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  1. #1
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    Say What? Google Says Don't add Review Markup to your Customer Reviews?

    Now this is interesting???

    Customer reviews are not considered by Google as reviews and therefore should not have rich snippet reviews markup?

    Am I still half asleep or am I reading that wrong?

    From Search Engine Roundtable:

    Testimonials Should Not Have Google Rich Snippet Reviews Markup

    Google's John Mueller in a Google Webmaster Help thread stated that testimonials are not reviews and thus should not contain the rich snippet markup for reviews...

    Reviews are more aimed at product reviews versus how much you like or dislike a company. So to include reviews markup on testimonials, is against Google's guidelines. As it seems...
    See the direct quote from John Mueller of Google, over at Barry's.

    Yelp and others use review markup all the time, right? Is it different because it's reviews on your site by your own customers??? Is that why John is calling them testimonials?

    What do you think?
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

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    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

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  3. #2
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    Re: Say What? Google Says Don't add Review Markup to your Customer Reviews?

    Interesting.. What is a review other than someones personal opinion and rating on a product or service? Same question applies to testimonials, really..

    I have product reviews on my website that have review mark up on them.. The reviews not only include my personal take, but other's testimonials on the products as well.. Does that mean I should remove the mark up?

    Yup.. I'm confused. Thanks Google.

  4. #3
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    Re: Say What? Google Says Don't add Review Markup to your Customer Reviews?

    Hi Linda. Well, I'm with you--it's definitely a little confusing. But to Google, testimonials and reviews are not the same. Testimonials are pretty much always obtained from happy customers and are positive. Reviews, on the other hand, are submitted by a variety of customers and can be positive or negative. They also usually include some sort of rating scale ("Rated 5 stars out of 5" or " Rated 98/100", etc).

    There's also a major difference in how the two are obtained. Testimonials usually are obtained through email or in print and are submitted directly to the business. And of course, we only ask our happy customers for them. Reviews are usually obtained through some sort of review system or platform and are not supposed to be filtered by the company. So if you were to take all of your testimonials and mark them up with review structured data, giving them all a rating of 5 out of 5, well that's really not an honest and fair assessment of your company by a variety of your customers.

    So Google wants reviews to be obtained honestly and posted unfiltered. One way to help them see that you're trying to do that is by having some sort of system on your page where customers can post their unfiltered reviews to that page. To Google, that's a lot more trustworthy than simply listing a bunch of reviews on the page and marking them up with structured data. After all, they don't know where those reviews came from. Maybe they came from actual customers, or maybe you made them all up; they don't know. And if you simply post and mark up the aggregate rating, such as "Rated 5 out of 5 by 27 customers", well that's even less trustworthy because anybody can do that. So having a review collection system in place on the page is rather important to help Google trust your marked up reviews.

    Google also wants the structured data markups that you add to your page for rich snippets to be representative of the main content on the page. A homepage includes a variety of content, so adding some review and/or aggregate rating markup to it does not really represent the main content on that page. Google knows that most website owners do it so that they can get some stars in the SERPs when their homepage appears. But it's not something that they like to see.

    There's definitely nothing wrong with including some reviews and ratings on your site and marking them up with schema. But as I mentioned above, the page should also include a means in which customers can leave and post an unfiltered review. My advice to clients is to have a page dedicated to customer reviews that contains both the reviews and ratings and a review system. Those reviews and ratings can be marked up, and Google will trust that set up much more. Of course, there's no guarantee that Google will display the rich snippets for those, but at the very least, they will be prone to trust them more.

    I agree, it is confusing and Google's help documents and guidelines are not always very clear about this stuff. But I hope this helps clarify things a little.
    David @ Touch Point Digital | New Orleans Local SEO & Web Design
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    Re: Say What? Google Says Don't add Review Markup to your Customer Reviews?

    Thanks David, great overview!

    I think part of the issue too was that John's comment was so short, it left a lot to the imagination.

    So then Barry summed it up with his interpretation, which I think was incorrect:
    "Reviews are more aimed at product reviews versus how much you like or dislike a company."

    Not true. Google reviews are reviews too they are all about your opinion of a company. So are Yelp's etc.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  6. #5
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    Re: Say What? Google Says Don't add Review Markup to your Customer Reviews?

    Yeah, I agree. And reviews can indeed be about companies. The markups just have to be structured and nested properly to help Google understand who or what is being reviewed.
    David @ Touch Point Digital | New Orleans Local SEO & Web Design
    Circle me on Google+ or follow us on Twitter

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    Re: Say What? Google Says Don't add Review Markup to your Customer Reviews?

    Discussion also started by Joy at the Local Search Pros Community here.
    Check out what the Pros have to say.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  8. #7
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    Re: Say What? Google Says Don't add Review Markup to your Customer Reviews?

    Hi Linda,

    In the last Bright Local webinar, I had thought the panelists mentioned that it is possible for non Google+ reviews to show up in the 5 star rating in Google SERPs using schema/rich snippets. Is this true? If so, does the review (let's say from Yelp or TripAdvisor), have to be on your website or can it be taken right from the yelp website? Also, if there is not a 1-5 scale, such as a 1-10 rating or 1-100 rating, then how does Google know to convert it into a 1-5 star rating?

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    Re: Say What? Google Says Don't add Review Markup to your Customer Reviews?

    Quote Originally Posted by AwesomeDynamic View Post
    Hi Linda,

    In the last Bright Local webinar, I had thought the panelists mentioned that it is possible for non Google+ reviews to show up in the 5 star rating in Google SERPs using schema/rich snippets. Is this true? If so, does the review (let's say from Yelp or TripAdvisor), have to be on your website or can it be taken right from the yelp website? Also, if there is not a 1-5 scale, such as a 1-10 rating or 1-100 rating, then how does Google know to convert it into a 1-5 star rating?
    Yes. Using structured data you put an aggregate review markup on the page and the star rating can show up in SERPs. You can also use the generic review markup but I have found that using the aggregate markup get the stars to show in search more consistently.
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  10. #9
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    Re: Say What? Google Says Don't add Review Markup to your Customer Reviews?

    Quote Originally Posted by mborgelt View Post
    Yes. Using structured data you put an aggregate review markup on the page and the star rating can show up in SERPs. You can also use the generic review markup but I have found that using the aggregate markup get the stars to show in search more consistently.
    Does the rating that shows up in the Google SERPs get counted in with the reviews on the Google Plus profile or does it just show on the SERP for the page that has the markup?

  11. #10
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    Re: Say What? Google Says Don't add Review Markup to your Customer Reviews?

    These snippets only show up for the page that is marked up. See below:
    Name:  2015-02-05_16-26-49.jpg
Views: 236
Size:  133.8 KB
    If the page you do it for is ranking I think it has great value for users
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