Google's New Announcement About Review Schema

Joined
Sep 10, 2019
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15
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.

I see that now as well. Thanks!
 
Joined
Sep 10, 2019
Messages
15
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.
Yelp does heavily control reviews, however. They have a track record of explicitly hiding reviews that are in favor of the local business. Reviews left on Yelp's platform are very self-serving to Yelp. (Yelp even has a page dedicated to defending claims of extortion).

I know you just used Yelp as an example - you could have used a number of other websites as examples - but Google really created a wormhole with this update...
 
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JaraMoser

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Sep 25, 2018
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We had a site that had review markup in the JSON file have their stars removed from SERP - sites with inline markup still show.

We are seeing a mix though, a site with the dentist category via JSON, stars are still displaying. Seems to be rolling out, interesting to see how long for them to get through all categories.
 

AaronWeiche

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Sep 25, 2018
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4
No surprise I heavily agree with Mike's post a few back. Now that a few details have surfaced here is my super simplified take.

1- Google is no longer showing review snippets for local businesses. No matter the "source" if you put it on your own website.
2- Google is removing the stars in the SERPs, ignoring the schema, with NO penalty or rank issue
3- SERP stars are a marketing tactic, tactics come and go.
4- 1st party reviews are a business strategy with huge benefits ... and you need a strategy to execute your always evolving tactics.
5- Google has tons of guidelines and only pounds of enforcement as shown, everything is "self-serving", but debating Google on common sense is usually wasted energy.

For GatherUp, this really doesn't effect our path, our main goal is to help a business listen and understand their customer, then improve and build upon it in many ways (reviews being one of them). This SERP stars tactic might sunset, but new ones will rise and new features will execute on it. The sky was still up this morning. ;)
 

pony

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Jun 26, 2019
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Google’s decision will reduce clickthrough from the serps but that impact, if Google executes fairly (big if), will affect all equally.
Will it not give preferential treatment to the 3rd party sites that are allowed to keep the rich results, and thusly keep higher CTRs?

Working in the hotel industry, Trip Advisors pages are still going to have rich results and my local business pages won't.

That's a benefit to Trip Advisor and not the local business. Seems like preferential treatment to 3rd party reviewers and a big hit to small businesses.
 

pony

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Jun 26, 2019
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2- Google is removing the stars in the SERPs, ignoring the schema, with NO penalty or rank issue
Only if the site in question owns the business being reviewed. If I am a 3rd party reviewer and the reviews are about a business/product/movie/etc. that I do not own, Google will continue to publish the rich results in SERPs, giving them an advantage over the actual business owner.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2016
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14
... Yelp has effectively become a niche player ...

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.
Yelp is Apple (and Bing). So on Apple phones/maps won't they see Yelp and not Google? That is a huge chunk of people. Just sayin'. Or do they all use Google maps on Apple phones? (Busted, I know. Not an Apple-er.)
 

MonicaH

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Jul 24, 2019
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*I'm not going to change anything on my or my client's sites till after I hear from the experts later this week at LocalU Advanced in Denver :)
Same here! Perfect timing (if there is such a thing when it comes to a change like this).
 
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BipperMedia

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Jan 13, 2019
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111
ultimately all of this is fine by me... from my experience very few of our client's local business competitors even had review markup showing in organic results -- because most local business owners have no idea how to implement it

So long as they don't do away with the FAQ markup -- which in my opinion, at the moment anyway, delivers a much stronger presence in organic.

here's a screenshot from one of our clients that have both review and FAQ markup -- so remove the reviews, and you still own a large chunk of real estate...



Quick side not on this FAQ markup... it took us a total of about 2 minutes to add the markup > republish the site > re-crawl in GSC... and then BAM!!! the FAQ list was present in organic (kind of crazy and definitely wasn't expecting it to show that quickly).

My point here is, similar to what another commenter mentioned (sorry, can't remember who it was) but stuff like this comes and goes - and you just need to be on top of the changes to adapt and adjust accordingly...
 

Marie Haynes

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Aug 7, 2012
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131
leads one to wonder if GMB review widgets, GatherUp review widgets, etc. are allowed? Yikes, this is not very clear.
My understanding is that if a widget is embedded on your site, it's perfectly fine to have it there, but Google won't show the rich results (i.e. review stars) in the SERPS when displaying your site.

What I'm still unclear on though is product markup. If a company sells its own products, solicits reviews and then marks them up, will they have stars?
 

pony

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Jun 26, 2019
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What I'm still unclear on though is product markup. If a company sells its own products, solicits reviews and then marks them up, will they have stars?
No, not if it's their own product. At least that is how I am interpreting it. A 3rd party site would be able to get review schema though... So if you if you are a small company who makes their own shoes, you won't be able to get rich snippets for the reviews on your site, but if another vendor sold your product (Zappos for example) they would be able to get the rich results.

I think the biggest reason Google did this was to try and decrease the likelihood of rich results coming from spammy content (selected reviews in this case) without realizing that when a user searches for "X product" they can typically use common sense to understand there is going to be a bias in the reviews from the manufacturer themselves and from other vendors.

IMO this was a step overboard.
 

BipperMedia

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Jan 13, 2019
Messages
111
Review Schema is now no longer showing on the example I shared earlier:

Here's what it looked like yesterday with the 5 star review markup:




And now here's what it looks like today... review markup gone:




But again, I'm fine with this change and update because from my experience... in our competitor's markets, so few businesses (local businesses) even had this implemented.

And now there's the FAQ markup which, in some ways, I think helps make the listing stand out even more definitively in search.

And I'm assuming that Google's long term play here with FAQ markup is voice search...

i.e. extracting FAQ markup to present via voice search results.

Which to me is pretty awesome!
 

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