In today’s digital age, consumers rely heavily on online reviews and ratings to inform their purchasing decisions. It is no surprise then, that businesses are constantly seeking ways to enhance their online presence and reputation.

One of the most widely used and influential rating systems is the star rating on Google. This system, which ranges from 1 to 5 stars, is prominently present on businesses’ Google listings, and has a significant impact on their visibility and credibility.

However, many businesses and consumers alike may not fully understand the functionality and importance of these star ratings.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of Google’s star rating system, exploring its purpose, algorithms, and the potential impact it can have on businesses.

By the end, readers will have a thorough understanding of how star ratings work, and how they can effectively utilize them to improve their online presence and attract more customers.

So, whether you are a business owner looking to enhance your online reputation, or a consumer wanting to make informed purchasing decisions, this guide will provide you with the necessary knowledge to navigate the world of star ratings on Google.

A Badge of Honor

In the past, the desire five-star review was a badge of honor that could only be put on view in a tight section of a website, showcasing a company’s reputation. However, the landscape has transformed significantly, with Google now placing these stars in the spotlight, prominently showcasing them on branded search engine results pages (SERPs) and beyond.

The presence of star ratings holds immense potential for businesses, as they serve as a powerful tool to cultivate trust among potential customers, enhance local search rankings, and ultimately drive conversions.

This comprehensive guide endeavors to unravel the intricacies of star ratings and elucidate their functionality.

Stars and SERPs: Understanding the Google Star Rating System

The Google star rating system is a consumer-driven evaluation mechanism designed to provide fellow consumers with an insight into the quality of a business. This system assigns a numerical score ranging from one to five stars, indicating the level of excellence exhibited by the business.

These star ratings are prominently displayed across various Google platforms, including maps and search results. They are featured in a multitude of formats such as conventional blue link search listings, advertisements, enhanced results such as recipe cards, local pack search outcomes, third-party review platforms, and even on-app store displays.

Exploring the Mechanisms Behind Google’s Star Rating System

When utilizing Google’s search engine, individuals will encounter star ratings in the displayed results. These star ratings are set by Google through the utilization of an algorithm and an average calculation for various review properties.

Google clarifies that their star rating system operates by deriving an average from all the review ratings published on Google for a particular business.

It is vital to acknowledge that this average score is not modernize immediately and may take up to two weeks to reflect any new reviews.

When users provide reviews, they are prompted to rate a business based on specific aspects of their customer experience, as well as the nature of the business being reviewed and the services offered.

For instance, plumbers may be asked to rate services such as “Install faucet” or “Repair toilet,” and Google also permits businesses to include custom services that are not listed.

When customers are prompted to give feedback, they have the option to provide positive or critical feedback or choose not to rate a particular aspect. In the latter case, this aspect is considered as unavailable for review.

A Business’s Average Score

Google utilizes this combination of feedback to calculate a business’s average score by dividing the number of positive ratings by the total number of ratings, excluding those where an aspect was not rated.

While Google star ratings generally follow this methodology, there are exceptions to their functionality. Notably, the UK and EU have imposed certain restrictions in response to concerns raised by the EU Consumer Protection Cooperation and the UK Competitions and Market Authority regarding the generation of fake reviews.

Furthermore, the type of rating search property influences the specific operations and methods employed to collect and manage reviews.

To gain a comprehensive understanding of each type of Google star rating available on the search engine results pages (SERPs), please continue reading.

Achieving Google Star Ratings Across Diverse Search Platforms

As previously stated, Google offers a diverse range of star rating options within search results, encompassing the conventional blue-link listings, advertisements, local pack outcomes, rich snippets, evaluations from external sources, and outcomes from app stores.

Herein lies a depiction of the distinct manifestations of star ratings within Google’s interface, accompanied by a comprehensive explanation of their functionality within each listing category.

The Integration of Blue Link Listings and Google Stars

As of 2021, Google begin the implementation of star ratings within organic search results, a feature that continues to be conserve till date.

