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Aggregate Rating schema for a lead gen site?

     
6:25 pm on May 29, 2019 (gmt 0)

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My client has a <niche professional> referral site that ranks for "find a <niche professional>" keywords. They collect leads via fill form then sell them to <niche professionals> in their network.

The <niche professional> firms I compete with sometimes use aggregate rating schema, which makes sense for a small business. But what about my client's service? Can I apply aggregate rating schema for them and actually see it show up in SERPs?


[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 12:56 am (utc) on May 30, 2019]
[edit reason] Exemplified niche.... [/edit]

11:27 am on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Tom Snow... sorry you haven't gotten some responses on this yet. As you've described your client's professional referral site, I'm assuming that the searches you're targeting are geo-modified names of the professional services that you're selling leads for... eg, doctor, lawyer, plumber, etc... with a given site targeting only one professional niche. I'm not sure how wide a geo area (and I see you've posted another thread asking about optimizing for multiple locations).

They collect leads via fill form then sell them to <niche professionals> in their network

As I'll describe with specifics from Google's guidelines below, this is the important part in relation to schema. I interpret this to say that you are not naming the professionals or their companies on your site... ie, they are anonymous to the user, who reaches them via the form request. This suggests that there's no likely way that your users could be supplying a review per Google's snippet guidelines, as I will describe.

...firms I compete with sometimes use aggregate rating schema, which makes sense for a small business

Yes, it does makes sense for a small business, assuming the page with the snippet could rank for that business by name. It doesn't make sense for a business that you locate via a "professionname place" search, if there is no businessname identification on that page.

To try to scope this out a bit in the Google guidelines, which, from your questions, it sounds like you already understand...
...aggregate rating schema fall under Google's "Review snippets" guidelines, which one must read carefully to get a sense of Google's intent.

Review snippet
[developers.google.com...]

The biggest clues fall under Google's "technical guidelines"... and I'll select a few to quote below....

Technical guidelines

- Make sure to mark up an aggregate evaluation of an item by many people with schema.org/AggregateRating. Google may display aggregate ratings as rich snippets or, for certain types of items, answers in search results.....

- Make sure the reviews and ratings you mark up are readily available to users from the marked-up page. It should be immediately obvious to users that the page has review content.

- Provide review information about a specific item, not about a category or a list of items.

* Recommended: Hesperia Madrid Hotel
* Not recommended: Top 10 hotels in Madrid

And, most important...
If the critic review is for a local business, you must follow these additional guidelines:
- Ratings must be sourced directly from users.
- Don't rely on human editors to create, curate, or compile ratings information for local businesses; instead, use critic review structured data.
- Sites must collect ratings information directly from users and not from other sites.

I don't see how it's possible to follow these guidelines if you're not targeting a specific business-name directly on the page and site on which the review appears, which would rightly be for the small business itself... not for a lead generation site.

I believe I've seen reviews on review sites that effectively sell review space to individual businesses... but users are interacting with the review site, not with the site of the business.

I haven't checked markup in sites like Yelp, but Yelp also is a kind of review directory with comprehensive listings, and I think would satisfy the technical requirements. Yelp is then selling ad space, not business leads.

These are best guesses to respond to your post. Hope this helps.

6:18 pm on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@robertcharlton

Excellent break down!

I think you're right, I don't see how aggregate rating would apply to my pages if they're not about a specific business.

I think I can apply AggregrateRating schema to articles however. I've noticed competitors have 5-star rating systems under their articles ("How helpful did you find this article?", which reflect as rich snippets in the SERPs.

Thanks again!
12:00 am on June 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I've noticed competitors have 5-star rating systems under their articles ("How helpful did you find this article?", which reflect as rich snippets in the SERPs.

Candidly, I'd look on this with a very critical eye. Google has been trying to raise the bar on rich snippets, and while they've said they are looking for evidence that these raters aren't paid reviewers, I've seen reports that the system has been gamed, which puts even legit reviews under a larger cloud than there has been.

Do not automatically assume that schema markup by itself will result in rich snippets.

12:46 am on June 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Do not automatically assume that schema markup by itself will result in rich snippets.


Take this to the bank. Just about everything that "works" has been gamed by bad actors ... and thus the original benefit intended has been offset.

YMMV

Meanwhile, do it straight old school and generally get positive results.

There are no magic bullets these days.

(not doom and gloom, just a reminder that sometimes ordinary hard work still gets the job done!)
1:03 am on June 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@tangor @robert_charlton

I see what you're saying when it comes to rating schema.

On a slightly related topic, with apparently 50% of Google searches being no-click these days (thanks to rich results like featured snippets), do you think we can afford to not optimize content for featured snippets (with HTML semantic elements and Schema wrapping the content meant to fill the featured snippets we see for certain queries)?

That's an area that I don't see being gamed. But interested to hear from experts.
1:58 am on June 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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All I see is if you make it pretty for g ... g will abuse it. If the SNIPPET SATISFIES the user at the g spot (pun intended), will the user ever have a need to "cluck through" to see what you have?

There's only so many games I will play ... but do note this is a personal perspective and not likely popular among the hoi polli of webmasters.

Disclaimer, I gave up on g years ago. Burned too many times with their "suggestions" being walked back or changed horses mid-stream. I will not help them take over the web---or my content. As for adsense ... moved on to richer pastures a few years before that and never looked back.
4:51 pm on June 24, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@tangor

Hoi polloi. Lmao. Thank you for that.