Where are and how are product ratings managed in WooCommerce?

Product reviews in an online store are a powerful tool that can greatly improve visits and sales in your e-commerce, so it is important to know how to use and manage them well, and that is what we are going to learn today.

What are product ratings?

Product ratings or reviews are comments that customers can leave on the product pages of your online store, in which, in addition to putting their name and writing their opinion about the product, they can add a visual score, usually with stars.

How to enable product reviews in WooCommerce

If you use WordPress and WooCommerce to manage your online store, product ratings are included by default, so you don’t have to install any additional plugin to have this functionality.

Anyway it is not bad to check that you have them active, in the WooCommerce settings, in the general section of the product options.

Of course, it can also happen that you have globally active reviews but they are disabled in specific products.

To check this, if you see that you cannot leave reviews on a product, edit the product and check that in the advanced settings of the product data the checkbox to enable reviews is activated.

And is that, as you may have guessed from the latter, you can globally enable or disable ratings from the WooCommerce settings, but then, in each product, make the opposite decision, depending on your strategy or decisions in this regard.

How to correctly enable product reviews in WooCommerce

Now that you know where to activate them, let’s review for a moment the different settings you have in the options of the ratings, and a description of what it means to activate each one (or not), because a correct activation or configuration of the ratings can make the difference between the ratings improve your sales or sink them completely.

Product rating options in WooCommerce settings.

  1. Enable reviews
    • Enable product reviews – Without this box checked you will have to enable product by product reviews, as by default they will not be active.
    • Show “verified owner” label on customer reviews – This is a text that will be visible to everyone, next to the name of the customer who left the review. It is usually an element that gives confidence to the potential new customer that the review is reliable.
    • Reviews can only be left by “verified owners” – If you check this box, only logged-in customers who have purchased the product will be able to leave reviews, thus avoiding fake reviews left by malicious users. In addition, a text is displayed in the product ratings area indicating that only verified owners can leave reviews, which is a plus of confidence for the potential new buyer.
  2. Product ratings
    • Enable star ratings on reviews – If you do not enable this checkbox, customer reviews will be text-only, like a comment, and you will not have this eye-catching visual resource to attract prospective buyers.
    • Star ratings should be mandatory, not optional – With this checkbox checked the customer who wants to leave a review is asked to leave a star rating (mandatory).

Product rating options in the WordPress settings

It turns out that product reviews also have settings that affect them in the WordPress comment settings because they are still a special type of comment.

So, many of the conversation control settings you have configured in WordPress settings will also affect WooCommerce product reviews.

Not all of the comment settings affect WooCommerce product reviews, but they are a good bunch:

  • Users must register and login to comment – This will force customers to register before they can leave comments, regardless of the other settings.
  • Show cookie acceptance checkbox on comments, allowing comment author cookies to be set.
  • Break comments into pages
  • Send me an email when
    • Someone submits a comment
    • A comment has been received for moderation
  • For a comment to appear – this is vital to control ratings
    • The comment must be manually approved
    • The author of the comment must have a previously approved comment
  • Keep a comment on hold if it contains more than [x] links – Great for spam control
  • Disallowed words in comments – If you add suspicious words, IPs, etc., they also affect the text of the ratings
  • Avatars – All avatar settings also affect product reviews.

It is very important that you take these settings into account, as they will make a big difference when it comes to managing and controlling reviews, not just comments to blog posts.

In fact, some of these comment settings are especially vital for good review management, especially when it comes to avoiding spam or negative reviews, as we will see in the section on review management.

Another aspect to keep in mind, although not native to WordPress, is that spam control plugins, such as Akismet, also apply their parameters to WooCommerce reviews, so you don’t need to install any additional plugin to control spam in WooCommerce reviews.

Where to view product reviews in WooCommerce

The most logical place to see product reviews will be on the product page itself, and if there are good reviews it will be a further incentive to buy the product.

In addition, the product rating, will also be displayed in all parts of the store where the rated product is displayed, which will also make it stand out from other products, the rating score will be visible next to the product title. Moreover, the number of reviews will be displayed, with a link to the reviews section.

And WooCommerce offers a number of widgets to display top-rated products, which you can display in any widget area.

But, best of all, WooCommerce generates Schema microdata for products, including ratings and their scores, which will automatically show up in search engine results, attracting more visual attention than those without.

