Looking for ways to create a user review system to allow your Users / Customers to give star ratings in Google search results or reviews for your products and services? Want to hear your subscriber’s opinions and feedback through ratings and reviews? Want to display star ratings on the Google search results page? You have come to the right place.
In this post, we cover the basic ideas of a user review system and show you can implement them in your WordPress website.
System of Star Ratings in Google Search Results
A rating system is a quantitative system represented by symbols like stars that are used to judge the quality of things like products, services, businesses, etc. Stars are the most used symbols for ratings and known as a star-rating system, but there are other rating systems as well. A star-rating system is usually used by reviewers for ranking things such as TV shows, films, hotels, restaurants, and many other similar items.
5-Star Rating System
Star rating systems differ in the number of points. The most common 5-point rating system is the 5-star rating system. Here you give a rating from 1 – 5 stars, 5 being the best. You can find this 2-star rating system in many popular review sites such as Yelp, Google, Amazon, etc.,
This system is very popular with business owners to an extent that customers are prompted as “Like our product! Give us 5-stars!”
Business owners take it very seriously, anything less than 4 or 5 means that the customer was less than satisfactory, and customers are asked for feedback.
Other Rating Systems
Other rating systems include the 10-point system, 2-point system, Percentage(%) rating, Thumbs-up thumbs-down rating system, etc.,
These rating systems are used in different types of sites depending on their purpose. For example,
- IMDB (movie ratings) – 10 point ratings
- Rotten Tomatoes (movie ratings) – 100-point ratings
- Instagram – upvotes / likes
- Facebook – emoji ratings
StarCat Reviews plugin
StarCat Reviews is an advanced WordPress review and rating plugin. It can be used to create a user rating and review system for any WordPress site. It is a complete review management solution through which you can include the reviews in any post or post such as blog posts, custom post type and more.
It also has seamless integration with WooCommerce, so that you can change from the old school default WooCommerce reviews to a modern customer review system that increases customer engagement to leave a good review.
Key Features of StarCat Reviews plugin
- User / Customer Ratings – users / customers can easily log in to your site and give their ratings and reviews
- Multiple Rating Criteria – you can allow users to rate multiple criteria (features) of your products
- Pros and Cons – users / customers can add the various pros and cons of the products in their review
- Review Schema Integration – can implement Google Schema markup to your rating system to display rich snippets with star ratings on Google search results page
- Review Voting – users can upvote the reviews that they find helpful
- Review Sorting – helps users to sort through the review to find Recent, Most Positive and Most Helpful reviews
- Google reCATPCHA Integration – review system is integrated with Google reCAPTCHA to stop spam and fake reviews
- Review Reply – can reply to user review especially for negative reviews which require an explanation from your side
- Photo Reviews (add-on) – allows your customers to attach media such as images, GIFs, videos and other media files along with their review.
- Comparison Table (add-on) – users can create comparison tables to compare the product features, specifications, price, ratings, etc.,
Can you change from the existing Rating System?
The 5-Star rating system may not be for everyone. You need to use a rating system that fits your goal. StarCat’s rating system is very much customizable. You can experiment with different rating systems like the percentage rating system or 10-points rating system, etc.,
One good example of this is Netflix in 2017, changed its movie rating system from the 5-star rating system to a Thumbs-up thumbs down system. They did this because the 5-star system did not help their goal.
They simply wanted to know if people are willing to watch the movies are not. They found that people do not easily give 5-stars for movies even if they would watch the movie again.
Displaying Review Snippets on Google Search
Wondering how to get star ratings on Google search results? You need to implement something called Schema markup (structured data) to show star ratings on search results.
It used to be easier earlier but recently in September 2019, Google has made some changes that limit the display of star ratings on search results. Google has stated that these limitations are made to stop self-serving reviews (reviews made by one-self).
So Google won’t be showing any self-made reviews and ratings anymore. So, the only way to get star ratings on Google search results is to implement the proper Schema on your site and allow users to give ratings.
Well, the StarCat Reviews plugin is the best tool for this purpose. You can use this review plugin to receive reviews and ratings from your users and display them on your website.
It has a Schema markup feature, so it helps to display your star ratings on Google search results.
What’s a Review Schema?
Generally, Schema (structured data) is implemented on web pages to give Google a better idea of what that page is about so that Google can prioritize your page for specific searches.
For example, if you type ‘iPhone XS’ Google understands that it is a product and brings first the related pages with product and review schema implemented in them.
You can see in the picture below that my search for ‘iPhone XS’ has brought search results with star-ratings because these sites have implemented review schema in their sites.
The same schema markup for reviews can also be implemented on your site using the StarCat review plugin. You can even expect your web pages to be ranked higher on Google for your specific keywords.
Google pays attention to the quality of content on your site and one thing that adds to your content quality is a built-in review system.
We know that search engines love fresh content and reviews provide the search engine with fresh, relevant content that is added by your customers. So you can surely expect a boost in your SEO for keywords related to your business and products.
Encouraging Customers to Give Ratings & Reviews
StarCat reviews plugin is designed in such a way that it encourages your customers to leave ratings and reviews when they visit your website.
The review option is prominently displayed on your website to make it clear as it can be for the customers. The customer should log in to your site, to verify that they’re actually your customer and leave their rating and review which is moderated.
If you’re using WooCommerce, you can integrate the StarCat Reviews with other WooCommerce plugins to run incentive programs like coupons, vouchers, contents, etc, customers to maximize the number of positive reviews that your business gets. It has a high chance of having star ratings in Google search results of your sites.
Review Schema Code – Google Star Rating Code
To implement a review schema on your website, you need to include a piece of code into your site from Schema.org. This code usually keeps changing regularly because Google continuously changes its Algorithm. Every time there’s a change, you have to copy-paste the new review schema code manually to display star ratings in Google search results.
After adding the review schema, you can check it on Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool, which looks like the image below.
When you use the StarCat reviews plugin on your site, it does this work for you. You don’t need to touch any code. When you update the plugin, it automatically adds any changes to the review schema.
How to use the Rating System for the Best Results?
Results are based on what you are trying to do and why you want a rating system. If you want better sales and conversions then certainly trustable reviews. If you only show 5-star ratings for all of your products, it would be difficult for your customers to trust the reviews. Your ratings and review should not look “too good to be true.”
It is better to mix some average ratings and bad reviews in between. It will be a display for your transparency. You can also add a suitable reply to the review, stating what could’ve been done better and how you want the customer back with you in the bad review, which will notify a better message to your customers.
To do this you need to implement a review system that allows you to respond to the customer reviews and should display the response to everyone.
Follow these Rules for Best Results:
If you are using a rating system for the best results in Google, you need to do these things, to add star ratings in Google search results.
- Follow all the rules given by Google for review snippets.
- Do not put reviews on your Homepage. If you do so then it will not be displayed in snippets because Google would think they are testimonials and not the entire reviews that you’ve received.
- Update your site with new reviews regularly. If you’re not receiving new reviews, make your best efforts to get reviews from customers.
Sometimes even after you do everything right, your ratings may not appear in the rich snippets. This happens mostly because Google constantly changes its algorithms and also updates the Schema Markup. To avoid these types of problems you can use the StarCat Reviews plugin to automatically update the latest Schema markup.
Importing Reviews from Google reviews and other review sites
You can also import customer reviews from review sites such as Google Business, Yelp, TrustPilot, etc.,
You can show them on your site like displaying customer testimonials.
It can be done using specific plugins that import the reviews using API. But I wouldn’t recommend it because you don’t own the review content and you can’t moderate what reviews are being posted.
Also, Google does not value the content and you will not get any SEO benefits. Google has recently changed its algorithm which allows for only direct users ratings to be shown in the search results page. Also, these testimonials would not be original content.
That’s the end of how to add star ratings in Google search results.