Use Review Schema Markup to Boost Your IT Business Site’s Review Visibility

Use Review Schema Markup to Boost Your IT Business Site’s Review Visibility

One of the challenges with reviews is putting them where you need them to be in your lead funnel. If you’re putting them on interior site pages where only your current customers go to, you may just be signing to the choir.

How do you get reviews at the top of your lead generation activities? One way is to use schema markup to create a review snippet that will show up in your search engine listing.

With a few tips on how to leverage review and aggregate rating markup on a webpage, you can unlock more lead generation potential.

What Does Schema Markup for Reviews Do?

Before we get into the “how to” of the review snippet and aggregate rating markup, let’s go over what schema markup is and what it can do to make your reviews more visible.

Schema markup is also known as “structured data.” It was put in place by a collection of search engine companies (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Yandex). It’s designed to create a common vocabulary for various website components that can inform a rich search result.

For example, when you search on a recipe for banana pudding, you’ll see some results with extra information (i.e. rich results), including a photo and star ratings. Other recipe search results will look like normal with a headline and description text only.

schema markup for IT business site

The recipe with the additional information in the search result is using schema markup to enhance their search engine listing to make it stand out and entice people to click.

There are several different types of structured data you can use to identify specific content and help it get those search result “bells and whistles.”

These include:

  • Review snippet/Aggregate rating
  • Recipe
  • Software app
  • Video
  • Event
  • How-to
  • Article
  • Book
  • Local Business Listing
  • Movie

We’re going to specifically discuss the aggregate rating in the review snippet in this article, but you can read more about the others and structured data in general here.

The Review Snippet Schema

What happens when you deploy the review schema on your website is that you can have an aggregation of your reviews and star ratings show under your company’s search listing.

For example, in the search result below for hotels in Orlando, the Marriott skillfully deployed the review snippet to make their search result stand out from the others.

Review Snippet for MSP Site

Your goal with using the aggregate rating review snippet is to make your page result stand out from others by leveraging your star ratings.

This puts those reviews at the top of your MSP lead generation funnel where they can act as an accelerator for your marketing engine. People reviewing IT shops in your area are more likely to click on your search results with star ratings than someone else’s without them.

Benefits of Schema Markup

The Search Engine Journal ran a test after implementing schema markup on one of their pages. They found the following results:

  • Average search position increased by 12%
  • Click increased by 43%
  • Impressions increased nearly 1%

Steps for Creating a Review Snippet Ranking Page

Before you dig right in and start putting schema markup on your pages, you need to have a plan. If you’re not optimizing a page in other ways using SEO techniques, then your fancy search results with stars could be buried on page 120-something.

We’ll go thorough the recommended steps below to help you fold your user ratings into the search result for your best landing pages.

Step 1: Calculate Your Review Ratings

The most important pieces of data in an aggregate rating review snippet are the average rating and overall number of reviews.

You might as well grab this information up front, so you’ll have it ready when you’re inputting the snippet information on to the code in your webpage.

You want to make sure you have ALL your reviews (the more the better), and don’t just use the 5-stars ones – Google will be onto that quick. Be honest about the average star ratings you have.

You’ll ideally want to add some reviews to the page and a link to the source.

Places to look for your reviews:

  • Google My Business Listing
  • Yelp
  • Facebook
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Manta
  • Angie’s List
  • Thumbtack
  • Reviews that customers have emailed

If you’re having a hard time knowing where all your reviews are, a service like Tech Reputation can help you capture them all.

For reviews that don’t have a star rating, try sending out a rating request email to those customers to get one so you can include it.

Important technical points for reviews relating to a local business or organization:

  • Pages are ineligible for the star review feature if the entity being reviewed controls the reviews about itself. (i.e. they have to be honest, non-filtered or edited reviews).
  • Sites must collect ratings information directly from users.

Step 2: Decide Which Page(s) to Use the Review Snippet On

Once you get started with schema markup, you’ll find all types of uses for them. To get you started, I recommend choosing just one or two pages that you’d like to try it on.

Most IT businesses would be using the local business designation for your review, which means that the reviews are about your business as a whole.

