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  1. #1
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    Should you Mark up Testimonials to get Gold Stars?

    Interesting discussion on this video.

    Seems like they are advising people not to mark up client testimonials as reviews to get those coveted gold stars. My question is has anyone actually seen any type of penalty for this? Mike Ramsey mentioned a penalty for marking up things in the code that don't exist on the page - I have seen those. What I haven't seen is any reason why a business wouldn't want to take advantage of the gold stars? It really helps CTR.

    Thoughts?

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    Re: Should you Mark up Testimonials to get Gold Stars?

    Thanks Joy!

    Have not watched yet, but David is my hero when it comes to Schema, so I'm sure it's great info.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

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

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    Re: Should you Mark up Testimonials to get Gold Stars?

    Wow, that was a great video.

    I'm like you Joy...I've seen several cases of manual actions for marking up something that didn't exist on the page. But I haven't personally seen a site get a manual action for marking up testimonials.

    I thought this question in the Webmaster Help Forums was interesting:

    https://productforums.google.com/for...20testimonials

    Grace Massa Langlois said,

    In Google's eyes, testimonials are not reviews. Also note, if you're marking up reviews the main topic of the page must be about the item being reviewed. For example, you're displaying a list of blog post excerpts on this page and you're marking up Product type and nesting in AggregateRating, The marked up product name is Our Blog. Our Blog is not a product and the reviews are testimonials about the business. For your Blog page you should be marking up Blog type and nesting BlogPosting type (for each excerpt displayed on the page). I suspect you're marking up the same reviews on many or all pages and marking up Product type for each page and nesting AggregateRating and linking to the same testimonials.
    So it sounds like that's a case where a penalty may have been given for marking testimonials as reviews.

    Here's another similar answer by Grace:

    https://productforums.google.com/for...20testimonials

    I would start by removing the Product markup with the name Our Client Reviews on the homepage. Our Client Reviews is not a product. Structured data should be an accurate reflection of the content already found on the page. Also note, each testimonial is marked up with the name property but it doesn't belong to any type therefore not being detected by the tool. If your intent is to markup the testimonials as reviews please note in Google's eyes testimonials are not reviews.
    Not sure if that answers the question. But it sure helped me learn something today.

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    Re: Should you Mark up Testimonials to get Gold Stars?

    I've not seen anything 1st hand, but I've heard some rumblings of 'markup spam' penalties. https://support.google.com/webmaster.../3498001?hl=en

    I'm with you though Joy, it is waaay to much of a separator to not try.

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    Re: Should you Mark up Testimonials to get Gold Stars?

    This discussion made me think a little about how aggressive it is safe to be when trying to get schema. I started a new discussion with my question here:

    http://www.localsearchforum.com/local-search/42853-schema-manual-actions-almost-always-immediately-reversible.html#post84561

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    Re: Should you Mark up Testimonials to get Gold Stars?

    Thanks for weighing in Marie. Fascinating stuff!

    And thanks for linking to your new thread. Hoping we get some discussion there too!
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

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

  7. #7
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    Re: Should you Mark up Testimonials to get Gold Stars?

    Hey, did somebody say "schema"?? lol Sorry, I just noticed this conversation. Honestly, Google's stance on what's acceptable and what's not when it comes to reviews is sometimes pretty vague and it's constantly changing. But what Grace said is true. Now, there is this guideline that mentions marking up reviews that don't have a rating, but it was written a while ago and may not be up-to-date or accurate any longer.

    But as a general rule (well, rules)...

    1. The home page should not really be marked up with reviews and ratings. As Grace pointed out, the reviews should be directly about the main topic of the page, and a home page does not really have a single "topic". And not many home pages at all are getting the aggregate rating rich snippet anyway.

    2. Along with that, make sure your reviews/ratings are about a specific product or service. You can of course mark up reviews for you or your client's company but the page should be about the company, such as the About page or a Customer Reviews page. But you might want to begin segmenting your reviews for your various services.

    3. At the moment, we can't mark up third-party reviews and ratings. So that includes Google+, Yelp, Angie's List and so on. Google wants website owners to generate reviews directly from customers from their site. To me, that will just increase the likelihood of businesses posting and marking up fake reviews. Hopefully the structured data team will recognize that and change this guideline.

    4. Whatever content you include in your markup, make sure that it's visible on the page. Marked up hidden content is a quick way to get penalized.

    The truth is, Google is not going to display your company's aggregate rating on every page of your site, so use that markup wisely and selectively. But it does look like we and our clients will need to begin implementing some sort of review generation system on our sites if we don't already have one.
    David @ Touch Point Digital | New Orleans Local SEO & Web Design
    Circle me on Google+ or follow us on Twitter

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    Re: Should you Mark up Testimonials to get Gold Stars?

    But it does look like we and our clients will need to begin implementing some sort of review generation system on our sites if we don't already have one.
    These guys are doing exactly that:
    Heating and Air Conditioning in Saint Joseph | BW/Cook Service Experts

    They're using their own system for gathering reviews and displaying those in a sidebar on a location page. They do earn review snippets for terms like 'water heater repair saint joseph', but they're a ways down the SERP.

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    Re: Should you Mark up Testimonials to get Gold Stars?

    David,

    So glad you chimed in! I am looking forward to your talk at LocalU

    So given your explanation, what Allstate is doing with Get5Stars that I highlighted here is fine then?

  10. #10
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    Re: Should you Mark up Testimonials to get Gold Stars?

    Hi Joy. Looking forward to hearing your talk at LocalU, too, and meeting you and the rest of the Local SEO experts.

    But what Allstate is doing with GetFiveStars is perfect. Each location has its own unique reviews and they all are benefiting from rich snippets, too. So your advice was right on point. :-)
    David @ Touch Point Digital | New Orleans Local SEO & Web Design
    Circle me on Google+ or follow us on Twitter

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