New Structured Data Penalty for Reviews?


JoyHawkins

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Jul 18, 2012
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2,412
I have had multiple people reach out to me in the last 24 hours that received a penalty for reviews marked up on their site. The wording of the email is one I have never seen before. I'm looking for other examples so I can see what the patterns are. Here is the wording of the email:

Review policy violation: Review written by the site or person providing the service

Google has detected rich result structured data on your site that violates our structured data quality guidelines. In order to ensure quality search results for users, this structured data won't be eligible for rich results.

Details:
• Problem: Reviews must not be written or provided by the business or content provider unless they are genuine, independent, and unpaid editorial reviews.


Is anyone else seeing these? Please PM me any sites if you have examples.

 

Tim Colling

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Sep 3, 2014
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Thanks, @JoyHawkins

We haven't seen any of those with our own clients here (but I would be surprised if we had done anything wrong on their sites).

We have had a few client's receive admonisments about "New Mobile Usability issues detected" over the past week or so. That seems to have been the GSC naughty note topic lately.

What is the nature of the "penalty" that has been administered for the folks who have reached out to you about this? Suspension of their GMB locations or something?
 

Garrett Sussman

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Mar 15, 2016
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@JoyHawkins Can you confirm whether those people have reviews on their site from employees? Is there any code in the markup that might indicate it's coming from the site?
 

JoyHawkins

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@Garrett Sussman no, it wasn't an employee's name. The business did use a single review across multiple pages and it was missing a date. I guess the implementation made Google think it wasn't legit. Even more reason for businesses to use a review source like Grade.us to automate it all for them.
 

Garrett Sussman

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Mar 15, 2016
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That's really interesting though that the date missing in the markup could result in that type of penalty message from Google.

FWIW we haven't had any of our customers report penalties for review markup issues today, but if I hear anything, I'll definitely keep everyone in the loop here!
 

alexo

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Oct 15, 2016
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hey there,

@JoyHawkins Can you confirm whether those people have reviews on their site from employees?
2 of my clients got such penalties from Google. I don't know about Joy's people, but none of my clients didn't have any reviews from employees.

That's really interesting though that the date missing in the markup could result in that type of penalty message from Google.
I don't think so, I tested 10-12 website that are live on SERP with stars and none of them using ""datePublished": "2018-05-04","

According to this page - only Embedded review have Date-published in it, all others don't have it.

Also as I understand the problem is with content provider and not with dates.

Problem: Reviews must not be written or provided by the business or content provider unless they are genuine, independent, and unpaid editorial reviews.
What do you think?
 

alexo

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Oct 15, 2016
Messages
7
@JoyHawkins,
3 months later do you have any solution for you clients? Use Review/Rating Snippets or don't? What change/add in rating? may be add DatePublished or go with Critic Reviews ?

A critic review is a snippet from a longer review article that a single editor has created, curated, or compiled for a publisher.
 

Colan Nielsen

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Jul 19, 2012
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@alexo Just a heads-up Joy is on vacation so she won't reply until she gets back.

Do you have the Experts Guide to Local SEO yet? We just updated it with exactly what we did to get out of a recent structured data penalty including exactly how we set-up the Schema and the visible reviews on the page.
 

Colan Nielsen

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Jul 19, 2012
Messages
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What I am saying is that the guide goes into a ton of additional detail about this topic and is always being updated with real world experience like this recent recovery we got through.

The coles notes are:
- Make sure that the review that is marked-up in the Schema is also visible on the page
- Include the date published and review rating on the visible page as well
- IF you are marking up a 3rd party review you MUST link to the source whether you are using aggregate or individual mark-up
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,562
@Colan Nielsen,
So in order to get advice, how you get out of a recent structured data penalty - pay $1,499?
You asked where the link to the guide is. He was just telling you. And yes, the price is $1,499 for a major in depth PDF from probably the most highly regarded Local SEO in the industry, a Google Product Expert, etc. etc. with I'm sure contributions from others. Oh and it's also updated a monthly basis for just $30 a month.

The knowledge anyone would get from this is much more than $1,499.
 

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