Rich Snippets & Star Ratings for Google

See Your Search Results Before they Appear on Google & add Star Ratings to your Reviews with One Click w the new real time SERPS preview in ClickBump 6.5

Rating: 5 (out of 5)

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I’ve just put the finishing touches on TWO major new features that will ship with next update of ClickBump Theme (Version 6.5) – Google Rich Snippets and Google Search Preview.

I’m already running the 6.5 theme (in private beta) here on ClickBump.com and on the Rdio Test Drive site.

If you are not familiar with the terms “Rich Snippets“, “Structured Data“, or “Schema.org” don’t worry about it. I’m going to boil it all down to something we can all understand – Search Results.

Far too many of the SEOs I read tend to make this way too complicated. And the examples at schema.org are not much help. Many of them don’t even validate in the Google Structure Data Testing Tool – aka The Rich Snippets Testing Tool.

These fancy terms all refer to to the same thing: a data vocabulary that can be used to mark up web pages to help better classify them for search. More importantly for web publishers, your pages get special highlighted search results listings like this:

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Rich Snippets Enabled Search Results with ClickBump 5+

If you have been running the ClickBump theme for WordPress (version 5.0 or better), you’ve had the ability to add “authorship” markup to your site pages and posts in order to get highlighted search results like that for some time now.

But now with automated rich snippets & star ratings…

With version 6.5, I’ve automated the schema.org markup (no need to wade through endless form fields to add data that’s already part of your post) and added the option to apply one-click star ratings to your reviews. For example, you can assign a reviewed item a star rating (from 1 to 5, including half points like 3.5, 4.5, etc). Those listings will look like this:

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Rich Snippets with “Ratings” Coming to ClickBump Version 6.5

With ClickBump 6.5, getting search results listings like this could not be simpler. To turn a standard post into a review with star rating, you simply click on the star rating pulldown menu and choose a rating.

Convert a standard post to a starred review in one click

Convert a standard post to a starred review in one click

That’s it. Its that simple.

If you’ve assigned a star rating to the post, Google will index it as a special “Review” post, complete with your star rating and Google+ profile pic next to your review listing.

Why is this better than using a plugin? For one, ClickBump theme already maps your post titles, post/page excerpt, author title, post date, etc to your page as metadata. There’s no need to duplicate this metadata just to tell the schema markup engine something it should already know.

So we don’t.

We default in all of that data and pass it along to the schema engine so that you don’t have to duplicate efforts. Just create the post, give it a title or custom title, add a post excerpt and a rating, you’re done. You don’t have to take extra steps to tell a plugin what your post is about, that you are the author, that the post was written today, etc. etc. That’s madness!

What about articles & posts that are not reviews?

ClickBump automatically marks up your “standard” posts & articles up in the proper “Article” schema as outlined at schema.org. For example, If you have not assigned a star rating to the post, ClickBump automatically marks it up as an “Article“, with the proper schema to insure your posts validate in the Rich Snippets Testing Tool. You don’t have to do a thing other than continue writing great content.

This assumes you’ve already added yourself as a contributor to the site under your Google+ Profile page. If you haven’t done that, head there now and click on “Profile > About > Links > Edit” and add your site to the list of sites you are a “Contributor to“.

This insures that your  page provides Google (and other search engines that support schema markup) with all the necessary markup code they need to properly classify your article.

Providing structured data in this manner insures your pages get maximum exposure in search results.

That’s it. No messing with complex schema markup or having to know all of the complicated jargon at schema.org. And no fussing with complex, memory hogging plugins. The Clickbump theme does it all for you under the hood.

Why not just use a plugin for this?

The core benefits of using an integrated schema tool like ClickBump vs using a plugin are two-fold:

  1. First, the structured data markup is applied to the semantically clean html5 tags that are already in your markup. There are no extra div containers added to your markup just to support schema. Plugins have no choice but to add extra wrapper divs and spans all around your content.
  2. The second advantage is that everything just works. No worrying over conflicts. And its super easy to implement. Just one click if you want to classify a post as a review with star ratings. That’s it.

I tested dozens of plugins before I decided to bake this functionality into the core theme and I can tell you, they are way over the top in the amount of data they require you to input – they make my head hurt!

Adding star ratings to your posts could not be easier to do. I’ve added a “Google Search Preview” panel to the post editor to allow you to see your search results listing before it appears in Google!

See Your Search Results Before they Appear on Google!

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New in 6.5 – preview how your page will look to Google searchers

What about all the other Article types like Event, Person, Product, Recipe etc?

Google currently applies rich snippet markup to numerous article types like Event, Person, Product, Recipe, Organization, etc. However, for the purposes of highlighting your search results, they all look exactly the same as the standard “Article” markup in search results listings – with the exception of Review, Recipe and Event.

