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The Different Areas of Google Search Results and How You Can Get Stars in Them

When you head to Google to search for something, you may notice that there are different sections that appear.  These sections may change dependent on the search you are conducting, but it is important to know what each part means and how you can get the most out of them for your business.

For example, if you were to do a search for ‘estate agent bovey tracey’ you would see the following sections of Google search results, and this article explains how to get stars against your listings in each area.

stars-in-google-search

Stars in Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising in Google

Here we look at getting stars in Google PPC advertising, the red area below.

stars-in-ppc

These are the listings that appear at the top of the page and display with an ‘Ad’ label.  The stars that appear for listings in this area are known as Seller Ratings.  Seller Ratings originate from reviews collected on Google’s trusted partner platforms, and from Google reviews.  Reviews must be collected via the partner’s mechanisms and they are then fed in to Google.  The rating must be at least 3.5 out of 5.0, and you must collect at least 100 reviews over a rolling 12-month period in order to get stars in PPC listings.

You should expect an uplift of 10-15% in your click-through-rate from Seller Ratings, and this in turn improves your Quality Score and reduces the amount you need to bid on search terms in the Google auction.

Stars in Google Maps (the Snack Pack)

Here we look at the stars in Google Maps, the yellow area below.

stars-in-google-maps

Stars in Google Maps have become increasingly important since reviews have been moved into the Maps area thereby making them even more localised.

When Google used to display 7-9 results the area within Google search results was known as the Google Carousel, since moving to the new layout with 2 or 3 results showing this area has become known as the Snack Pack.

The stars that appear in the Snack Pack originate from the number of Google reviews you have, and the average rating from those reviews.

A recent development is on the Maps page itself, where PPC ads now have stars but these stars can come from Google reviews rather than Seller Ratings. In the example below, Savills have paid for an advertisement and have stars based on 20 Google reviews which is far below the 100 needed to qualify for Seller Ratings.

maps-seller-ratings

Stars in Natural Search Results

Here we look at the stars in Google natural search results, the green area below.

stars-in-natural-search

There are typically two types of mark up that can be applied to pages in order to get stars to appear in natural search results.  This mark up is sometimes called Schema.org mark up.  Microdata is another format that Google accepts.

Google changes its requirements around what it expects to see in this mark up from time to time, so you need to keep your mark up up-to-date across all of your pages otherwise you may lose your stars in Google natural search results.  TRUSTist does this automatically for you.

The first type of mark up is LocalBusiness mark up and should be used on your store locator, contact or about us (location specific) pages.  The second type of mark up is Organization mark up and this should be used on any of your other pages.

Note: Google will never display stars for a homepage, so you should always create a separate ‘Contact Us’ or ‘Store Locator’ page for each of your locations (even if you only have one) and use LocalBusiness mark up on that page to get stars in your natural search listings.

Having stars in your natural search results can help you to stand out from your competitors. This can then improve your click-through rate which helps you rank higher in Google search locally, and helps you convert more customers once they land on your website.

Below shows a TRUSTist client with stars in their search results:

stars-in-search-results

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If you want to know how the TRUSTist platform could benefit your business then please book a demo.

Updated on May 16, 2019

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