Everyone knows that having rave reviews helps your business stand out on review sites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp, but embedding reviews on your own site can also improve SEO performance and increase conversion rates.
Before you rush out to do so, you should know about the right and wrong ways to incorporate reviews on your site.
We’ll go over the correct way to embed reviews on your site, the proper method to adding schema markup, which reviews you can embed, and how doing so will drive an increase in your traffic and conversions.
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Embedding Reviews Can Increase Online Conversions 17 Percent
Adding reviews to your site convinces online customers that your products or services are of high quality, which then leads to an increase in conversion rates.
In fact, one study revealed that reviews increased conversion rates by up to 17 percent simply because organic traffic from Google saw a site’s star rating in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Another study — this one by Northwestern University — found that displaying reviews can increase conversion by 270 percent.
Here’s the kicker: it doesn’t take many reviews to see an increase in conversion rates. Even a small increase of one to eight reviews can yield significant improvements to your online conversions.
None of this should come as a shock. We all read reviews every day before deciding where to eat, shop, and visit. Incorporating reviews on your own site gives web visitors the information they need to properly evaluate your business, and sends the right trust signals to people who are ready to convert.
Which Reviews Can You Markup with Schema?
Now that you know that reviews help drive conversion, you may be wondering: which reviews can you use schema markup for and embed on your site to make them more visible to Google?
You can put any third-party reviews on your site — these come from Yelp, Google, Facebook, etc. — but only reviews generated on your own website are allowed for markup.
This means that Yelp, Google, or Facebook reviews you feature on the site don’t count towards a higher search ranking for your site. Make no mistake; they’re great for your site and can contribute to conversions, but they don’t really matter for SEO.
This is because you technically don’t “own” those reviews. They’re published on another site, which makes them someone else’s content. Google doesn’t reward you with an SEO boost for using another site’s content.
So to get the most benefit out of embedding reviews on your site, you’ll need to actually generate reviews of your business locations from users and current customers. These reviews will provide the actual SEO you need for your domain. They’re eligible to be marked up with review schema and if you code everything right they’ll actually show up like this in Google search results:
So What Is Review Schema?
Review schema markup is best described as additional lines of code that annotate the review text on your site, making it more readable for search engines.
With this markup in your code, search engine robots that crawl your website can easily find multiple points of information, including text reviews left by customers and the average rating for your reviews
For reviews, you can create schema markup code that highlights the reviewer’s name, the star rating of the review, and a small snippet of the review itself. That code looks like this:
<div itemprop=”review” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Review”>
<span itemprop=”name”>Value purchase</span> –
by <span itemprop=”author”>Rexly</span>,
<meta itemprop=”datePublished” content=”2018-12-07″>December 7, 2018
<div itemprop=”reviewRating” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Rating”>
<meta itemprop=”worstRating” content = “1”/>
<span itemprop=”description”>It’s a great banana stand, but it could be bigger.</span>
How Review Schema Shows Up in Search
Tagging your reviews and ratings with schema markup tells Google that those reviews should be showcased when your site appears in SERPs. You’ll eventually see an overall star rating and the number of reviews received underneath the page title and URL, which again looks like this:
That means that in addition to marking up individual reviews, you’ll also need to add code to show how these individual reviews add up. This is how this “aggregate” code will look on your site:
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Product”>
<img itemprop=”image” src=”a-sample-pic.jpg” alt=”A Sample Image”/>
<span itemprop=”name”>Our Amazing Banana Stand</span>
out of <span itemprop=”bestRating”>100</span>
based on <span itemprop=”ratingCount”>24</span> user ratings
<div itemprop=”offers” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/AggregateOffer”>
to <span itemprop=”highPrice”>$777,777</span>
from <span itemprop=”offerCount”>8</span> sellers
<div itemprop=”offers” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Offer”>
<a itemprop=”url” href=”reviewtrackers.com/banana-stand”>
The ReviewTrackers Banana Stand – $1</a>
<div itemprop=”offers” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Offer”>
<a itemprop=”url” href=”reviewtrackers.com/saturn-v-rocket”>
The ReviewTrackers Saturn V Rocket – $99</a>
Pages displayed this way in SERPs can be more attractive to potential customers. It also leads to a higher click-through rate, a metric used to show the number of clicks garnered through a specific link. A large volume of reviews and a favorable rating shows that people trust your brand and you deliver a good experience to them.