When and if Google rolls out a new update that expands this to provide noticeable differences in highlighted search listings for various document types, it may make sense to enhance the markup selector tools in the theme in order to classify your posts into one of these microtargeted document types.

Currently, I believe Article and Review offer the most bang for the buck, and I’m open to your suggestions for additional types you will be using.

Hit the Submit button in the comments below and let me know what you think.

25 Responses to “Rich Snippets & Star Ratings for Google”

  1. yathav says:

    actually i have something to ask .
    do we need to add review url for rating to appear on snippet in serp . if yes suggest me about review url, i have no idea about that .

  2. Thanks Scott! I was looking for this article! And by the way do we need tp put our picture if we want to be an approved author?
    Thanks

    • Yes, I believe the picture is required. It also helps boost your CTR from the serps. Rich Snippet listings get upwards of 20-30% more clicks than non enhanced listings.

  3. will says:

    Does Google+ Local allow rich snippets stars anymore? I only see them on G+ Local for review sites and not local business listings….

  4. Bravo… I just booked a new customer today on a long term contract and this will be perfect to set up on their site.

    The beta before this release has performed great on http://www.publicawarenesscampaign.com but it looks like I am going to bump it up to this new release due to the new features.

    I love that you have the Mad Scientist thing going like a few of us – keep up the good work…

    Looking forward to giving it a spin!

    • Thanks Chris! Your sites always push the envelope of what’s possible. I’m glad to have you on board.

      I’d be interested in hearing which of the new features you’ll be looking to use the most.

  5. snoopy says:

    You’re been busy!

    looking forward to the beta! Am hoping I can test this on a new ‘non-critical’ site so i can give it a good test run 🙂

    Where will the details of the beta be published?

  6. martino says:

    Hi there,
    that looks great. When will 6.5 become available ?

    • Hi Martino, thanks for the kind words. Version 6.5 will be released in beta on March 27th first week of April. The final release will probably drop a few weeks later. Are their specific features you looking forward to?

  7. Lee says:

    Wonderful Scott, cannot wait to load this up when it is ready.

  8. Rick Knight says:

    Wow Scott, your Clickbump theme just gets more amazing. Can’t wait to see how adding stars will help my fledgling Amazon review sites that I have. Looking forward to the release of this update.

    • Hi Rick, star ratings are tailor made for Amazon review sites. In essence, its akin to the boost in traffic and inquiries you would receive from a very large classified ad with lots of visual enhancement.

      Your listings **STAND OUT** apart from the rest. And having a star rating beside them, gives them extra credibility in the eyes of the person doing the search.

      Just make sure you are consistent with your reviews and don’t be afraid to throw a one star out there to warn away people from bad products. People will remember that more than a 5 star review in a sea of 5 star reviews.

  9. Cemlyn says:

    That’s great Scott. Another plugin I can get rid of nd it looks as if your version will work much easier and cleaner than a plugin as well.

    Great work

    • Thanks Cemlyn, hopefully this helps with your site traffic! Are you already using star ratings for your review posts? Which plugin do you use?

    • Cemlyn says:

      Hi Scott. It’s actually called RichSnippets but I have had very mixed results from no snippet at all on the majority of my products to partial snippet. The plugin takes elements from the product site and if anything I have selected is missing, nothing gets entered so it is very hit and miss. The biggest problem for me has been that it can take Google several weeks before it decides to include the snippet.

      Looking forward to trying yours.

  10. Don Jacob says:

    Scott,
    Great solution and just what I need. Do you have an example site that currently shows the snippets in the SERPs?
    I googled ‘clickbump snippets’ but don’t see the stars along side your URL – as shown in the screenshots. Maybe am missing something?

    Thanks
    Don

    • Hi Don, the post had been indexed prior to my adding a star rating to it (this function was just added to the code a few days ago).

      However, once the googlebot recrawls the site, and the index gets updated to reflect the new markup, I expect the star ratings to show just as the rich snippets testing tool (from which I took the screenshot) reflects.

      • Don Jacob says:

        Thanks Scott, will check out the stars later on the SERPS after google has indexed and implement accordingly.

        In the past,I had used WP snippet plugins that worked and showed the stars for my high PR sites, but one fine day, scroogle decided not to display the stars despite the Structure Data Testing Tool showing as formatted ok.

        Nowadays I see stars mainly for big authority sites such as yelp and amazon.

        I would love to see them working for my sites again and will do a test run and report back.

  11. Perfect says:

    Scott!! What should I say.. this is getting crazy.. few days back I was thinking about adding stars to the Google search results and here you are with the solution… That’s why I can’t move away from Clickbump.. No need to add another plugin.. its all built in there. Thanks Scott.
    Many Thanks to keep it updated…

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