How to Get Your Review’s Star Ratings in Google Search Results

Star ratings in search results

I always see your star ratings in Google and would love to able to do that for my reviews too. πŸ˜€
Laura

Hi Laura! πŸ™‚

This is possible because of Schema markup. Schema markup is used to better convey to search engines what a certain post or page is about. Text and images can only help them so much. But you can use Schema markup to help tell Google and other search engines exactly what’s happening on that page.

One small part of Schema is the ability to convey to Google that your post is a review with a rating associated with it. This enables Google to then display the star rating.

Here’s what the basic format has to look like:

<div itemprop="review" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Review">
	<meta itemprop="author" content="Ashley">
	
	<strong itemprop="itemreviewed">Sweet Peril</strong> by <a href="https://www.nosegraze.com/reviews/authors/wendy-higgins/">Wendy Higgins</a><br />
	
	Other book info can go in here...
	
	<strong>My Rating:</strong> <span itemprop="reviewRating" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Rating"><img src="https://www.nosegraze.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/three-stars.png" alt="3 Stars" class="stars" /><meta itemprop="ratingValue" content="3" /><meta itemprop="bestRating" content="5" /></span>
</div>

Your review can go down here...

So let’s break this down. There are five required fields:

  • The overall declaration of a “Review”.
  • The name of the person writing the review.
  • The name of the item being reviewed.
  • Your numerical rating.
  • The maximum/best numerical rating.

You have to wrap all your book information in a “review”, as designated by Schema. That’s what the itemprop="review" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Review" business is all about.

Then, you have to designate a reviewer. You can put this in meta tags like this: <meta itemprop="author" content="Your name here">. It won’t show up anywhere on the page, but it must be included.

The next important piece of information is the item being reviewed. You can do this by wrapping the title of the book in these tags: <strong itemprop="itemreviewed">Sweet Peril</strong> They don’t have to be strong tags, they can be anything (span, div, etc.). You just need to have itemprop="itemreviewed" in there to specify that this is the item you are reviewing.

Then, finally, the most important part: the rating. Here’s what this chunk of text looks like:

<span itemprop="reviewRating" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Rating">
	<img src="https://www.nosegraze.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/three-stars.png" alt="3 Stars" class="stars" />
	<meta itemprop="ratingValue" content="3" />
	<meta itemprop="bestRating" content="5" />
</span>

You need to wrap the whole thing in these tags: <span itemprop="reviewRating" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Rating"> After that, you can insert your rating image or text, then afterwards you provide a code version of that rating like this:

<meta itemprop="ratingValue" content="3" /><meta itemprop="bestRating" content="5" />

This tells Google that you rated the book “3” out of a maximum of “5” stars.

Test It!

Want to see if you’ve done it correctly? You can insert your URL into Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to see if you’ve inserted the markup correctly. If you have, it will look like this:

Google Structured Data Testing Tool Results for Ratings

Limitations

It took me a long time to figure this out, but you cannot nest certain types of markups. For example, Schema has markups for restaurants, people, reviews, articles, events, products, etc. Sometimes blog themes will add in “article” markup into the theme. However, if you have article markup, you cannot put review markup inside of that. It will throw an error and won’t work (learned after hours and hours of awful debugging… ugh).

So basically what I’m saying is that if your theme already adds in some kind of Schema markup, your review markup may not work.

Tip: Review schema markup comes with the Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin!

Does all this seem super daunting to you? Well the Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin comes with a review Schema markup option so that you can have all this embedded for you automatically!

Learn how to enable it

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96 comments

    1. Hahaha πŸ˜€

      Yes this should work on Blogger as long as you do it correctly. πŸ™‚ Schema markup can be a very finnicky thing. It took me a long time to get mine set up because the documentation on the Schema.org site isn’t clear. I didn’t realize that the reviewer’s name was required or that you can’t nest certain markups.. It’s all very confusing!

  1. This is really cool — and super easy! Thanks so much for this tip, Ashley. I’ve always wondered how review star ratings show up in Google searches and now I know! And I know I’ve seen the schema markup thing in the UBB settings, but I hadn’t had the time to look into it and see what it was about. Now you’ve taught me, and I’ve enabled it immediately. Woot! πŸ˜€

    Kelley (Oh, the Books!) recently posted: ARC Review | Salvage by Alexandra Duncan
  2. Great tutorial! πŸ™‚

    I didn’t know Schema Markup became so extensive and precise, with so many sections and details! Really good to know, thank you!
    SEO went a long way from the ten-thousand-“keywords”-in-metatag strategy πŸ˜€

  3. Ooh, I was just about to ask if your Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin did this for me. I remembered enabling the schema but I’d sot of forgotten all about it to tell the truth.

    And thank you so much for this bit of information: You can test to see if the schema markup is working by putting the URL of one of your blog posts into the Google Structured Data Testing tool. Only do this after you have properly configured it using the instructions above. If the tool shows the star ratings in the preview, that means it’s working.

    That’s so helpful πŸ˜€ I love your plugin and would recommend it to anyone from a novice like myself to an advanced wordpress book blogger who knows plenty of html. It will make your job so much easier.

