Google Rating Stars in Search Results (Fast & Easy)

Google rating stars are the best kept secret in local SEO. Learn the quickest, easiest way to add google rating stars to your web pages in search results.

This article will cover all of these topics:

Google rating stars boost local SEO traffic

One of the best ways to get more organic web traffic is to add rating stars next to your web page in Google’s search results.

People prefer to click on Google search links that have rating stars next to them in Google search results.

When people click more often to view your web page, Google sees that as a “vote” for your web page over the other web pages listed in Google’s search results.

Get enough votes and your web page will rise up the search results, and Google will send more and more web traffic to your page.

How to get rating stars in Google search results (Quickly & Easily)

Follow these simple steps to show Google rating stars for your web pages in search results:

1) Install a rating plugin with schema.org support

To get rating stars to appear in Google search results for your web pages, you’ll need your web pages to give Google machine-readable data about your ratings. Schema.org is a technical standard that lets machines share data with each other. So schema.org is the technology that will let your web page share its rating data with Google.

Thankfully, you don’t need to be technical to use schema.org.

Instead, there are plenty of ways to set up your web pages to show Google rating stars quickly and easily without any technical prowess.

If you use WordPress, we recommend the Schema & Structured Data for WP & AMP plugin. The main reason we recommend this plugin is because it supports schema.org object types that you’re likely to need–such Article and BlogPosting–in addition to the more common LocalBusiness and Product object types. These extra object types will let you get ratings for practically any kind of web page. More on this later.

If you don’t use WordPress, but you use another major Content Management System (CMS) then your CMS most likely provides some sort of plugin or module that supports the same basic features as the WordPress plugin. For example, Hubspot supports ratings and other rich snippets.

The next 2 steps in the process are mostly the same, regardless of what plugin you use.

2) Add reviews to your web pages

Next, use your review plugin to get reviews for each web page and publish them on the page, using schema.org markup behind the scenes.

IMPORTANT: Don’t use reviews about your business on web pages that are not specifically about testimonials for your business! That includes reviews from Google, Yelp, Facebook or other 3rd party business review sites.

That’s because it’s against Google’s policies for you to pass these reviews off as relevant to a web page that isn’t all about your business testimonials. The reviews displayed on a page must be relevant to the specific content of that page.

So if your web page is an article about how to find a good lawyer, then you need to show reviews of the article’s content, not reviews of your business. And your schema.org should reflect the right object type. So in this example, you would need to use ratings for the Article object or BlogPosting object, not the LocalBusiness object.

Here’s an example…

When you search Google for “how to find an employment lawyer” you may see a Wikihow article with Google rating stars that show up in search results.

The Wikihow website routinely gets stars in search results for its articles.

And here’s how they do it….

See how Wikihow asks readers to rate the article itself for how helpful it is?

Behind the scenes, Wikihow is using schema.org to specify an Article object that has an aggregateRating value that represents the Google rating that will get displayed in search results.

You can do the same thing with your own web content.

3) Get Google to reindex your web pages (Optional)

Finally, make sure the plugin you use will publish the schema.org code that Google needs to pull each web page’s ratings data in and display it in Google search results.

But Google won’t start displaying the rating stars until Google re-indexes your pages and finds the new data you’ve added.

You don’t need to do anything for Google to re-index your pages. Google regularly revisits web pages to re-index them in case any changes are made.

But if you don’t want to wait for Google to get around to re-indexing, just order Google to re-index the pages where you now display reviews. Here’s how:

  1. Log into Google Search Console
  2. Enter the URL of a page you want Google to re-crawl in the search box at the top of the console
  3. Then click “Request Indexing” to order Google to re-index that page

How to troubleshoot if Google rating stars don’t show up in search results

Are Google rating stars not showing up in search results even after you’ve installed a schema.org plugin that shows reviews on your web pages, then got Google to re-index your pages?

Ultimately, it’s up to Google’s algorithms whether or not to show ratings in Google search results.

However, there are some common reasons why Google’s algorithms might decide not to show your ratings.

Make sure you comply with the following rules to maximize your chances of getting Google rating stars in search results:

  • Don’t use your plugin on your home page – Make sure the aggregateRating schema.org is not used on your home page. (To check, open your home page in your browser, right click anywhere, then choose “View page source” from the pop-up menu. This will display the code behind your home page. Then search to see if “aggregateRating” appears anywhere in that code. If it does, you’ll need to change your plugin so that it doesn’t apply to your home page, only to the pages where ratings are appropriate to appear on your site.)
  • Don’t make review data invisible – Make sure that the same data that Google can “see” in schema.org is also visible to any person who views the web page. If Google you give Google data that your human website visitors can’t see, Google thinks you might be trying to game the system.
  • Don’t publish reviews out of context – Make sure the reviews you show on a given web page are relevant to the content of that page. For example, a web page about how to cook a fish should not show reviews for your restaurant. It should show reviews for how useful the information on the page is.

For more details on Google’s rules, check out Google’s guidelines on Review snippets.

If you’re following Google’s guidelines and still not seeing Google rating stars in search results, be sure that your plugin is using schema.org properly. If it isn’t, then Google may not be able to read the review data on your web pages.

To do this, go to Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool and test your web page’s URL. The tool should detect an object that represents your page, like “Article” or “BlogPosting” or “Product.”

