How can doctors get review stars displayed in Google search results?

If you are reading this FAQ, you probably already know that some websites can display review stars between the link and the page description in Google’s search results:

For doctors and medical practices, taking full advantage of these review stars can be an easy way to build trust with potential patients and stand out from other search results. It is a feature that we recommend for our clients and think has a lot of benefit.

There is no cost for the review stars that show in Google’s organic results. However, there are a few steps you’ll need to take to get your website set up and in line with Google’s review-star rules.   

Make Sure Your Medical Practice’s Website Tells Google You Want to Display Reviews and Ratings

Google only knows about the reviews and ratings your website’s code tells it about. That means that your website provider needs to add “review schema” to certain pages on your website. This little bit of code makes the review information you choose available to search engines. The search engines can then choose to incorporate that information into the results they show their users.

If you sometimes see review stars for your practice in Google’s organic search results, then you already have review schema working on your website. While you have total control over which reviews and ratings are displayed by this feature, only Google controls when and where that information is seen by its own users.   

Avoid Google Penalties by Using Review Schema the “White Hat” Way

There are right ways to use review schema, and there are wrong ways. Abuses of review stars and review schema typically lead to Google penalties, and the search engine has even made major changes to how it uses the review-star feature to curb misuse in the past.

That means that, if you want to use review stars for your medical practice, you need to make sure that you’re using review schema right:

  • Review schema does not belong on your homepage. Widespread abuses of review schema in the past led Google to stop displaying review stars for website homepages. For now, at least, there is no need to use it on your practice’s homepage.  

  • Review schema does belong on other core pages. You should add review schema to the pages on your website that talk directly about your practice, your doctors, your staff, and your services. These should be core pages on your website, like service-area pages, office-location pages, about us pages, and bio pages.  

  • Relevance is the main concern. Google is most interested in displaying review stars that are directly relevant to a particular page. The review schema on a doctor’s bio page should only point to reviews of that doctor. The review schema on a service-area page should only point to reviews of that service. This is also why we recommend that you stick to using review schema only on your main pages. Your practice’s ratings and reviews are almost never specific to a particular blog post, FAQ, or minor supporting page on your site.

Review Stars Still Not Showing for Your Medical Practice?

Even when you add review schema to your core website pages, you won’t see review stars in every search for your practice. Google is a little mysterious about when and how review stars and other search engine results page (SERP) features are displayed.

However, if you never see stars for your doctors or practice, your problem probably lies in one of two places:

  1. The code on the page. Contact your website provider or use Google’s Structured Data Testing tool to check for errors in the code used on your pages. Any problems with the review-schema markup could interfere with search engines’ ability to display your star ratings.

  2. The page you added the code to. Google does not display review stars on certain types of pages, and we talked about why above. If you have checked your code and still don’t see review stars, it may be a sign that you are trying to use review schema on the wrong kind of page. Remember that you want to stick to main pages that are about the people in your office and the services you provide.

Google gives medical practices a lot of options for enhancing the search results that potential patients see. If you need help leveraging review schema or other search features, reach out to our team at 888.886.0939. We would also be happy to talk with you about how to build better functionality into a fresh, modern website in a website design consultation.


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