Google scrapes reviews from other websites for Google Places. Traditionally, these came from large local review websites.
But now you can get reviews from your site onto Places. Google is starting to include hReview formatted reviews from other websites – and even some from small businesses using hReview. Read on for an hReview how-to.
What Is hReview?
hReview is a microformat. Basically, html tags are used to help search engines understand your content. Invisible to normal readers, the hReview tags say, “The business we are talking about is named companyname, located at address, with 999.999.9999 phone number, and here is the review: great business.” All the reader sees is the actual review. For more, read my primer on microformats for local SEO.
Setting Up hReview Tags
Manual hReview Insertion
If you manually insert customer reviews and testimonials onto your website, and are not afraid of some very simple html, then this will work great.
The easiest way to do it is to visit the Microformats.org hReview creator. Under “Type” choose “Business” (assuming you’re a local company). Fill in all the blanks you have information for, and place the generated code on your website. Visitors will see a review, and search engines will understand it.
Using A WordPress Plugin
For those using WordPress, there is a great plugin out there for gathering and displaying reviews in the hReview format. It’s called WP Customer Reviews (provided by Go Web Solutions). The plugin lets you create a reviews page, where customers can enter a review. Once approved, the reviews show on your website, automatically formatted as hReview. As a bonus, the plugin will also let you automatically show hcard’s on every page of your site.
The ability to have reviews from your website show up on Google Places is a great benefit for small companies – it also wouldn’t be surprising to see other websites scraping these reviews over time. There are just a couple caveats:
- There’s no guarantee Google will add reviews from your site or continue to do so in the future. Best guess is that Google will be picky, only adding reviews from websites it trusts. If you have great local/organic search rankings already, that should increase your odds.
- There will continue to be value in your reviews appearing at a variety of sites. Spread your reviews around with a smart online review strategy.
So continue placing reviews/testimonials on your website – and start tagging them with hReview tags – but keep on encouraging reviews at other sites as well.