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No. 929
February 3rd, 2011

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Kudos to InsiderPages for a Creative Use of hReview CSS

As Andrew Shotland wrote so brilliantly several months ago, the writing is on the wall for Internet Yellow Pages sites with respect to organic search referrals–at least from Google.  Google has essentially forced them into a position where they need to spend money on PPC or put up with indirect referrals via what TripAdvisor, Yelp, and others feel is a parasitic display of their reviews on Place Pages, even after the more organic-friendly O-Pack / Place Search user interface iteration.

But not all the IYPs are just running around like Chicken Little.  Some of them–well, at least InsiderPages–are actually thinking very creatively about how to extract as many possible clicks from the diminishing amount of organic real estate they’ve been allotted.

While visiting my local custom picture frame shop the other day, I happened to pull my laptop out as I was talking to the proprietor about her contact with the Google Places photographer.  On my search for “picture framing NW Portland” — my example of a phrase I might have typed in prior to finding her — I noticed just below the O-pack this little ditty:

A pretty clever use of non-standard HTML that certainly grabbed MY attention as I scrolled down the page.

For those who are curious, here’s the code of the live page over at IP (note the <abbr class=”rating” … > line:

and the CSS for how they accomplished the image replacement:

Not sure whose idea this was at InsiderPages, but I thought it was pretty awesome, and it may be worth a shot for all you designer/developer/SEO hybrids out there as you go about implementing the hReview microformat on your clients’ testimonials.

  • Good find David. Is this hReview mark up?

  • It is not “pure” but I bet that G is smart enough to pick up the class of “rating,” the number of stars, and the <address> tag.

  • Chris R

    I wish there was a systematic way to split test snippets other than testing them one week at a time, its very difficult to control for external factors. I am curious if this just looks cool to us geeks or actually boosts CTRs. I would think it would but you gotta test…

  • I’ve used hreview code on review pages on two different sites; both passed the Rich Snippets Testing Tool test. However, I’ve not seen any of the review code in the SERPs yet (6 weeks so far)… I’m hoping soon 🙂

  • Admittedly, 98.5% of this post is over my head, but I saw “InsiderPages” and had to read more.

    I noticed something yesterday I’ve not seen before: the text of a review on InsiderPages was pulled into the SERP. There it was, halfway down the page with those blasted stars: a patient’s scathing criticism of one of our doctors. I’m used to seeing “Dr. so-and-so, rated 4.3 stars by 12 patients…” with a link for more info. What gives? Is this the new normal?

    If we were going to encourage our patients to leave reviews on one site, what, in your opinion, should it be to best influence search?

  • Not Insider Pages. Not anymore. In all fairness to David, this post was made before the recent algo change by Google. Insider Pages took a big hit. I first noticed it as one of my clients was having me use their Insider Pages url in their Places Page listing (in your Google Places listing, you are allowed to attach a url – usually your company website – to the listing). They liked the 5 yellow stars that showed under their title tag. The other day I checked the listing and they had fallen off the first page. After some research, I noticed that other Insider Pages listings took a hit in Google as well (though not in Yahoo or Bing).

    I switched out the Insider Pages url with their website url in Google Places and sure enough, back on the first page for their primary keyword phrase, this time in second position rather than 3rd. Lesson learned.

    It looks like Yelp and Kudzu listings got a boost from the change.

  • i have been reading a ton about this hreview format and i am still a bit confused as to how to incorporate it in my testimonials page. maybe i need a dev guy to explain it to me. thanks for the post