We’ve all seen these golden star ratings in the search engine results page (SERP), and have all been guilty on clicking on these, even if they’re on the bottom of the page or even on page two. But, how do webmasters and developers get these stars and, even more importantly, how do they improve the ratings to make them so compelling?
What are Google star ratings and how can you get them?
Firstly, let’s clarify what Google star ratings are. Google uses a five-star rating scale to rank businesses based on performance and aggregate customer feedback. Consumers are given the opportunity to leave a business, service or product review, which includes choosing a grade from one star (poor performance) to five stars (excellent service).
The pages with reviews are marked-up in the code according to schema.org guidelines that the search engine crawlers (aka Googlebot) then grab from the page code to index the page. Google then uses its search engine algorithm to display this information - where appropriate - in the rich snippets on the SERP.
The mark-up that is necessary for displaying the star rating is product schema and within product schema, it’s the AggregateRating markup that’s directly responsible for the golden stars and the average rating value. You can have a product schema without AggregateRating, but you cannot have AggregateRating without product mark-up.
How to get AggregateRating mark-up
By now, we understand that star rating can be achieved only by implementing product schema and that the mark-up that is directly responsible for generating the golden stars in the SERP is AggregateRating.
Well, to get the AggregatRating you need to collect customer reviews. Luckily, it’s that simple! How you choose to go about it is your choice, but here are a few options:
We have discussed the pros and cons of these solutions in this article.
The good news is that the majority of the third-party review platforms will automatically insert product schema (and AggregateRating) into the page code. Feefo inserts product schema together with AggregateRating via the on-page integration review widget. On top of that, the Feefo Product Schema can merge with another set of product schema on the page, nifty hey?!
How to improve Google star ratings in the SERP
At this point, we know that rich snippet star ratings are tied up with your reviews, and your reviews come from your customer feedback and product reviews from your review platform - whether this is proprietary or third-party.
Complying with the guidelines of Google Seller and product ratings feed, you can only provide product ratings for the last 12 months and these should count towards the rating average - as Google believes that these reviews are the most relevant to the reader. This is very good news for you us at Feefo, as we can adhere to the same guidelines when we write code for the product schema mark-up on the product pages!
One quick note: do not get confused as product ratings are fed to Google for Google Ads by the same logic - product ratings can be marked-up on the page/s to get the rich snippets and golden stars in the organic listings of the SERP.
So, this knowledge is what will allow sellers to improve the product’s rating drastically by listening to and analysing the collected reviews and feedback. If you treat your CX seriously, you will analyse the product feedback and will be able to try to improve it accordingly. Once you start improving your product, customer service and customer experience, this will then be reflected in the new reviews that will be left for your product or service.
As we mentioned above, the reviews rating average should be calculated on the back of the reviews left in the last 12 months. If you open the review average to all-time (as has been requested by some Feefo clients previously) it will be very difficult to improve your rating average in the short-term, as the ratings from past years will be added to the calculation of the average and might make it harder for recent changes to be reflected in the aggregate rating.
Hopefully, you see that calculating the rating average from the last year’s reviews ratings can help you to increase the star rating in SERP fairly quickly, provided that you have a well-developed CX improvement strategy - which should include product and service enhancements too.
With Feefo, you can collect reviews, add surveys, determine your Net Promotor Score (NPS) and more to understand better your clients and to plan, develop and execute the CX improvement strategy that will help you succeed!
To conclude, improving your Google star ratings is not rocket science and can be tackled with the relevant tools very easily!
Here’s a very basic outline of the steps required:
Not sure where to start? Connect with us and we will help you on your journey to better rich snippet ratings in the SERP, and you’ll even be eligible to participate in our yearly Trusted Service Awards!