Should you Mark up Testimonials to get Gold Stars?

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,815
Wouldn't you agree, that in terms of CTR, the benefit of review mark up is severely diminished for a single location local business as you can only get inner pages of a local business to have the stars?

Not that you shouldn't do it but it just seems much less valuable vs a multiple location business the has an inner page ranking for their main terms which will show the review schema?

Also, it sounds like maybe you're supposed to be getting reviews for each individual service ie if you're a chiropractor and you have your back pain page marked up with reviews, they better be reviews about back pain. If your neck pain page has reviews, it better be about neck pain? Or can you just blast all reviews to all pages and have the exact same reviews on your back pain page as well as your neck pain page and be kosher?

Finally, are the schema penalties all manual? Or are they filter based as well (ie penguin, panda, etc.)?
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,436
Grade.Us, who as you know is a review management and marketing solution, just did a really detailed post covering this issue and what it really means.

<a href="http://www.localsearchforum.com/grade-us-review-management-solutions/42880-keep-calm-follow-google%92s-new-schema-guidelines%85-not.html">Keep Calm and Follow Google’s New Schema Guidelines… Or Not</a>
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2013
Messages
102
Thanks, Linda! Please note that my post was largely aimed at clearing up confusion for those who saw "Google" + "Reviews" + "Changes" in an SELand headline and hit the appropriate panic button, which apparently sends an email to me :)

But for this crowd, I'm curious if there's a big picture that you see in the new guidelines?

There's a lot of interest here in exactly how to comply with the more stringent guidelines. But in my reading of the guidelines, a local business would be hard-pressed to ever comply.

Sure, you can eliminate reviews sourced from third-party review sites and group reviews for the right product/service/location pages, but you have to also do it on your own since you can't use an "aggregator or content provider" with whom you have "commercial agreements paid or otherwise" (which nixes every review/feedback solution except maybe a pure software one, such as a free Wordpress plugin). I'm not sure that's the result Google wants.

If these guidelines are to stick, I foresee Google whitelisting a select group of independent review sites, as they have for seller ratings, and then the days will be numbered for businesses themselves using review schema to any effect :(
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2013
Messages
102
P.S. Of course, as a business owner, I'd still probably trade away rich snippets in order to use the most compelling review content on-site. SERP CTRs aside, the goal for most businesses is to win over and convert human prospects. I think reviews sourced from and vetted by trusted publishers like Google, Facebook and Yelp are probably better at that.
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,815
Thanks, Linda! Please note that my post was largely aimed at clearing up confusion for those who saw "Google" + "Reviews" + "Changes" in an SELand headline and hit the appropriate panic button, which apparently sends an email to me :)

But for this crowd, I'm curious if there's a big picture that you see in the new guidelines?

There's a lot of interest here in exactly how to comply with the more stringent guidelines. But in my reading of the guidelines, a local business would be hard-pressed to ever comply.

Sure, you can eliminate reviews sourced from third-party review sites and group reviews for the right product/service/location pages, but you have to also do it on your own since you can't use an "aggregator or content provider" with whom you have "commercial agreements paid or otherwise" (which nixes every review/feedback solution except maybe a pure software one, such as a free Wordpress plugin). I'm not sure that's the result Google wants.

If these guidelines are to stick, I foresee Google whitelisting a select group of independent review sites, as they have for seller ratings, and then the days will be numbered for businesses themselves using review schema to any effect :(
Jon, I take it you're referring to this piece when you're talking about "commercial agreements":

Aggregators or content providers must have no commercial agreements paid or otherwise with businesses to provide reviews.

I didn't read that as "you can't work commercially with an aggregator or content provider to display your reviews that you generate". I took it as "you can't pay an aggregator or content provider FOR reviews" ie no paid, fake reviews.

I can't imagine Google would limit you working with a reputation management company in that way. It makes Google look very intrusive. Furthermore, that policy would not be in Google's best interest because it makes them look even more like an obstinate bully and also further perpetuates the narrative that they make up rules they can't even enforce.

Finally, I think if that were the case that Mike would have mentioned how that effects Get Five Stars in his blog post: https://www.getfivestars.com/blog/updated-google-schema-review-guidelines-local-businesses/

Can we get some clarification via Joy or Mike from Google on this specific policy?
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2013
Messages
102
Agreed, Joshua. I, for one, would love to know what Google means by this guideline! It's not crystal clear to me.

If it's just another way of saying "no paid, fake reviews," it's certainly a roundabout way of saying it!
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2013
Messages
102
Mine may have been an alarmist interpretation. I have just heard from Mike that Google has directly indicated to him that this guideline has to do with incentivized reviews. Whew!
 

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