Get Stars or Review Ratings By Your Google Search Results Listings
This all started last year but recently it came back up in one of my favorite forums. Here is a snippet from Jon's post and below is my take on what I feel about it.
Source: JL Forums
By: Jon Leger
Have you noticed ratings in Google's search results?
To see some live examples, search Google for wordpress seo plugin. Those ratings really make the results stand out, don't they? It's especially striking when there's only one or two ratings on the results page.
What's causing these ratings to show up in the search results? Google is scraping the hreview microformat standard and including it in their search results. You can read about it on Google's "rich snippets" support page.
How can you get ratings to show up for your pages? If you use WordPress, it's a snap. Install this plugin and voila! Google-indexed reviews.
As with all things Google does, this is being seriously gamed.
Go here to read more on this by Jon Leger.
My Take On Google Search Star Ratings (micro format)
I completely agree with Jon that this has been being gamed for awhile now but it's about to get worse.
It's getting easier to show up for results now, more people know about it and more people are looking for unethical ways to abuse it. Just take a look in some of the popular forums and you'll see what I mean.
Stuff like this is too easy to fake, lie about and manipulate. Even if they make changes to this and make it harder to game the system eventually website owners will just pay people to start giving other competitors lower ratings in the search engines.
I understand Google's strive to constantly innovate; that's why they took over the search engine market long ago.
Unfortunately, if you run review style sites you probably need to play the review rankings game until Google realizes that too many people are faking it and manipulating it.
Another Interesting Thing From The Thread
Back in the original forum where I read about this another poster mentioned they are getting micro data pulled into their listings while for the same product Amazon isn't.
To me, with the authority that Amazon has that seems almost nonsensical.
The problem I have with it being pulled from anywhere is that even if it were to pull ratings numbers from Amazon, those too can be easily faked. In the Amazon forums you'll find hundreds of merchants swapping reviews, paying people to fake reviews for them and review "groups" who just give each other great ratings.
I honestly do not like the direction Google is taking on a lot of things recently, including this one. However, when you are the lone giant and everyone else is an ant it's impossible to help shift their direction.
In closing if you have a review site at least take the recommended steps listed above from the JL Forms. Also I fully recommend getting involved in the discussion there if you have deeper questions on the subject.
Do you have any experience with micro data in the Google search engines yet? Are you seeing stars (in the Google sense not in the "I drank too much" or "got smacked in the head" sense?