By securing the presence of stars encircling their listing pages in organic search results, websites have the opportunity to differentiate themselves from their industry peers and gain a competitive edge.

Screenshot from SERPs, Google, February 2024

Attaining Google Stars on Natural Search Engine Result Pages

To enhance the visibility of prominent endorsements in your organic search outcomes, it is imperative to incorporate schema markup into your website’s framework.

Subsequently, collaborating with your proficient development team becomes vital to seamlessly embed the requisite code on your website, thereby reflecting your average rating, highest accolades, lowest standings, and comprehensive count of ratings.

structured markup example for google star ratings and reviews

Upon implementation of the rich snippet on your website, the appearance of these snippets in the SERPs is solely set on by Google, without any definitive timeline. Notably, Google acknowledges that the display of reviews in search results may be subject to delays, often arising from the merging of business profiles.

To ensure the accuracy of your work, Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool allows you to verify your additions. It is highly endorse to incorporate schema, as it enhances the effectiveness of your website.

However, even in the absence of schema, if your retail store possesses ratings, Google might still feature your star ratings in the search engine results.

This approach is embrace by Google to guarantee that searchers have access to a diverse range of results. According to Google, “content on your website that has been crawled and is relevant to retail may also be showcased in product listings and annotations free of charge across Google.”

Should you desire star ratings to be visible on Shopping Ads, a payment is need for such a feature.

Paid Advertising and Google Stars

The manifestation of Google Stars within paid search advertisements is commonly referred to as seller ratings, which serves as an automated extension designed to highlight advertisers who possess commendable ratings. These ratings have the potential to be featured in various forms of advertisements, including text ads, shopping ads, and free listings.

The star rating, alongside the aggregate number of votes or reviews, is prominently exhibited to provide prospective customers with valuable insights.

Furthermore, shopping ads are equipped with the capability to present supplementary product-related information, such as shipping particulars, color options, material composition, and more. This enhanced display of details enriches the consumer experience and aids in making informed purchasing decisions.

Screenshot from SERPs ads, Google, February 2024

In the past, text advertisements were identified as “ads” while, more recently, they have undergone an enhancement and now bear the designation of “sponsored,” as symbolize below.

Screenshot from SERPs ads, Google, February 2024

Achieving Google Stars on Paid Advertisements

In order to avail the benefits of free listings, sellers are required to adhere to a set of mandatory guidelines pertaining to the handling of personal information, prevention of spam and malware, adherence to legal obligations, implementation of proper return policies, and more.

Additionally, sellers must either submit a feed via the Google Merchant Center or employ structured data markup on their website, as detailed in the preceding section.

Furthermore, it is essential for sellers to incorporate their shipping settings to complete the participation process.

In certain instances, ecommerce sellers who have not implemented schema markup may still find their content displayed in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

In order for star ratings to be exhibit in text ads and shopping ads, sellers typically need to possess a minimum of 100 reviews within the past 12 months.

A Specific Threshold

Moreover, paid advertisers must also meet a specific threshold for their seller ratings to be visible in text ads. This requirement serves to differentiate higher-quality advertisers from their competitors.

To illustrate, text ads must maintain a minimum rating of 3.5 in order for Google star ratings to be display.

It is worth noting that Google evaluates reviews on a per-country basis, meaning the minimum review threshold of 100 only applies to one region at a time.

For instance, if a Canadian ecommerce company desires to display star ratings in their ads, they must have obtained a minimum of 100 reviews from customers within Canada within the previous year.

Google takes into account reviews from its own Google Customer Reviews platform, as well as from approved third-party partner review sites listed among its 29 supported review partners. This facilitated integration of review sources enables sellers to more easily meet the annual minimum review threshold.

Google additionally requires the following:

  • The domain associated with the ratings must align precisely with the one displayed in the advertisement.
  • A thorough research evaluation of your website made by Google or its affiliates.
  • The incorporated reviews must pertain solely to the product or service being propose.

