When a law firm’s website comes up in Google’s search results, users might see rating stars displayed between the link and the page description:
Compared to other Google SERP features, law firms actually have a lot of control over the ratings and reviews that are displayed to users in these kinds of “rich snippets.” While there is no guarantee that Google will display your review stars every time your pages come up in search, taking full advantage of this feature can make you stand out to Google’s users and stimulate more click-throughs from search.
What Your Website Needs for Review Stars to Display in Google Search
Google can only pull from what you have set up, so you need to use “review schema” on your website if you want review stars to display for your law firm. Review schema is a bit of code that lets search engines know that the review information is there and makes it possible for them to incorporate it into the results they show their users.
Essentially, you choose the reviews and ratings you would like to display, add the appropriate code to your website, and hope that Google chooses to display enhanced results for your firm.
If review stars sometimes display next to results from your website, then you already have review schema on your website. However, you still need to make sure you are using it the right way to get the most out of it (and avoid potential Google penalties):
- Don’t use review schema on your homepage. There is no need to add review schema to your homepage. Due to past abuses, Google no longer displays rating stars for homepages in organic search.
- Do use review schema for other core pages. While you can’t use review schema for your homepage, you should add it to the service area pages, office pages, about us pages, and bio pages on your website—basically all the main pages that talk directly about your firm, your attorneys and staff, and your services. At FWM, we do not recommend that you try to add review schema to blog posts, articles, or other supporting pages on your site because the reviews are almost never directly relevant to those pages.
- Reviews listed on a page must be relevant to that page. If you use review schema on a page, you should choose reviews and ratings that are directly relevant to the page. This is especially important for law firms that have multiple attorneys or many practice areas. For example, you wouldn’t want to add a review for the wrong attorney on a bio page or a review from a personal injury client on your estate planning page.
Why Aren’t Review Stars Showing on Google SERPs for My Law Firm?
If star ratings do not show up in search for your law firm, but you have already added review schema markup, the problem is probably due to:
- Messed-up code. If the review schema code you add to your website is a little off, then it could prevent search engines from using that information. If you think your code might be the source of the problem, you can contact your web provider or use Google’s Structured Data Testing tool to check for problems.
- Wrong page or place. Like we said above, Google won’t display review stars for homepages, and you should limit the use of review schema on pages that aren’t directly relevant. Google won’t display review stars if you aren’t playing by the rules.
- Google’s mysteries. There is no guarantee that Google will display review stars in every search that brings up your marked-up pages. If you only sometimes see stars for your law firm on the search results page, then everything is probably working as intended.
Keep in mind, too, that Google can and will penalize you if you abuse review schema on your website or try to “trick” search engines into enhancing results for your firm. The end result could be completely stopping your traffic, and extra traffic is the whole reason to even get involved with review schema in the first place!
Need help getting review schema to work for you? Want to take advantage of more SERP features that enhance the search results people see for your firm? Give us a call at 888.886.0939, or let’s talk about what a fresh website design can do to bring more clients through your door.