If you happen to sell a specific product like a white labeled VoIP system, then you could do a product related review, but the reviews you include would need to be about that product, not your business in general.

Tips for choosing a page to use the review snippet schema on:

  • Use an existing page that already has some SEO power built up
  • Choose a landing page for lead gen (like a service page)
  • Include links on the page to sources of the reviews
  • Include snippets from some of your customer reviews on the page somewhere
  • Ensure your business name is in the title (i.e. “ABC Computer Cloud Solutions”)
  • Make sure the existing page is SEO optimized

Step 3: Wrap Your Head Around “Nested” Markup

This part gets a little tricky, so it’s important to understand it before moving on to putting the code on your page.

As we mentioned, there are multiple types of schema markup snippets of code you can use (recipe, reviews, etc..). One of these is the Local Business schema.

The one I’ve been talking about up to now is the REVIEW SNIPPET SCHEMA. It’s important to note that there are different types of reviews.

A general review schema can be used if there is just a single review being noted about one thing. Like Consumer Reports reviewing the latest Ford sedan.

An AGGREGATE RATING in the review schema (which is what we are using) is when multiple star reviews are pulled together to create one review rating. Like how ratings are done in the app stores, and just about everywhere else.

So, you’re using the aggregate rating inside the review schema. Because you’re aggregating the rating on all your reviews.

But hold on! You can’t use it by itself. Google wants to know what it is you’re reviewing.

In this case it’s your local business, so you have to nest the aggregate rating in the review snippet inside the LOCAL BUSINESS schema.

To Google it will make complete sense, and read something like this:

I have a local business > Here is a star rating review for my business > I’m aggregating this star rating from several reviews.

Step 4: Put Your Markup on the Page

You’ve done the hard part, now it’s time to unleash that code onto your webpage and get it working to make your search results impressive.

There are a few ways you can approach getting the code on the page.

You can use a structured data plugin and let it automate the heavy lifting. You’ll want to make sure it includes the review snippet, aggregate rating, and local business markup.

Here are a few WordPress plugins you can try:

If you don’t want to go through a plugin you can get a boost from Google by using their free Structured Data Markup Helper. This tool will help guide you through the process of putting your code together.

Once you choose “Local Business” from the options and input your URL, the tool will open your website and allow you to click to all the necessary elements, which will be located in the right-side pane. It will then put together the code you need for you to use on your site.

Google Structured Data Markup Helper

The last option for those that just like to do everything themselves is to use a code example and replace the example information with your own data.

Here is an example of the aggregate rating review snippet nested inside the local business schema:

<html>

<head>

<title>ABC Computers</title>

<script type=”application/ld+json”>

{

“@context”: “https://schema.org”,

“@type”: “ComputerService”,

“image”: [

“https://example.com/photos/1×1/photo.jpg”,

“https://example.com/photos/4×3/photo.jpg”,

“https://example.com/photos/16×9/photo.jpg”

],

“@id”: “http://url.com”,

“name”: “ABC Computers”,

“address”: {

“@type”: “PostalAddress”,

“streetAddress”: “148 W 51st St”,

“addressLocality”: “New York”,

“addressRegion”: “NY”,

“postalCode”: “10019”,

“addressCountry”: “US”

},

“aggregateRating”: {

“@type”: “AggregateRating”,

“ratingValue”: “4.4”,

“ratingCount”: “89”

},      “geo”: {

“@type”: “GeoCoordinates”,

“latitude”: 40.761293,

“longitude”: -73.982294

},

“telephone”: “+12122459600”,

“openingHoursSpecification”: [

{

“@type”: “OpeningHoursSpecification”,

“dayOfWeek”: [

“Monday”,

“Tuesday”

],

“opens”: “11:30”,

“closes”: “22:00”

}

],

}

</script>

</head>

<body>

</body>

</html>

This is just one example of the information you can include in your business listing. You can find a full list here.

Help Your Search Results Shine with Your Reviews & Ratings

Once you take the time to get your feet wet with structured data on key landing pages, your hard-earned reviews can get out there working for you and driving even more leads.

Do you use schema markup on any of your site pages? Share your tips in the comments!

Francesca Crolley

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