Results of the Local Pack and Google Rating

Local businesses are entrust with a myriad of opportunities to enhance their visibility on Google, encompassing the utilization of Places, local map results, and a Google Business Profile page. These platforms effectively showcase star ratings, thereby enabling potential customers to make informed decisions based on the reputation of a business.

Moreover, consumers have the added convenience of sorting local pack results by their respective ratings, as demonstrated in the illustrative image below.

Screenshot from SERPs local pack, Google, February 2024

Unveiling the Art of Acquiring Google’s Prominent Rating System

In order to enhance visibility in local search results, the inclusion of a Google Business Profile is indispensable.

While customers have the autonomy to spontaneously leave reviews on local business platforms, Google strongly advocates business proprietors to actively solicit feedback from their valued clientele. To achieve this, Google offers valuable recommendations:

  • Cordially request your customers to share their experiences by leaving a review, and facilitate the process by providing them with a direct link to your review pages.
  • Ensure that the prompts for leaving reviews are both accessible and user-friendly, compatible with both desktop and mobile platforms.
  • Demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction by promptly responding to their reviews, after ensuring your verification as a provider on Google.
  • It is of utmost importance to refrain from offering any form of incentives in exchange for reviews, as this practice is strictly cast down.

By adhering to these prudent guidelines, businesses can significantly augment their online presence and foster a positive reputation among their clientele.

In addition to Google, patrons have the ability to assign star ratings on alternative local review platforms. These ratings can be combine by Google and exhibit on local business search platforms.

However, it may require a maximum of two weeks for newly obtain local reviews to be include into the overall scoring system.

Upon receiving customer feedback, owners of Google Business Profiles are provided with a range of comprehensive measures to effectively administer and regulate these reviews.

Screenshot from Google Business Profile Help, Google, February 2024

Enhancing Outcomes of High Value, such as Culinary Creations, and Google Noteworthy Rankings

The necessity of sustenance is universal, prompting us to commemorate food in diverse manners, such as the establishment of recipe blogs.

As restaurants place their reliance on local evaluations, organic search outcomes, and even paid advertisements, food bloggers endeavor to garner ratings for their culinary creations.

Resembling other forms of assessments, recipe cards showcased in search results exhibit the mean evaluation score along with the cumulative count of reviews.

Screenshot from search for [best vegan winter recipes], Google, February 2024

The result has emerged as a subject of disagreement within the food blogging community, as Google desktop results only display three recipes per search (as depicted in the aforementioned image), while mobile browsers showcase four. These sought-after positions hold the power to attract clicks, leaving those who have not mastered online customer reviews trailing behind.

Consequently, the prominence of a recipe is not solely determine by its quality.

Google offers users the choice to select “Show more” in order to unveil two supplementary rows of results.

Screenshot from SERPs, Google, February 2024

Users have the convenience of accessing an extensive array of recipe results by simply clicking the “Show more” button. This feature enables searchers to effortlessly explore additional culinary options.

Moreover, individuals utilizing Google Home can seamlessly search for recipes and obtain comprehensive results via their mobile devices.

Screenshot from Elfsight, February 2024

Likewise, the Google Home assistant can receive recipe search outcomes effortlessly from the device. These two approaches facilitate seamless and interactive guidance through recipes, allowing users to employ instructions such as “initiate recipe,” “proceed to the subsequent step,” or even inquire about the quantity of olive oil necessary.

Attaining Google’s Star Ratings for Recipe Search Outcomes

In order to facilitate the display of star ratings on organic blue-link listings, food bloggers and recipe websites are counsel to incorporate schema into their websites. Yet, this process is not as simple as merely presenting the average rating and total number of ratings.

Developers must diligently adhere to Google’s guidance on recipe markup, following both the obligatory and suggested markup requirements.

Required Markup For Recipes

  • Recipe Title.
  • Visual representation of the recipe, available in BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, WebP, or SVG file formats.

