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Schema Markup for Reviews

Copy that is submitted, instead of self-created, can be some of the most valuable content on your website. If you write your own copy – or advise your clients about types of copy for their website – don’t let the power of the review or testimonial go unnoticed.

Happy customers that provide feedback in the form of reviews are invaluable to the online business operator. Showing future customers that past customers trusted and appreciated their product or service is a major factor in turning lookers into bookers. Taking that review content and turning it into a powerhouse of click-through and ranking is the copywriter’s job.

While it is not okay to alter a review – using Schema.org markup to enhance how that review is displayed in search results is allowed. By wrapping simple code around that submitted review – you’re opening the door to the star ratings that could show up in the search results, or even the ranking power of the term “blue widget reviews.” If your competition is not taking advantage, telling the search engines that this page features reviews submitted by customers not just in text, but in code, can make a huge difference.

Although Google does not show it as frequently – reviews and ratings that are marked up still show in search engines. Those stars are based in the Schema.org protocol for ratings and reviews.

coffee maker schema markup

The rules state you can only include ratings for products or service reviews that are published on your website and contain ratings on that page – so you cannot mark up ratings from consumer reports on your website. The best way to include these reviews is to collect them from customers and publish them on your site. The rule is: always collect a rating out of 5 stars with each review. So you publish the code like this:

<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Review”>

<a itemprop=”url” href=”http://www.trello.com”><div itemprop=”name”><strong>Trello Software Review</strong></div>

</a>

<div itemprop=”description”>Review of Trello Project Management Software</div>

<div itemprop=”reviewBody”>This is a great, free, project management software that allows you to create boards for each project and cards for each task in a project.  Multiple members of a team can collaborate and add notes to each card or board, and tasks can be assigned to team members with due dates, etc.  This is a must have for any business, large or small, that wants to get work done!</div>

<div itemprop=”author” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Person”>

Written by: <span itemprop=”name”>Carrie Hill</span></div>

<div itemprop=”itemReviewed” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Thing”>

<span itemprop=”name”>Trello Project Management Software</span></div>

<div><meta itemprop=”datePublished” content=”2014-01-12″>Date published: 01/12/2014</div>

<div itemprop=”reviewRating” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Rating”>

<meta itemprop=”worstRating” content=”0″><span itemprop=”ratingValue”>4.5</span> / <span itemprop=”bestRating”>5</span> stars</div>

</div>

The review above is for a software program we use at IgnitorDigital to keep track of tasks, assignments and projects. If I were the copywriter in charge of the Trello.com account, I would encourage them to publish this review on a page that features testimonials. If I published multiple reviews on one page – I would then add the markup for “aggregate ratings” to my code.  That looks something like this:

<div itemprop=”aggregateRating” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/AggregateRating”>

<span itemprop=”ratingValue”>4</span> stars – based on <span itemprop=”reviewCount”>250</span> reviews

</div>

Now the search result would contain data about individual reviews, and the aggregate rating. If we look at our coffee maker review again, we can see that the Chow.com result only features markup for one review – with a rating, not an aggregate rating – while the Williams-Sonoma.com review contains markup for aggregate ratings, showing a 3.3 rating over 38 reviews. Williams-Sonoma.com also marks up the price of the product so that appears in the rich snippet as well.  Google wants to deliver as much information as possible in the snippet, so providing them with data in an easy-to-read format ensures your listing in the search engines stands out.

aggregate review schema

Remember the rules:

  • Only mark up reviews given by real customers and published on your website – don’t copy reviews from Consumer Reports and mark them up.
  • Only include aggregate rating or rating markup if you collect a rating with your review.  You cannot include rating markup if your reviews do not contain ratings.
  • You cannot use review markup on a page containing multiple products and services – one per page means more content on your website!
  • Review of adult-related products or services are not supported.
  • The name of the person giving the review needs to be a “real name.” The name “50% off while supplies last” is not a valid name and will be rejected or filtered

The more content you mark up, the easier it is for the search engines to read and understand what the data on your page is about. This is a bonus for webmasters. The only caveat is – don’t try to mislead the search engines, and no amount of markup can guarantee a result. If you’ve done everything 100% correctly, Google still doesn’t “have” to display your rich snippet – but you have a much better shot than if you didn’t mark up anything at all.

About the Author

Carrie Hill is the co-founder of IgnitorDigital.com – an online marketing agency that specializes in moving the needle for small business owners and marketers without a lot of resources. Carrie specializes in the technical SEO issues that can stand in the way of a novice website owner and helps them understand those issues and resolve them efficiently.  You can follow Carrie on Twitter or Google+!

