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Last updated: November 3, 2023
When you publish reviews of products on your website, it’s important to also include Structured Data markup along with the reviews.
Google will use that Schema markup to reward you with the Review Snippet in the search results, which can greatly increase the CTR to your site.
You can either use a WordPress plugin to add that Structured Data to your content, or you can do it manually. This article explains the manual way, which is my preference.
Why Not Use a WordPress Plugin?
There are lots of plugins out there that can do this job for you, with very little hassle. But I personally prefer to do this manually.
1. Plugins Add Bloat and Risk
Okay, we all need and use plugins. I’m not a plugin hater. I use plugins too. But if I can avoid using a plugin for a specific task, then I will.
With each and every plugin you install, no matter how well-developed and lightweight they are, you are adding some level of bloat to your site. And not just that, you’re also adding risk.
Plugins are the number one reason why WordPress sites get hacked. Losers that hack sites are always looking for vulnerabilities in plugins to find back doors into your site.
This is why I will always say, the less plugins, the better.
2. HTML Issues
Plugins that generate a visual representation of the structured data markup often present this info in HTML that isn’t the cleanest, and often throws in header tags that break the page hierarchy.
I hear you say: “Dude, who cares?”
Well, I care, because I am super picky about the HTML that my content spits out. Some bloggers are obsessed with Moz DA, others are obsessed with page speed, and I am obsessed with clean HTML.
I want to have clean HTML, to make it as easy as possible for the search engines to interpret my content. I also don’t want to break the H1/2/3/4/5 header tag hierarchy, because of that very same reason.
So if you prefer to use a plugin to generate and visually display Review Schema markup data, by all means, go ahead. Some plugins do the job really well, but I simply prefer to manage this manually.
How to Manually Add Review Structured Data
Follow these 3 simple steps to add Review structured data to your review blog posts.
Once you’ve successfully done this for one review article, it’s a rinse and repeat exercise for any new review articles you publish on your site.
I am using my GeneratePress review article as the example to explain the steps.
Step 1: Create a Simple HTML Table
Once you have completed your review article, manually add a simple HTML table that will include all the data that you want captured in the Structured Data markup output.
To keep things simple, create a table that includes the following:
- The name of the product being reviewed
- A short summary of the review
- The author of the review
- The rating of the product
Here’s a screenshot of the HTML that I have added to my review of GeneratePress:
I’ve also added some CSS styling to make the table look a bit prettier. As you can see, pretty basic stuff, but it looks nice and clean. At the end of the day, you’re free to make it look as fancy as you like, entirely up to you.
Note that the rating says “out of 5”. I do this on purpose because this is a required field in the Review Structured Data type and will ultimately be displayed in the SERPs.
The idea is, everything you include in your structured data markup, MUST be displayed somewhere in the content.
Step 2: Write Structured Data Code
The next step is to write a very simple piece of script that will add the Review data elements as Schema markup in the article.
The data elements in the Schema markup need to be the same as the data in the table you created in step 1.
For reference, check out Google’s documentation on the Review snippet with guidelines and several markup code examples.
I am using the JSON-LD variant to write the Schema markup as opposed to Microdata, because JSON-LD is the preferred method.
Most WordPress themes will allow you to add script to Blog Posts. I am using the GeneratePress theme in my site, so I am using a Hook Element to insert script into my review post.
Here is a screenshot of that piece of script:
As you can see, it’s not very complicated script at all. And I’ve formatted it such that it’s easy to copy and re-use for future review articles. Simply replace the values of the different data elements and you’re good to go.
Here is a copy/paste version of that same script:
"name": "Name of product...",
"reviewBody":"Your review excerpt..."
Step 3: Validate the Schema Markup
It’s important to validate the structured data that you’ve just created, before publishing it as part of the review article.
Head over to the Schema Markup validator tool and submit the script that you created in the previous step. If there are no errors, it’s safe to publish.
You can also use the Google Rich Results Test tool.
It works in a similar way, but this tool also lets you see what the the structured data markup (provided it’s valid) would look like as rich results in the Google SERPs.
As mentioned above, the code still triggers warnings. Some of these warnings can be ironed out by including the missing fields. I will keep monitoring how the Review Schema type evolves, and make adjustments to the code where necessary.
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To speed things up, I recommend you request a priority indexing of your review article in Google Search Console. This way you’ll see your Review Snippet appear sooner rather than later in Google’s search results.
If the item you’ve reviewed is a product, you will see it listed in Search Console under Enhancements – Products, like so:
And this is what it looks like in the Google search results: