Update: I just heard from David Deering about the plug-in’s use of Schema. Firstly the schema is not done correctly. More importantly however (which I suspected but didn’t investigate as I thought the schema was reserved for the paid version… mea culpa) marking up reviews and ratings that were created on another site actually goes against Google’s guidelines for rich snippets (ed note: I am looking for that guideline). It would be a much better plugin if it didn’t create schema markups, although the data sent through the API could still be considered duplicate/scraped content, since it does end up in the page’s HTML code. But I don’t think/hope that Google is too strict about that, although they’ve never really come out with something definite on that subject.
Here is the relevant guideline from Google: Be of original content that you and your users have generated and is fully contained on your page.
Many have asked for a way to post their Google reviews on their site. This plug-in seems to solve many of the problems associated with doing that and seems to provide a useful solution.
Google Places Reviews, installed at the right, allows a WordPress site to relatively easily embed up to the 3 most recent Google reviews in a sidebar as a widget or if you purchase the pro version, up to 5 reviews on any page using short codes. With the pro version you can filter by star rating as well.
From their WordPress page:
- Google Business Reviews – Display up to 3 business reviews per location.
- Detailed Business Information – Show the business name, website, Google+ page and more.
- Versatile Widget Themes – Choose from a selection of stunning widget themes that fit light and dark color schemes that make integration with your website design effortless.
- Google Places Autocomplete – Easily lookup businesses in your area through the widget interface using the power of Google search.
- Actively Supported and Developed – We are a team of expert developers based in San Diego, California and we stand by our work. Got a problem? Hit us up.
Google Places Reviews Pro Version Features
Google Places Reviews Pro is a significant upgrade to Google Places Reviews that adds many features to the core plugin:
- More Reviews – Display up to 5 reviews using the Google Places API
- Powerful Shortcode – Display reviews in your post and page content
- Schema.org Tags for SEO – Help search engines find the information quickly and display reviews of a company’s product and services on search engine results pages
- Review concatenation – Some reviews returned by Google may be very long which could result in a very long widget. The Pro version includes a customizable feature for collapsing and expanding long reviews with “Read more” and “Close” links.
- Fast loading – Optimized widget caching included within the plugin ensure you save on load time and API calls
Setup requires that you obtain a Google API Free for up to 1000 uses per day) and configure the widget. Set up was relatively straight forward and took about 10 minutes once I understood exactly what needed to be done.
My assessment? Since it uses the Google api I assume (but am not positive) that it avoids duplicate content issues. It is free for showing three reviews and only $20 if you want the pro version to allow more reviews and filtering options.
Set up was relatively painless and the free version seems to work well. I find the idea that the pro version would support schema for this use somewhat strange and I doubt that Google would see the content as part of the page but it might. Someone needs to test and let me know.
Update: David pointed out to me that the basic version in fact does use schema both improperly and in violation of Google guidelines. Until that is fixed this is not a plug in that I would recommend.
All in all what appears to be a slick solution to a question that is often raised.
Here is the screen shot for the widget configuration: Continue reading