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Make your SEO content shine in search with Schema

SEO expert Carrie Hill shows how using Schema mark-up can be a valuable SEO skill setAs an SEO content writer, you’re constantly looking for ways to expand your offerings and set yourself apart from others in your niche.

While skill and great training can set you apart from a good many, being able to offer marked up content that is search-engine friendly is going to set you apart from 99% of the others.

It is an advanced SEO skill set worth its weight in gold!

Adding Schema.org protocols to the content you write – and that of your clients – can improve ranking results and add some much needed click-through support to search engine listings.

Advising clients to mark up their existing content with address, product, and review or event markup can expand the reach of the SEO content you write and, in turn, increase your freelance copywriting rates accordingly!

A few weeks ago, I gave a presentation to Heather Lloyd-Martin’s SEO Copywriting Certification students and grads about how to use Schema mark-up and its value as a prized SEO copywriting skill set. Here are some of the highlights:

What are the best Schema protocols to learn as an SEO content writer?

First, I recommend you start small.  Learn how to do one type of markup and do it well.

You can write the code for Schema.org and place the code in the Rich Snippets Testing Tool to see if it validates correctly.

Always check your validation before publishing and right after publishing.  (See the tools I like in the “Tools” section below.)

1. Location & Mobile

If your client has a location-based brick-and-mortar business, marking their address up with Schema.org/LocalBusiness markup makes a lot of sense.  It’s one of the easiest schemas to implement and it can affect not only search engine traffic, but I speculate this could help immensely with Mobile search in the future.

If you use Google Now, and are familiar with their “card’ system – you can see how data that is structured could be very useful to search engines and other local search websites.

Use this code by copying and pasting into a text editor like Notepad and replacing the generic text with your clients’ data:

<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/LocalBusiness”>

<a itemprop=”url” href=”http://www.ClientWebsite.com”><div itemprop=”name”><strong>Client’s Company Name Here</strong></div>

</a>

<div itemprop=”description”>A short description here – maybe 1-2 sentences. You CAN leave this out, but it helps if you can use keywords and the city state in the description</div>

<div itemprop=”address” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/PostalAddress”>

<span itemprop=”streetAddress”>1234 Oak Street, Suite 444</span><br>

<span itemprop=”addressLocality”>Anytown, </span><span itemprop=”addressRegion”>CO </span><span itemprop=”postalCode”>55555  </span><span itemprop=”addressCountry”>USA</span><br>

<div itemprop=”telephone”>555-123-4567</div>

</div>

</div>

2. E-Commerce Product Descriptions

Many writers are contracted to write new products descriptions for their clients.  Adding the markup to outline a product with Schema.org/Product or Schema.org/Offer code can help your client’s product stand out from the pack.

To go along with product and offer schema, review schema will add the rating stars to the search engine result listing, which can have a big impact on click through rates:

Bunn Thermal Coffee Maker

 

 

 

 

3. Events

Event markup is a fairly easy process, but is done rarely, and surprisingly  – not very well.

There are a handful of event companies and directories that do it right (check out Eventful.com for a good example) and that lack of accuracy is an opportunity for you.

Are you writing content about an event your client is putting together? Creating a listing that has an enhanced look in the search engine results is a great side –benefit.

You can see from the example below how useful that would be to the viewer:

Upcoming Events:Colorado

 

 

 

 

 

Essential Tools to Use

 

Closing Thoughts

This is an opportunity for you as an SEO copywriter to set yourself apart from your competition!

Some of the implementation of the Schema.org markup may take collaboration with the clients’ website teams, but the results could definitely be worth the effort.

You may consider offering the first bit of markup as a “freebie” to show the benefits with regards to ranking and click-through, proving to the client the value behind your expertise.

However you approach it, knowing more about how to make content rank well, and achieve a larger number of clicks, can only enhance your reputation as an SEO content writer.

 

About the Author ~ Carrie Hill

Carrie Hill is the Director of Online Marketing for KeyRelevance, LLC.  She specializes in technical SEO and social media – and absolutely loves email marketing.  She is also a regular author for SEMClubhouse.com.  When not immersed in all things search, she’s a big fan of hanging with her kiddos, reading, cooking, gardening.  Find Carrie on Twitter @CarrieHill or on Google+.

image thanks to crazyseo20 (Crazy Seo)

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