to Google. But typically, after a few days, you’ll start to see the stars showing up in response to the changes you’ve made.
If you have questions about the best ways to optimize your search results, your website, or your reviews, please feel free to get in touch with Form + Function for a consult — we’re always excited to talk with you about ways we can support your business online.