Getting Ratings Right on Search Results

Posted by 2 years ago
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One of our dealer clients recently approached us about a competitor website that was showing in search results with a rating/review on it and wondered how it was being done.

After a quick look I had some suspicions and they were right on.  It appears they are ‘snippet spamming‘ and that’s not going to turn out well for them.

If you were to follow the search result and view the code source you’ll see something like this…

<span style=”display:none” itemprop=”review” itemscope itemtype=”http://data-vocabulary.org/Review-aggregate”>
<span itemprop=”rating”>5</span><span itemprop=”count”>46</span>
</span>

In the google documentation regarding snippets here: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/2722261?hl=en they say this under Quality Guidelines…

While rich snippets are generated algorithmically, we do reserve the right to take manual action (e.g., disable rich snippets for a specific site) in cases where we see abuse, deception, or other actions that hurt the search experience for our users. In particular, you should avoid:

  • Marking up content that is in no way visible to users.
  • Marking up irrelevant or misleading content, such as fake reviews or content unrelated to the focus of a page.

These quality guidelines cover the most common forms of deceptive or manipulative rich snippet behavior. We strongly advise that webmasters focus on providing a great user experience rather than on looking for loopholes.

In the code example above from that site you’ll notice that there is a rating of 5 and a review count of 46.  Where does that come from?  It’s not visible on the actual page which causes concern.  Where are the 71 ratings and how is it that all 71 gave a rating of 5?  Who are the 71?  Basically, it appears that they are spamming the rich snippets by hiding the content.  If they show a five star rating and 71 reviews on their website they’d have to show all the review data, which they aren’t doing.  They are intentionally hiding it … note the display:none in the code.

The InteractRV approach to getting rich snippets into the sites for us is in two steps.

Step 1

Get the basic schema structure in place for RV products.  You can see the sample/example code we put together some ago here…

<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Product”>
<div itemprop=”name”>Keystone RV Cougar 29RL Travel Trailer</div>
<div itemprop=”description”>This unit is pretty awesome. Must check it out. 2 entry doors, bunkhouse, and master queen bed.</div>
<div itemprop=”manufacturer” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Organization”>Manufactured by: <span itemprop=”name”>Keystone RV</span></div>
<div>Model: <span itemprop=”model”>Cougar 29RL</span></div>
<img itemprop=”image” src=”url-to-first-image.jpg” />
<div itemprop=”category”>Vehicles & Parts</div>
<div itemprop=”offers” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Offer”><span itemprop=”price”>28000</span><link itemprop=”itemCondition” href=”http://schema.org/NewCondition” /> New</div>
<div itemprop=”sku”>100928</div>
<div itemprop=”image”>
</div>

It may not look like this exactly on the site page but it shows the properties we might use.  I fully expect this to evolve once we begin testing.

Step 2

Integrate client testimonials about specific products into the rich snippets CORRECTLY.  This will allow a sold customer to easily provide a review back to you on the specific unit they purchased.  You will have the ability to approve that review/rating and decide to have it be part of the rating/review on similar units still available for sale on the site as well as showing on archived sold unit pages.

Bottom line is the reviews and ratings NEED TO BE REAL and AUTHENTIC in order to comply with the guidelines. We have learned over the years that trying to ‘game’ and get around Google’s rules is NOT wise.  It may work for a short period of time but it will catch up to you and usually has worse consequences than you desire.

Beautiful young businesswoman showing thumbs up

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About the Author:

Kevin | InteractRV

Kevin enjoys camping in Pure Michigan w/ his bride of 20+ years and three wonderful daughters!  As one of the co-founders and current President of InteractRV, he’s passionate about helping Dealerships be successful with their web and online marketing efforts.

Find Kevin on his personal blog KevinWallenbeck.com or on LinkedIn.

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