Google's New Announcement About Review Schema

Joined
Sep 10, 2019
Messages
15
For local businesses, I read this as no self-reviews marked-up period. Put simply, no review snippets for reviews of your own local business on your own site.

Let's see how well the "algorithms" actually work here... If they really wanted to "end this," they should do manual action that impacts rankings.
Basically, the only sites that will show Review Snippets (for schema.org/LocalBusiness and schema.org/Organization) from here on out are 3rd party sites that aggregate reviews and provide schema markup on a page. For example, what BirdEye does.

Does that sound right?

The idea of "self-serving" Review Shippet markup feels a bit contradictory. SEO (for a local business or organization) is self-serving as a practice - we aren't doing it to better Google and increase the profits of Google - we're doing it to increase our client's profits.
 

AaronWeiche

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Joined
Sep 25, 2018
Messages
4
I would say that is incorrect.

Google' Review Snippet Guidelines have this item: "Sites must collect ratings information directly from users and not from other sites."

So "repurposing" 3rd party reviews that have been sourced directly by that site and already marked-up at that site ... is not within their technical guidelines for quite some time.
 
Joined
Sep 10, 2019
Messages
15
I would say that is incorrect.

Google' Review Snippet Guidelines have this item: "Sites must collect ratings information directly from users and not from other sites."

So "repurposing" 3rd party reviews that have been sourced directly by that site and already marked-up at that site ... is not within their technical guidelines for quite some time.
I didn’t describe the scenario or communicate what I meant correctly. You’re right, even though BirdEye does this anyways (or at least did the last time checked a couple of months ago).

When I said “aggregate reviews,” I didn’t mean aggregate from other websites.

3rd party platforms that collect reviews on behalf of businesses can still display aggregate rating schema (i.e., Review Snippet schema) for the reviews the 3rd party platform collects on behalf of a business or organization. As an example, DemandForce collects reviews directly from the business’ users and renders the reviews and Review Snippet schema on a DemandForce microsites.

3rd party platforms are still allowed to show Review Snippet schema for local businesses and organizations on the 3rd party website, while the 1st party business cannot.

That’s my interpretation. Do you think that is correct?
 
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Emily Brady

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Aug 7, 2019
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12
So no word of "when" this is going to happen, we'll just wake up one morning with schema removed from the serps and the phone ringing from eagle eyed clients #herewegoagain :sneaky:
Late to the game but I just did a few searches and am seeing this change reflected in SERPs already! Weeeeee!
 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
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Jul 18, 2012
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3rd party platforms that collect reviews on behalf of businesses can still display aggregate rating schema (i.e., Review Snippet schema) for the reviews the 3rd party platform collects on behalf of a business or organization. As an example, DemandForce collects reviews directly from the business’ users and renders the reviews and Review Snippet schema on a DemandForce microsites.
So based on John's last reply, I believe it would be fine for DemandForce to still mark up the reviews on their own site. So searching for the brand would pull up the stars on their profile on DemandForce.com just like you see on Yelp or Facebook etc.

However, if the dentist put a the DemandForce widget on their site, this is what Google doesn't want to show stars for.

 

Ampere

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Feb 9, 2018
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134
So is there now any way for a SAB to compliantly markup one (or multiple) of their own pages to show the review stars in the SERPs?
 

JoyHawkins

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So is there now any way for a SAB to compliantly markup one (or multiple) of their own pages to show the review stars in the SERPs?
IMO, I wouldn't touch or change anything. Time will tell if they can actually detect or enforce this. If they do, it simply removes the gold stars so I see no harm in trying.

Scenario 1: They don't detect it and you keep the gold stars (win!)
Scenario 2: They do detect it and you lose the gold stars

Either way, it's worth trying.
 
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Messages
71
Google making a vague announcement? Say it ain't so!

It would seem cruel to actually punish websites for it (other than removing the stars) because there's a lot of local businesses that have websites built by some SEO they hired 3 years ago (who they no longer work with) who added it to their site. The business owner's going to have no idea that (a.) this is an issue or (b.) how to fix it in the code.
 

mcody

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Joined
Jul 15, 2013
Messages
1
Google's posting seems to contradict itself. They state that review markup will be allowed for LocalBusiness but that the review content cannot be about the LocalBusiness. What review content would be appropriate, if not about the thing being reviewed, ie the LocalBusiness? Also, guidelines already state that you cannot take someone else's reviews (Yelp/Facebook) and mark them up as your own, yet this states you cannot mark up reviews that you control either. Which is it?
 

JoyHawkins

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Google's posting seems to contradict itself. They state that review markup will be allowed for LocalBusiness but that the review content cannot be about the LocalBusiness. What review content would be appropriate, if not about the thing being reviewed, ie the LocalBusiness? Also, guidelines already state that you cannot take someone else's reviews (Yelp/Facebook) and mark them up as your own, yet this states you cannot mark up reviews that you control either. Which is it?
The LocalBusiness schema type will still exist and still have the reviews option on it because this is the schema type that 3rd party sites will use to mark up reviews. IE: Yelp would use this on their profile pages for all the businesses listed on their sites.

What they're saying now (clarified here) is that they don't want businesses using it on their own sites if that business controls the source of the reviews. A business doesn't control the reviews on Yelp that they get. If they get a negative review, they can't just go delete it. Thus, Yelp can use it. As a consumer, this makes perfect sense. Obviously, as a marketer I don't like it.
 
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
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78
It is an annoying response to a mess of Google's and our (the seo world) creation. And it has some tactical impact on local websites.

It is an annoyance for sure but it is not the end of the world. Just today’s drama.

Regardless of what Google does I see first party reviews as important for the long haul.

Google’s decision will reduce clickthrough from the serps but that impact, if Google executes fairly (big if), will affect all equally.

But that is the worse that will happen.

In that context first party reviews are still are important for:

- direct client feedback
which is more honest and meaningful and comes in greater quantity than google reviews

- page content and building a content strategy including social proof
I see website content as one of the biggest challenges of most small websites and I see 1 st party reviews solving that

Social proof on their website is critical as the website is a huge component of the selling process.

- strategic analysis, keyword research and business improvement
See When is a Review More Than a Review? - GatherUp

A solid base of significant review data, which is easier to generate in first party form, offers huge strategic value.

At an industry level I see consolidation in the review space. With many sites paling in comparison to Google. Yelp has effectively become a niche player and Facebook has deemphasized reviews and neither generate much business from traditional discovery activities.

More and more searches are originating in Maps where the only reviews shown are Google's. This transition to Maps discovery is happening very rapidly. Maps via mobile has become the dominant discovery platform for categories like restaurants, many bricks and mortar establishments and many other categories. And it is an environment where your website is the only offered alternative source of truth.

In a Maps discovery world all bets are off for third party reviews.

Thus I see any business, taking a long term view, priorities to be:
Google
And their own website

And in that world only Google and first party reviews matter.
 

keyserholiday

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 27, 2017
Messages
114
We've definitely seen schema-related penalties in the last year. It's generally when review schema is present without the physical reviews showing on the page anywhere. Every single one I've looked at simply removes the gold stars in the SERPs and has no impact on ranking.
Has there been a notice of a manual action or just the reviews snippet being removed?
 

Josh Gill

Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2018
Messages
28
I am seeing this already take effect on a client's results in organic SERPS. Stars were there yesterday and now they are gone. 3rd result had stars for a while now and that is no longer the case. However other pages from the same site still show reviews snippets.

Rankings not affected so far. Must be rolling out today...

Yesterday - (Mobile) Desktop had stars too.



Today - (Desktop and Mobile stars gone)




Location pages still have stars.

 
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