How to manage product ratings

WooCommerce ratings have their own management screen, in the “Products Reviews” submenu, also in the WordPress admin dashboard.

Once in this rating management screen, if you already knew how to manage post comments, you already know how to manage ratings, basically. The screen is completely the same, and with the same tools:

  • Navigation by rating status: Approved, Rejected, Spam, Pending, Trash.
  • Bulk actions: approve, reject, mark as spam, send to trash.
  • Action pop-up links: Approve, reject, reply, reply, edit, quick edit, mark as spam, send to trash.

As well as the rest of the elements of the management screen: search engine, columns, rating filtering, etc. The only difference is that here they are ratings instead of comments.

As for editing the ratings left by customers, you can change the star rating left by the customer (don’t do it, it’s wrong, there are people who do it because otherwise, nobody buys their products with low ratings because we are all bastards and we only see products with 4 stars or more, but you don’t do it, it’s wrong, no matter if Amazon and most companies manipulate or buy ratings, it’s wrong for you to do it… ok?)

Tips for managing product reviews

Now that you know what you can do, shall we look at what you should and shouldn’t do?

  • Edit reviews – NEVER do this. Even the dumbest customer takes screenshots of the reviews they leave online for products, and if you are tempted to modify a negative text they can make your face red with a screenshot.
  • Change ratings – Don’t EVER do it, same reasons. I know it’s tempting, but don’t do it, there are other ways to avoid getting commercially sunk by bad ratings.
  • Reject ratings – Don’t EVER do this, same reason as above, unless you have a very good and publicly probable cause, and you make it public.
  • Delete ratings – Same criteria as above, it is mortal danger.
  • Approve ratings – The 2 WordPress comment settings we saw above

The last one, that the first comment, has to be approved and then the others appear without moderation, I do not recommend it at all, neither for comments nor for ratings, too many people already know it and will leave you a first good rating and then a second terrible one.
But the first setting is vital, and you should NEVER leave a review that you have not expressly approved because they will not only be seen in your online store, they will also be shown in Google results, and bad reviews make bad averages, and … you know, people are very naughty and only look at products with 4 or more stars, yes, I know you are not like that but the rest of us are (we are).
As I commented before, they can do captures, whatever you want, but at least it gives you some opportunities:

  • Manage a real problem with a product or customer, fixing the bug before a bad review is published, contact the customer (if it is real) to fix the problem and ask them to change their review (always with their consent).
  • If you clearly detect that a review is not real, is not from a customer who has purchased the product, you can reject it without mercy, and you will have removed a problem of a bad score, visible, which is false, but if you delete or reject it you will get in trouble. Better not to approve it and that’s it.

Little joke with product ratings, they can be a very important tool for promoting our products, but poor management can also ruin our business, and that is why many businesses prefer not to have them than not being able to manage them.

Fortunately, with WordPress, and WooCommerce, we have full control of the management of the ratings, to manage our own Ecommerce, something you do not have with other tools or marketplaces.

Product ratings and SEO

Do product reviews influence the SEO positioning of your products?

Short answer: YES

Long answer:

Product ratings can and will have an influence on SEO, both positive and negative.

Positive influence of product reviews on SEO

  • Products with good star ratings, visible in your online store, will attract more clicks than those without.
  • Users tend to rate products with better ratings from other users more highly, which will influence their purchasing decision.
  • Star rated reviews stand out visibly in search engine results, as rich snippets, and will get more clicks than other results without rich results.
  • Good ratings attract more clicks than those with poor ratings.
  • Reviews written by users are also content, and if they are positive they will improve the confidence of your potential buyers, influencing their buying decision.
  • A successful purchase is a complete conversion, good for SEO and for your business.

Negative influence of product reviews on SEO

  • Products with bad star ratings, visible in your online store, will receive almost no clicks from your potential customers.
  • Products with bad star ratings will drop in conversion and sales.
  • Rich snippets in search engine results will cause you to receive fewer clicks and authority from users, and will worsen your conversions, sales and SEO.
  • Bad reviews written by users are also indexed, they are content, and if they are negative they can quickly ruin your business.

The consequence of all this that we have seen would be that …

Product reviews are a powerful conversion, sales and SEO tool for your online store that, if well managed, can improve both the positioning of your products in search engines and the revenue of your E-commerce.

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