    Jamie Pinson recently posted: World’s Greatest Dad – Edward Lorn
  4. Awesome! All right, I have a question though >.>. So I don’t use the rating shortcode in my book info since I put it at the end instead. I put the rating in the enabled column so it goes but it doesn’t seem to be working on the google test, is this because I don’t have anything in the Rating box?

  5. I already have article markup built into my blogger template but I did something similar only with different markup. It not only validated it actually worked. For months I had star ratings in search results. Then it was like google figured it out somehow and stopped it. I didn’t change anything, they just stopped showing up.

    Personally I thought it was because I can’t join google+ and “verify” authorship. My workaround was not the way they intended SERPs to work. :>(

    1. Yours won’t work because you have something (possibly a plugin) adding different schema markup to your site already (specifically the “blog” schema). But I’ve found that the rating schema will not work nested inside blog schema.

        1. Do you have some kind of “AddThis Sharing Button” plugin? Here’s the Tweak Me code:

          <html lang="en-US" class="no-js">

          And here’s what yours is being turned into:

          <html lang="en-US" xmlns:fb="http://ogp.me/ns/fb#" xmlns:addthis="http://www.addthis.com/help/api-spec"  xmlns:og="http://opengraphprotocol.org/schema/" xmlns:fb="http://www.facebook.com/2008/fbml" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Blog" class="no-js">

          (One of the things in there is this link: http://www.addthis.com/help/api-spec

            1. It depends, I guess. Usually the main appeal of an SEO plugin is the ability to easily add/change the following:

              Meta keywords (sometimes you can add them with SEO plugins). But, they are 100% useless anyway.
              Meta descriptions. But these are about 95% useless (Google only tends to use them with homepages).
              Meta titles – These can be useful to edit (Google actually uses them), but if you set your post title to what you want the meta title to be in the first place, then it’s useless.

              However, there are a few extra features in some SEO plugins (like Yoast’s) that are also beneficial. For example:

              The ability to disable author/date archives.

              If you have ONE blogger/poster on your blog, your author and date archives both look identical to the homepage. That means you have the same exact content duplicated across three different URLs. Google doesn’t like duplicate content, so removing those can be beneficial.

              Then there are a few other small features too. But I guess each individual has to weigh the pros and cons for him/herself.

              1. I have now de-activated a few plugins, but still, there are no star-ratings showing up when I google my reviews. I wonder if maybe Jetpack may be blocking something as well. I use jet-pack for my e-mail subscriptions, though, and I don’t know how to use an alternative πŸ™

                Thanks for all your help, Ashley!

    1. I don’t think it will work on your blog because your theme adds “BlogPosting” markup ( http://schema.org/BlogPosting ). When I was doing this for my own site I found that the star ratings didn’t work if they were inside that BlogPosting schema.

  6. I am trying to implement schema rating for the first time in my page.
    I have added all properties, link to the image on your site(stars rating) and when I search on google I see “5 stars” text but not 5 stars image.

    For example

    Some Game Name
    5 stars Game description goes here

    Do you have any idea how to fix this?

      1. Yes, but when I test it I see the message:

        This will show clips from the site. The reason we can not display text with your website is that it depends on the query text that the user types.

        I see that message each time when using schema markup, but also I can see all data below, for example

        Item
        type: http://schema.org/creativework
        property:
        name

        Here is the screenshot:

        http://prntscr.com/4s1ot4

        1. But do you or do you not see stars, like in this screenshot? http://www.nosegraze.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/google-rich-snippets-tool.png

          If you don’t see the stars there then you haven’t set it up correctly.

          It could also be a nesting issue since it looks like you have the CreativeWork schema already on there, which could possibly clash with the rating schema. At the end of my post I explained that there are certain limitations if you try to nest these markups.

  7. I see this message instead of rating:
    The reason we can not display text with your website is that it depends on the query text that the user types.

    I have tested some other websites that using schema marukup and I see the same message.

    My last question is, do you know what is the reason of this error message?

  8. If you test your page now, it does not show rating stars.
    It won’t show rating in google search result, also this testing tool does not show stars.
    Anyway, thank you for the replay.

  9. Of course you have to enter review page url, but look it this now.

    I did not use webmaster tools in english (by deafult),
    then I have tried english version and it shows rating stars.

    Here is non-english version
    http://prntscr.com/4s3lhn

    Here is english version of the same page:
    http://prntscr.com/4s3lnj

    It shows schema markup if I use english language.

  10. Hello,
    I found your article while doing research. I have an HVAC business website, so blogging is a part of the site. I just applied the schema.org/microdata code for my local business NAP. I then want to add the review stars. When testing, I received an error stating that I must use ‘Votes’ for the count instead of ‘Reviews’ unless I mark up every review. I am not sure where to put the individual review markup code. Will the review info actually display content on the page or does it just appear in the snippets? I have the code in my footer and would like to also place the review code there as well but don’t want any review specifics displaying in the footer. I do have a Testimonials page. Please shed some more light on this if you can πŸ™‚ Thanks.