How to Implement Review Schema on Your Website
Don’t be intimidated by complexity of the code above. Anyone can create review schema through three methods, two of which don’t even require you to write any code.
Any option is viable, and it’s all about the amount of time (and coding skill) available at your disposal. Here are the three ways to add review schema to your website:
- Use Google.
- Get a review widget or plugin.
Review Schema: Do It Yourself
Those with prior coding knowledge can type up their own custom schema markup code. A great source for all of the vocabulary required for the code is the “Review” section of Schema.org. The page also features a few samples of code to give you an idea of how it should look on your site.
Schema.org isn’t just some ordinary website made by coding enthusiasts. It was created out of a collaboration between Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Yandex to standardize the structured date developers use on their websites.
Review Schema: Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper for Local Businesses
If you’re not so code-savvy and don’t want to create this code from scratch by yourself, there are a few tools available that make it easy for you to mark up your review content with schema code.
One example is Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper, an online tool you can use to generate schema code for the content on your site. These six steps will allow you to get Google to write your Schema code for you:
- Go to Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.
- Select your data type. Most businesses should pick the “Local Business” option and restaurants should pick the “Restaurants” option.
- Enter your domain. Enter the URL of the page that has the reviews you want to markup or copy and paste the page’s full HTML code.
- Highlight review text and tag the data. The next section will then show the page you requested next to a smaller window with multiple attribute fields. For reviews, this means that you can tag the reviewer’s name, the date of the review, the text, and the rating. You can also showcase your site’s best and worst reviews. When you’re done, click the “Create HTML” button on the top-right corner of the page.
- Get the markup code. A new window will appear next to the web page that shows the markup code with the data you tagged. You can copy and paste it underneath the “head” section of your site’s HTML code.
- Test your markup. You can double-check the accuracy of the code on your page by pasting its URL on Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. It will list the items that appear on the page based on the markup code. If there are warnings and errors you might need to make a few changes. Otherwise, you’re good to go.
Review Schema: Using a Review Widget or Plugin
Perhaps one of the quickest ways to set up reviews for your site is by getting a review widget or plugin that was created by someone else. A quick search on Google reveals a plethora of review options for your website. (Below is a picture of ReviewTrackers’ Amplify widget).
WordPress, which continues to be a popular choice for custom websites, also has its own catalog of plugins. There are 216 pages alone just for review plugins.
Make sure you do your due diligence before choosing the right widget or plugin for your website. Check to see that it’s compatible with your site’s code and that it offers everything that you need.
Most importantly, remember that only first-party reviews are allowed to be marked up as review schema. Google, Facebook, and Yelp reviews on a business website are great, but they can’t count as part of your star ratings on SERPs.
Once you’ve installed the plugin and are showing reviews on your page, test each page with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool just to make sure the plugin is correctly marking up your code. Google will flag any schema markup that isn’t working properly.
Search Engines Love Schema, Reviews, and Fresh Content
Search engines like Google love schema markup because it makes it easier for them to read your website, make sense of it, and be confident they’re showing the right information to people searching for content.
Schema allows you to speak Google’s language. Literally.
In addition to the benefits of schema, incorporating reviews on your website offers an SEO boost in three ways.
More Reviews = Fresh Content
When someone leaves a review on that page, Google views it as fresh content, which means that the page is updated frequently. Constant activity, fresh user-generated content, and updates to a page are positive ranking factors for Google. This can lead to the page ranking higher in SERPs.
More Reviews = More Keywords
Specific keywords in the review text can also make rank the page higher for those terms. For instance, a reviewer might highlight the pancakes in their review of a local restaurant. If you add the review text in the schema markup code, then Google will take note of the term for future search queries having to do with pancakes.
Additional praise from other reviewers for the pancakes will boost the page’s ranking, and ultimately increase the number of potential customers.
Review Volume Is a Significant SEO Factor.
You can potentially see an SEO boost from embedding just one new review on your site, but one report revealed that a volume increase of 8-100 reviews also leads to higher natural search traffic.
More reviews bring more traffic. More traffic means a higher number of customers, which can yield more reviews and a potentially higher review rating for your site. It all comes full circle, and it’s all thanks to review schema.