Recommended Markup For Recipes

  • Overall rating derived from users’ ratings and reviews.
  • Authorship attribution.
  • Duration of each cooking and preparation phase, as well as the total elapsed time.
  • Date of initial publication.

Summary Outlining

  • Concise summary outlining the recipe’s characteristics.
  • Relevant search terms that accurately describe the recipe.
  • Detailed nutritional content and dietary information.
  • Required preparation time.
  • Categorization of the recipe based on the type of meal, such as “dinner.”

The Recipe’s Origin

  • Geographical region associated with the recipe’s origin or cultural influence.
  • Complete list of ingredients and quantities.
  • Step-by-step instructions for preparing the dish.
  • Total number of servings or yield.
  • Comprehensive time required for the entire recipe, including all stages.
  • Multimedia element (such as video) and supplementary markup, if a visual demonstration is comprise within the recipe.

Imperative to Incorporate

In order to ensure the inclusion of recipes within Google Assistant Guided Recipes, it is imperative to incorporate the following markup.

  • List of ingredients used in the recipe.
  • Step-by-step instructions for preparing the recipe.
  • In order to incorporate the video feature, include the contentUrl.

For example, here’s what the structured markup would look like for the recipeIngredient property:

Screenshot from Google Developer, February 2024

External Review Platforms and Google Ratings

Numerous software enterprises heavily depend on external review platforms to facilitate their customers’ informed decision-making process.

External review platforms encompass any online platform that is not posses by the brand, where customers can submit their reviews. Well-known examples include Yelp, G2, and various others.

Prominent among these platforms, as exemplified by Featured Customers, is the capacity to showcase star ratings directly within Google search results, enhancing the visibility and credibility of software products.

Screenshot from SERPs listing of a review site, Google, February 2024

Rich snippets derived from external reviews, encompassing elements like star ratings, concise descriptions, or overall rankings, are capable of manifesting within a Google Business Profile or map view, provided they originate from authorized sources.

In the context of local enterprises, the star ratings conferred by Google materialize at distinct locations on a desktop interface, as opposed to the placements allocated for third-party reviews.

Screenshot from SERPs listing of a review site, Google, February 2024

The Google Business Profile of a company exhibits ratings exclusively on the mobile platform, necessitating users to either access the Reviews section or engage in scrolling downwards to view third-party reviews.

Screenshot from SERPs listing of a review site, Google, February 2024

When viewing a map, one may notice that third-party information becomes more noticeable, such as the Tripadvisor review that appears when searching for The Hilton in Vancouver. However, it is worth mentioning that this review does not include a star rating, despite the fact that Tripadvisor does provide star ratings.

Screenshot from SERPs listing of a review site, Google, February 2024

Achieving Google Stars on External Review Platforms

The optimal approach to obtaining a review on an external review platform is contingent upon identifying the most suitable platform for the particular brand or business. Should there be a substantial customer base actively utilizing platforms such as Yelp or Tripadvisor, it may prove advantageous to actively interact with customers on these platforms.

Screenshot from SERPs listing of a review site, Google, February 2024

In a comparable manner, in the event that your branded search yields results from a reputable software review platform such as Trustpilot, it may be advantageous to launch an email campaign targeting your customer base, urging them to contribute their valuable feedback on that particular site.

To offer further insight, Google acknowledges a selection of distinguished third-party review websites, including but not limited to:

  • Trustpilot
  • Reevoo
  • Bizrate, accessible through the reputable platform Shopzilla.

By strategically leveraging these recognized platforms, you can enhance your brand’s reputation and credibility, while also benefiting from the valuable feedback and reviews shared by your esteemed customers.

In regards to third-party evaluations, Google emphasizes to businesses that they do not possess the ability to exempt themselves from such reviews. Consequently, any concerns or grievances must be administer towards the proprietors of the respective third-party platforms.

App Store Rankings and Google Reviews

In instances where businesses offer an application as their central product, they commonly depend on downloads from the App Store and Google Play Store. Directly from the search engine results pages (SERPs), users can readily observe the star ratings of an application, along with the overall number of votes and other crucial details, such as its pricing model.

