RichSnippets for Reviews without Ratings

At my employer WhoDoYou we list recommendations for local service providers culled from Facebook along with reviews and ratings from users on our own site. We treat provider Facebook recommendations as reviews, and our provider page displays a provider’s Facebook reviews and WhoDoYou reviews + ratings in a list. Sometimes we have Facebook reviews for a provider but no reviews + ratings on our own site, and sometimes we only have reviews + ratings from our own site. We would like to display the number of reviews for a provider in Google RichSnippets even if we don’t have any ratings.

This is an ongoing investigation for a requirement to display RichSnippets in Google search results for Things that have Reviews with no Ratings. We’ll build on the article Count vs. Votes Error for schema.org/AggregateRating by Aaron Bradley at SEO Skeptic. Besides that article, the reader should have an understanding of Microdata in general, schema.org schemas, Google RichSnippets, and the RichSnippets Testing Tool.

We start with Aaron’s code for Correct use of AggregateRating properties for items with reviews:

This returns the expected output from the RichSnippets validator tool:

Image

But what if we have reviews without ratings? The expected result from the RichSnippets tools would look the output above with the stars and the “Rating: 4 – ” text disabled or hidden, possibly like this (with the text 2 reviews left-aligned; please excuse my image editing skills):

Image

 

To achieve this expected result, we’ll remove (comment) any of the microtags related to the rating:

However, when we run this through the RichSnippets validation, the actual result is an error:

Image

I’ve tried to achieve the desired outcome by changing the ratingValue in several different ways, including setting the rating value to -1, 0, a letter, and a symbol. I’ve tried with the microdata in every way I can think of, but I’ve haven’t been to able to achieve the desired outcome of displaying a RichSnippet for Reviews without Ratings. Does RichSnippets even support this? If anyone has been to achieve this outcome, please do share how!

 

 

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About jmjpro

Software Development Manager java, networking, xml
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One Response to RichSnippets for Reviews without Ratings

  1. Sorry for my delay in replying Yehoshua.

    From what I can tell the sad news is that you can’t accomplish what you’re hoping – that is, having a review count show up in a search results rich snippets with without associated ratings.

    The critical property here – schema.org/reviewCount – is only an expected type for schema.org/AggregateRating. And as AggregateRating is the “average rating based on multiple ratings or reviews,” the number of reviews are only relevant to the data consumer (Google) insofar it can be used to qualify the number of reviews that went into that rating.

    To put this another way, reviewCount may seem like a generic property that allows you to state the number of reviews related to a URI, but it’s not. As currently implemented it is only used to qualify AggregateRating data: if your entity doesn’t have a rating, then reviewCount has no purpose. Google (in this case) wants that data solely so it can fill in a value for X associated with a rating of Y in a sentence like “Rating Y – Based on X reviews.” I hope that makes sense.

    Of course, you can still use the review property/Review type as appropriate on a large number of types, and even in the absence of reviewCount – which, again, is only an applicable property for AggregateRating and not Review – Google might generate a snippet saying “X reviews,” although I don’t think to date I’ve seen that.

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