Here’s what the results of Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool look like when the tool tests the Wikihow article example from above. 

And when we drill down on the Article object, we see that the tool finds that the Article object has the aggregateRating value of 94% which we saw in the examples above.

Google rating stars lower PPC ad costs

You can use Google rating stars to pay less per click for your Google PPC ads while also getting more clicks and better ad placement.

Ads that show your business’ Google rating get more clicks for the same reason that stars in organic search results get more clicks: Because first people’s eyes are drawn to the stars, and then a high star rating gives them more confidence in clicking through.

But in the case of PPC ads, a higher click-through rate (CTR) translates into lower ad costs.

Here’s how that works: Google’s Quality Score is based largely on an ad’s CTR. So an ad with a higher CTR gets a higher Quality Score. And ads with higher Quality Scores can win a bid for ad placement against ads with lower Quality Scores–even if the ad bids a lower amount of money!

Why would Google show an ad that bids less, when it could show an ad that bids more? Isn’t that against Google’s interests?

Actually, no.

Let’s look at an example: Let’s say ad A bids a maximum of $1 per click and has a CTR of 2.0%. And let’s say ad B bids a maximum of $2 per click and has a CTR of 0.5%.

For every 1,000 times that Google shows ad A, Google will probably earn $20 in ad revenue. (1,000 impressions x 2.0% CTR = 20 clicks. 20 clicks x $1/click = $20.)

But for every 1,000 times that Google shows ad B, Google will probably earn only $10 in ad revenue. (1,000 impressions x 0.5% CTR = 5 clicks. 5 clicks x $2/click = $10.)

So Google knows that a higher CTR means higher revenues for Google.

And that’s how a high-CTR ad can beat a low-CTR ad even if the high-CTR ad bids a lower amount.

So you can lower your cost per click, increase your total number of clicks, and even improve the position of your ads… all by displaying your Google rating stars in your ads to boost your CTR.

How to get rating stars in Google PPC ads

Get at least 100 reviews for your business and maintain an average star rating of at least 3.5 stars or higher.

The Google seller ratings ad extension is an automated extension that adds your Google rating to your PPC ads automatically. You don’t need to do anything, except meet Google’s criteria of 100 reviews and a 3.5+ star rating.

To find out if you already have the Google seller ratings extension, just go to this URL, replacing {yourwebsite} with your homepage URL.

https://www.google.com/shopping/ratings/account/lookup?q={yourwebsite}

Don’t have the rating extension yet? Well, it’s time to boost how many reviews you have and your average star rating!

Fortunately, you can get 100+ reviews from a variety of review sites. You don’t have to rely solely on Google My Business reviews. For a complete list of sites Google uses to collect reviews about your business, check out the “Where ratings come from” section of Google’s page on seller ratings ad extensions.

To boost your average star rating, check out the section below on “How to get more 5-star reviews, boost your Google rating, and drive sales.”

How the Google star rating is calculated for your business

Google uses a proprietary formula for calculating the Google rating for a business. The Google rating is not just a simple average of all star ratings.

According to Google

The language, “a variety of other signals” leaves the door wide open for Google to continually change exactly how it calculates your Google rating.

What we do know about Google’s calculation is that Google uses more than just a simple average of your Google reviews.

Google claims to also use reviews your business gets on other 3rd party review sites, although Google doesn’t specify exactly which sites.

And Google also hints that any information it finds about your business could be used to calculate your Google rating, including information from web pages that may have nothing to do with reviews.

So the best way to boost your Google rating is to make sure that there are as many positive signals about your business as possible on the web.

Make sure you have a strong review profile (high number of reviews and a high star rating) on all the major review sites, and on any review sites that are specific to your industry.

How to get more 5-star reviews, boost your Google rating, and drive sales

Get more 5-star reviews by engaging in review marketing with every customer (not just occasionally) but also by making sure the job is done and the customer is happy first. For a complete game plan, check out our complete guide on how to get Google reviews.

The best way to get more reviews is simply to ask as many of your customers as possible if they would please rate your business.

Don’t ask customers while they’re on site. Google (and other major review sites) will filter reviews if they see a high number of reviews coming from the same location, since they will suspect fraud on the part of your business.

Instead, reach out to customers via email or SMS text messaging to ask customers to rate your business.

Pro Tip: Send follow-ups – You can often double the number of responses you get from your customers by sending at least 2 or 3 follow-up emails or text messages to customers who don’t respond. Be sure to space your email follow-ups by at least 3 to 5 days, and your SMS text message follow-ups by at least 7 days.

Getting more reviews can really help your business, but not if they’re negative reviews.

So make sure your customers are happy!

Pro Tip: Finish the job before asking for a review – One of the best ways to make sure your customers are happy is to ask them before you consider your job done.

So first send an email or text message asking a customer to rate your business privately. If they’re happy, great! Ask if they’ll share their experience in a public review.

But if they respond that they’re not happy, then engage with the customer to solve their issues and make sure they’re happy before you consider your job done. Once you know your customer is happy, then ask for a review, knowing that you’ve earned their positive review.

Pro Tip: Automate follow-ups and private customer ratings – It can take a lot of time and effort to send private rating requests to every customer, follow up on those who don’t respond, ask unhappy customers for feedback, and ask happy customers for reviews. But you can use our web app (which comes with a free trial) to automate this process, making it quick, easy, and highly effective.