One way to display your Google Places Reviews is with our widget. This article explains the various settings and configurations you can use to do that.

Widgets are a powerful feature of WordPress. If you are not yet familiar with how widgets work, we recommend reading about them in the WordPress Codex.

How to Add the Google Places Reviews Widget to your Website

Widgets are able to be placed inside of what’s called a “widget area”, or commonly a “sidebar”. Sidebars though, are registered by your theme. If your theme does not use sidebars at all, then you will not see any “widget areas” available for you to place your widgets into. But most commonly, a theme has at least one or two widget areas.

You can configure widgets by going to “Appearance > Widgets”. There you’ll see a screen like this, with the widget areas or sidebars on the right:

The WordPress Widget Screen
The WordPress Widget Screen

Configuring your Google Places Reviews Widget

The Google Places Reviews Widget has several sections that hold unique settings for your Reviews. The following is an overview of each of the fields in the Widget:

Title

This is the title of the widget. You can leave it blank if you prefer.

Location Lookup

This is how you find your specific G+ Business Profile. This field is powered by the Google Places Autocomplete feature. It searches through all the Google Places on Google’s servers to find your G+ Profile based on your business name.

If you have trouble finding your business in the Location Lookup field, please see this doc.

Place Type

This instructs the Location Lookup to lookup your business according to different criteria:

  • All — you can type whatever you like and it will try to find it
  • Addresses — find your business by it’s street address
  • Establishment — find your business by it’s Name
  • Region — find a location that is a region, like a city or state or neighborhood

Place Set

This green box is not editable. It simply displays the information that is set by the Location Lookup field. If nothing is displayed here then your business is not entered or saved correctly in the widget settings.

The next three sections are optional settings that are only visible after you open them individually.

Review Options

The “Review Options” section controls how your reviews are displayed in the widget.

Minimum Review Rating —  This limits which reviews will show based on their rating. Setting this to “4 Stars”, for example, will only allow the widget to show reviews that are 4 stars or higher.

Keep in mind that Google only serves 5 reviews total, and they are ordered according to what they call “Most Helpful”. Even if you have hundreds of reviews, if the first 5 reviews in that “Most Helpful” order are not 4 stars or higher (meaning they are all 3 stars or less) then setting this to “4 Stars” will mean that no reviews show in your widget. That is something that is enforced by Google which our widget has no control over.

Limit Number of Reviews — You can choose how many reviews to show between 1 and 5.

Link to Reviewer’s Google + Page — Enable this for the Reviewers name to be a link to their G+ profile page

Expand/Collapse Review Content — Enable this to trim the content to a specified word count, but allow your visitors to expand the review if they want to read the whole thing.

Review Character Limit — This only appears if “Expand/Collapse Review Content” is enabled. Here you can set the word count of the review before it is trimmed.

Display Options

This section provides you with some aesthetic and content settings for the widget itself.

Widget Theme — Google Places Reviews Pro comes with 7 pre-set themes you can choose from:

  • Bare Bones — virtually naked. Useful if you want to skin the widget yourself
  • Minimal Light — a light theme, minimally styled
  • Minimal Dark — a dark theme, minimally styled
  • Shadow Light — the widget will have a drop-shadow and light appearance
  • Shadow Dark — the widget will have a drop-shadow and a dark appearance
  • Inset Light (Pro only) — the widget will have an inset shadow with a light appearance
  • Inset Dark (Pro only) — the widget will have an inset shadow with a dark appearance

Upload a Place Avatar —  You can designate your own custom Avatar for your business with this setting.

Hide Business Information —  Remove the business information from the top of the widget by enabling this setting

Hide “x out of 5 stars” text — Remove the star ratings from each review by enabling this setting.

Hide Google logo — Do not show the Google logo in the widget by enabling this setting

Advanced Options

This section gives you some advanced functions that are not typically necessary, but useful particularly when requesting support.

Cache Data —  A “cache” is basically a static version of your reviews stored on your WordPress site. Caching your reviews helps them to load faster because you don’t have to grab them from the Google servers first. If you do not get reviews very often then setting this to the longest period possible (1 week) is best. If you get reviews more often, then you might want to reduce the time. But note that “None” should never be used in production, but only when first configuring the widget or troubleshooting.

Clear Cache Button —  If you want to pull the latest data from the Google Places API without changing the Cache Data setting you can always click the “Clear Cache” button.

Disable Title Output — Hide the title of the widget completely by enabling this setting.

Open Links in New Window —  Have the review links open in a new tab by enabling this setting.

No Follow Links — Adding “nofollow” to your links tells Google not to give “rank authority” to the site you are linking to. Some SEO experts would advocate for adding “nofollow” to these links. This setting allows you to do that. ShoutMeLoud has a very good explanation of what “Nofollow” does here.