    Sandy McDonald recently posted: Understanding HVAC Energy Efficiency Ratings
    1. You need to use HTML to display actual review content on the page. If you try to put in the Schema markup using hidden fields (like meta tags) Google will probably refuse to display your snippets. This is because the whole point is to mark up content that’s already there and not enter invisible code just to get the snippet.

      1. That makes sens. I do have a Testimonials page where I copy reviews from multiple review sources, including G+. Each review has a link to the original source. Now, the WP widget I’m using to display the review info does not have the star rating. It only includes the reviewer’s name, review text and link to original review.

        The link to our testimonials page is http://comfortclimateservice.com/testimonials

        Thank you for the information.
        When I mark up each review, should I use the URL of my testimonials page or the original source URL?

    1. Google doesn’t HAVE to show your star ratings if they don’t want to. Even if you do everything right, Google can still choose to not display them for your website.

    1. Hi Elena!

      This will not happen immediately. You have to wait for Google to re-visit and re-index all your pages. The stars won’t show up until that happens.

      But even then, this markup isn’t guaranteed to work. When you add this markup, you give Google the option of displaying it. Sometimes Google chooses not to display it, even if it’s just because they “don’t feel like it”.

      So sometimes you can do everything perfectly right, but the stars still won’t show up, and that’s just because Google is choosing not to show them. They’re finicky like that!

      1. Thank you very much Ashley for your quickly and informative answer!
        Its very kind. Now I understand better how it works!

  11. It seems this would be a relatively easy way to fabricate fake reviews, which means Google’s reporting has no true validation of the reviews. I guess I won’t be trusting Google’s stars anymore!

    1. Well the idea is that Google’s stars give you a quick idea, then you click through to the page to validate it yourself.

      Google will remove your stars if:

      1) They can find out that they’re fake.
      2) The Schema markup is hidden on the page and not integrated into invisible markup.

      So if you just add a meta tag to the heading saying you have 30 reviews that are all 5 stars, Google probably won’t actually add the stars to your results since it’s in a hidden, invisible meta tag.

      1. > 1) They can find out that they’re fake.

        Again, how can they do this? The information in a review (if I’ve understood correctly) is the following:

        – The name of the person writing the review.
        – The name of the item being reviewed.
        – Your numerical rating.
        – The maximum/best numerical rating.

        Lots of people are called John Smith or Mary Jones or Yu Wang. How can Google find out if a review I put in my page is really from one of these people?

        It’s amazing to me that Google made it this easy to fake reviews. But nobody’s reviews can be trusted these days. Google ‘fake reviews’ and there’s so much controversy, even on Yelp, Amazon, etc.

        1. There’s not a perfect method, but there’s no perfect method of doing that ANYWHERE. You can fake any kind of review.

          Google has their own algorithms. It’s probably based on site reputation, reports, etc. Google doesn’t exactly reveal their methods because as soon as they do that, it becomes easier to try to cheat the system.

          But this is also why adding star markup doesn’t guarantee they’ll actually show up. There are plenty of people who add star markup but it still doesn’t show up in Google search because Google has opted not to show them for that website.

          It’s not Google’s fault that the reviews are fake. Blame the website, or the fake reviewer—not the person displaying that data. It’s really up to you—the consumer—to click through to the website, read the reviews, and judge for yourself if you think they can be trusted. You only have yourself to blame if you don’t take that extra step to read them.

          Plus, your opinion of a product should really be based on what is said in the reviews—not the star value that you can see more quickly.

          1. I kind of disagree with it’s not Google’s fault. They’re *THE* search engine, so they have a responsibility. After a lot of political pressure, they finally stopped serving search results for child pornography, pirated software, etc. If I’m not mistaken, if you want to get a twitter account now, you have to have a credit card, which will be traced if you commit crimes with the twitter account. These are companies being responsible to prevent abuse.

            If our opinions were truly based on specific reviews and not the abstraction of star ratings, then there would be no star ratings. Human nature is that we want something we can trust that doesn’t require too much time. If Consumer Reports or some other trusted reviewing system allowed fabrication of its reviews, it would lose reputation very fast. This is how I feel with Google now. Did you ever use Consumer Reports to buy things?

            A one-star increase on yelp for a restaurant accounts for 20% more revenue, according to something I read this week. Google’s economic interest is in selling advertisements, not in providing information we can trust.

    1. That goes in the body, in the actual content of the page. So if it’s a blog post, the code goes inside the blog post where you want the rating to be displayed on the page.

  12. This is awesome Ashley. Just what I was looking for. I know this was from long ago but I was looking to be able to do this with review for services and show either my Google+ reviews on my services page as an example. I will give it a shot. Cheers!

  13. Nice info.

    I recently got a ‘manual action’ on my site for ‘spammy mark-up’. I wouldn’t recommend using site wide schema on an e-commerce site. Google doesn’t like it apparently.

    All is well now though.

    Thanks for thr article!

  14. Any update on how to make schema codes ? It seems like some are not working for me this days. Need help

  15. There are a lot of people saying to me that Google have been messaging people who are having the reviews on the SERP saying that this is bad SEO. But if your SEO is good any way for some pages it may be worth doing. Plus then it catches the customers eye so could increase conversions.

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