Stars and Ratings in Search Results

Search results are all about user experience. If search results don’t display useful information, online visitors are likely to seek out alternatives to get the desired information quickly and efficiently. Google and Bing have been working on new techniques to improve the user experience. One of the techniques to improve usability is to include reviews and ratings in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Google and Bing both support review and star ratings in search results, also known as rich snippets. Based on the recent data, rich snippets improve data usability and click-thru rates. Click Thru Rate (CTR) is all that matters when it comes to driving business from search results, so it is essential to incorporate these techniques into your SEO and SEM efforts. Figure 1 shows a typical SERP listing. While Google doesn’t provide details on the actual use of rich snippets in its search algorithm, it gives plenty of information on how to implement them on your website. The process of adding rich snippets to your webpage is relatively straightforward. However, you need to understand how microdata and schema elements work. Since rich snippets improve the web for everyone, Google encourages webmasters to mark up their content and now supports a wide variety of content types such as:
  • Reviews
  • People
  • Products
  • Businesses and organizations
  • Recipes
  • Events
  • Music
Google provides extensive documentation in Google Webmaster Tool to use rich snippets with plenty of examples. If interested, check out Google rich snippets. Google also provides a tool to test your code. You can test either an HTML page or raw HTML code blocks. Check out Google Structured Data Testing Tool. According to Google, marking up your data for rich snippets won’t affect your page’s ranking in search results, and Google doesn’t guarantee to use your markup. However, your content is search results will be much more user-friendly and usable.
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