By following these simple steps, you can make your website stand out from the crowd with shining star ratings in Google’s search results.
Have you ever tried searching for your own business on Google? If your business has a website, you likely pay attention to the content on your site, the efficacy of your site’s search engine optimization, how you advertise your site, and perhaps even its Google Analytics. Have you ever considered what your website looks like as a Google search result, though? Many business owners overlook this simple, yet important step in driving traffic to their websites. An organic search result listing which is well-designed and organized with respect to relevancy and aesthetics will ensure you make a great first impression on your webpage’s potential viewers.
When searching through Google for other reasons, you have probably noticed that some webpage listings, which appear on the list of search results, include a star rating in addition to the site’s title, meta description, and meta tags. Although Google does not publicly release the specific parameters of its search algorithm, one can speculate the great difference that a good star rating which appears next to a website on a Google search results page makes when the average internet user selects one website while choosing to ignore the rest. The increased traffic to your webpage, as a result of displayed star ratings, should work well to improve your page’s place in search results for at least your top few keywords and keyword phrases. Not only do star ratings draw a surfer’s attention to your search listing, they also immediately gain your company priceless earned media (i.e. trusted reviews and word of mouth advertising from your customers).
Simple Steps to Stardom
You or your web developer can make short work of affixing a star rating (and its added credibility) to your website with the help of either a plugin or some basic backend HTML coding. Follow these simple steps to stardom:
Get Rated and Reviewed– You can skip this step and go on to those which follow, but if your business has no existing online reviews or ratings, then Google will not be able to locate or calculate an average star rating to display on the search engine results page. To gather reviews, you will need to encourage your customers to rate your business, products, services, or their experience with you on a trusted review site, in an acceptable format, or on your Google Business Page. Google provides a complete list of the types of reviews which they consider trusted, here.
Add a Schema Markup to Your Website– Once you have acquired a sufficient number of online reviews and ratings from customers, you can manually add directions to your website which specifically tell Google’s search engine crawler about all of the great, new reviews you want your customers to see when they search for you. In order for Google to detect your reviews, you will need to add a schema markup to your webpage. This schema should include various types of structured data for Google to read in order to learn more about your webpage and type of business. While you could include all sorts of data in the footnotes of your page, the most pertinent information for star rating purposes includes defining your company as a local business or a more specific sub-category and specifying your product or service. You will also need to point Google to your business name, address, logo, business hours, phone number, and email. You will also include a geolocation section in the schema, which defines your location’s latitude and longitude (NASA will help you determine your coordinates here). In the schema, you will add information to define the number of reviews you have and your average star rating, which will help Google include this on your page’s search result listing. As your reviews increase and the average rating changes, you will need to manually adjust the rating in your schema.
Take a Shortcut Using a Plugin– Manual entry for the schema is the best way to ensure the most accurate search engine results and star ratings for your webpage. If, however, you feel uncomfortable with the code, you can add a plugin to your website to handle entering the schema (or structured data) on your behalf.
Give It a Test Run– Once you have either entered all of your webpage’s structured data yourself or had a plugin fill in the blanks with an automated scan of your site, you can test the data using Google’s handy Structured Data Testing Tool. Enter your web address into the search tool and scan through the results looking for noted errors or warnings. This tool can help you locate typos, incorrect data, or data which might not add up in all of the right places. If the tester finds an error, go back and correct the issue and then re-test to make sure all of your data is in order.
Wait and Watch– Your search result listing stars will not appear immediately after you have completed the setup process. It should take Google’s web crawlers about four or five days to re-crawl your recently updated website and add the star ratings to your listing on the search results page.
Make Your Page a Star
If you want to improve your business, your webpage’s search results, and bring your page to the top of the list with star ratings which are displayed in your customers’ and potential customers’ search results, but do not feel comfortable making the back-end changes to your website yourself, our skilled IT professionals can help you. In addition to setting up your star ratings, we can also provide advice on optimizing your existing webpage to improve your search engine results with back-end coding designed to assist web crawlers when they read your page and its riveting content to boost your click-through rates. To learn more about how we can help your business convert more leads through improved search engine results, contact us today. We look forward to being an integral part of your company’s online success.
Brian Gray, MCP, is the President at Kraft Technology Group, LLC (KTG), an affiliate of KraftCPAs PLLC. Within his role, Brian is responsible for all aspects of service delivery to our clients. Brian has a decade of experience working for managed service providers. He has worked with clients in a variety of industries, including financial services, accounting, legal, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail.