I'm talking about the stars that display in the search listing. Here's an example from Google's Webmaster tools.

review stars

Can the reviews that I supply with the structured data be from my own website or do they have to be from a 3rd party?

  • Pay careful attention to what I say please. They have to exist within code on your website, however, the origin of the reviews can be taken from anywhere that permits it. It is far better that the reviews be your own where possible.
    – closetnoc
    Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 16:24

1 Answer 1


Do I need a 3rd party review service for the review stars to show for organic and paid search?

What you need is a schema, which is a defined, structured form of a data, collaboratively worded by search engine industry giants (Google, Bing (Microsoft), Yahoo and Yandex).

Schemas which would interest you are Review (for a page consisting of 1 review) and AggregateRating (for a page of a product, as in your screenshot).

It might be possible for search engines to pick up ratings data from "plain text", but structured formats (Microdata, RDFa, JSON-LD) will ease the aggregation to search engines. You can see multiple examples on the linked pages. Here is one example from the site how data without markup would be represented in JSON-LD:

Without markup:

4 stars - based on 250 reviews
1901 Lemur Ave
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
(408) 714-1489
<a href="http://www.greatfood.com">www.greatfood.com</a>
Mon-Sat 11am - 2:30pm
Mon-Thur 5pm - 9:30pm
Fri-Sat 5pm - 10pm
Categories: Middle Eastern, Mediterranean
Price Range: $$
Takes Reservations: Yes


<script type="application/ld+json">
  "@context": "http://schema.org",
  "@type": "Restaurant",
  "address": {
    "@type": "PostalAddress",
    "addressLocality": "Sunnyvale",
    "addressRegion": "CA",
    "postalCode": "94086",
    "streetAddress": "1901 Lemur Ave"
  "aggregateRating": {
    "@type": "AggregateRating",
    "ratingValue": "4",
    "reviewCount": "250"
  "name": "GreatFood",
  "openingHours": [
    "Mo-Sa 11:00-14:30",
    "Mo-Th 17:00-21:30",
    "Fr-Sa 17:00-22:00"
  "priceRange": "$$",
  "servesCuisine": [
    "Middle Eastern",
  "telephone": "(408) 714-1489",
  "url": "http://www.greatfood.com"

Where 3rd party review services could help is in automating the structuring process—but using one is not necessary to get review stars in organic search.

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