Screenshot from SERP play store results, Google, February 2024

Strategies for Earning Stellar Ratings on App Store Results by Google

Companies have the opportunity to showcase their iOS applications within the esteemed App Store or the widely recognized Google Play store. This platform allows them to actively encourage valuable feedback from their esteemed clientele and effectively engage with their user base by promptly addressing their reviews and inquiries.

Can The Google Star Rating Exert An Impact On The Rankings of SEO?

John Mueller has confirmed that Google does not take star ratings or customer reviews into consideration when determining web search rankings. Nevertheless, it is important to note that Google does acknowledge the influence of star ratings on local search results and rankings.

According to Google, the count and score of reviews play a role in determining the ranking of local businesses in search results. Thus, having more positive reviews and higher ratings can positively impact the local ranking of your business.

Although star ratings do not directly affect non-local organic search rankings, they do serve as a valuable conversion tool. They can help you establish social proof, enhance credibility, and ultimately increase the click-through rate from search engines. This, in turn, may indirectly impact your search rankings.

For local businesses, both Google stars and third-party ratings are prominently put on view in both desktop and mobile searches. These ratings not only enable local businesses to surpass their competitors in search results for relevant keywords but also serve as a persuasive factor, encouraging more customers to click on their listings.

This aspect holds significant importance in the competitive landscape of search engine visibility for every company.

Methods for Enhancing My Star Rating

In order to enhance their Google star rating, enterprises should commence the process by asserting ownership of their Google Business Profile and ensuring that all pertinent information is both comprehensive and current.

In the event that a company has already accomplished these initial measures and aims to counterbalance an unsatisfactory rating, it is imperative to garner additional reviews that will effectively counter the overall average.

To acquire more Google reviews, organizations can facilitate the process for customers by simplifying the procedure. The initial stride for any company is to obtain the link that enables customers to conveniently leave a review within their Google Business Profile.

Screenshot from Wordstream, February 2024

Subsequently, enterprises have the capability to directly distribute this link to their clientele (wherein the link exhibits four available options), incorporate it into their social media platforms, and even allocate specific sections on their website to accumulate more reviews or showcase feedback from other users.

While it remains uncertain whether addressing reviews will bolster the local ranking of a business, it remains prudent for corporations to respond to reviews on their Google Business Profile to enhance their overall ratings.

This is due to the fact that responding to reviews can entice other customers to share their feedback, as they are aware that their opinions will be recognize, and because the business owner is actively engaging with the input provided.

For businesses providing services, Google offers customers the opportunity to rate different aspects of their experience.

This feature is beneficial as it allows reviewers who have had a negative encounter to specifically rate the individual aspect rather than providing an overall one-star review.

Does Having A Star Rating On Google Matter? Yes! So Shoot For The Stars

Stars serve as an effective indicator of quality for consumers, consistently elevating click-through rates in their presence.

The presence of higher star ratings in local listings, paid advertisements, and app downloads fosters consumer trust and drives purchasing decisions towards reputable brands.

Numerous in-depth studies have consistently underscored this phenomenon, affirming the significant impact of star ratings. Thus, it is essential not to underestimate the value of reviews.

Conduct a comprehensive evaluation of your brand’s visibility within Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) and strive to secure stars alongside a multitude of placements.

Nevertheless, it is crucial to acknowledge that the ultimate determinant of star ratings on Google lies in the exceptional service and experiences delivered by companies, cultivating positive reviews from satisfied customers.

In Conclusion

Star ratings play a crucial role in the online reputation of businesses, and understanding their functionality is essential for success in the digital landscape. By utilizing strategies such as actively managing and responding to reviews and optimizing your Google My Business listing, you can improve your star rating and attract more customers.

It is important to continuously monitor and improve your star rating to maintain a positive online presence and stand out among competitors. With a comprehensive understanding of how star ratings work, businesses can effectively utilize this feature to showcase their credibility and attract potential customers.

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