Incorporating Law Firm Review Stars on the Search Engine Results Page

Online reviews really make a difference in how your law firm is perceived by prospective clients. With 84% of consumers stating they trust online reviews as much as they trust a personal recommendation from a friend, reviews are significantly impacting the way people find service providers — including attorneys. You already know that it is important for your firm to carry a high star review rating, but how important is it for that rating to appear alongside your search listing?

Schema star ratings, or stars with review snippets that appear with your search engine results, are a great at-a-glance marketing tool that is becoming increasingly important to searchers and how they choose which sites to visit. A recent research study suggests there is a 35% increase in click-through rates when review stars appear in a company’s search engine result listings.

Companies who have a four- or five-star rating appearing directly within a Google search is going to get a higher click-through rate, but the star system also makes a great first impression. Consider this: Before the prospective client even gets to your site, they already trust the value of your services based on the schema star rating that is available directly within their search.

Ratings Rules: The Dos and Don’ts of Adding Star Ratings to Your Listing

So, how do you get these valuable stars to appear beside your Google search listing? There are a couple ways to streamline the process, and as it always will be for technically adjusted website options, there are rules.

The proper technical approach for getting the aggregate schema rating to appear on your Google search listing was designed by the search engine giant themselves. And it comes with several rules that must be followed, otherwise you risk being penalized by the very powerhouse that helps prospective clients find you.

First, Google has rules about what can and cannot be listed as part of your review snippets.

  1. Review snippets must be independent to your site, and cannot be taken from a third-party like Yelp, Facebook, or Google
  2. Testimonials/reviews where the snippets are pulled from must appear in full on your site
  3. There must be an active field on your site that allows unfiltered reviews to be posted

Simply put, if you do not have a section on your website that accepts and lists unique-to-your-website reviews, you are going to have to start there (more on this soon).

Second, do not cut corners or you will be penalized.

  • Do not use the aggregate approach on your home page, as it may send a spam signal to Google
  • You must have the reviewer’s permission to publish their words on your site
  • Use well-linked/trafficked pages to host the reviews, so they are well-received with Google and have a better chance of increasing your search engine star potential
  • Although third party reviews are allowed on your website, and may already exist there –you cannot mark them up to be rich snippets that add to your star rating

How Do I Get the Star Rating to Appear within My Search Listing?

Getting the highly coveted stars to appear alongside your search engine results listing can happen in one of three ways: Software, plug-ins, or code.

Option One: Software

The easiest way to get star ratings to appear on your search engine results page, alongside your listing, is to purchase the software that will do it for you, and Review Builder is a perfect solution.

Since Google is the premier search engine, staying on their good side is the only way you are going to be found by the masses. Review Builder, designed by the Attorney Marketing Network, will do the work for you, so you aren’t in any jeopardy of having your law firm targeted for penalties from Google.

Maximizing your star rating with software means you are simply paying the cost of the service to reap the benefits of the starring system, and its effectiveness alongside your listing.

Review Builder will:

  • Positively solicit reviews from actual, satisfied clients
  • Optimally place the reviews on your site
  • Automatically adapt the schema-rating
  • Target the data, allowing the star system to appear alongside your listing

Option Two: WordPress Plug-Ins

If your website exists in open content management like WordPress, you can download a plug-in that will mark up the values within your reviews, so you do not have to do it manually. This is incredibly helpful, but circles back around to the initial need: Reviews that are directly left and located on your website.

Again, you cannot use third-party reviews to assist in your star-ratings boost. The reviews must appear on your site and cannot be pulled or copied from other sites. This is where the Review Builder software comes in. Not only does it solicit the reviews for you, but it ensures that you are not cutting corners or jeopardizing your Google ranking.

If you are starting from the beginning, step one is the process of collecting reviews on your website. Plug-ins like Universal Star Rating is a great option to assist in your gathering process, if you prefer to do on your own.

 

If you already have the reviews on your website, or once you have started collecting them, look to programming plug-ins like WP SEO Structured Data Schema plugin to begin coding the reviews for schema ratings.

Collecting reviews and programming them to work in your favor is going to take time. Be patient with the process and know that the starred results are going to be worth it.

Option Three: Write the Code Yourself

If you already have existing reviews on your website, writing the code to wrap the schema rich information yourself is an option. And while it may appear more tedious than the software or plug-in options, there is a method that Google recommends, and it is the JSON LD.

 

Follow the instructions fully to receive positive results from your programming actions, by wrapping your reviews in the proper coding, as follows – entering the information for each category as it pertains to each review.

Once you have wrapped the reviews for the aggregate rating, use the Google Structured Data Testing Tool to check your work, and do not worry if you are prompted with a warning. Simply follow Google’s suggestions for correction and move forward. Do not disregard their warnings. It will end in penalties, and your ranking could drop immensely.

Make Intelligent Review Posting Decisions

Do not place reviews on every page of your site, and do not add them to the home page. Maintain the reviews on a page that makes sense, which — and this is ideal — can be a page that is dedicated to reviews, services, or information. Avoid adding reviews to your blog page or resource pages, or anywhere they obviously do not belong. The reviews should complement your site, not interrupt it.

Google will view sitewide ratings as an attempt at beating their system. And if there is one thing Google does not like, it is anyone trying to pull one over on them. Should you tamper with what is acceptable, you will receive a warning from inside your Google Webmaster Tools, and possibly even be assessed a palpable rankings penalty.

Google will have the final say in when the schema star system appears with your listing, and abiding by their overall rules, avoiding shortcuts, and staying above board with the review collection process will produce results sooner than later. The click-through rate that follows will have your law firm lined with prospective clients, as your search engine results listing stands out from your competitors.