Google has made an announcement that changes certain aspects of “Review Rich Snippets” for all company reviews on its Search Algorithm and the news is going big in the digital world.
What are Review Rich Snippets?
Review rich snippets are the organic stars that have probably come across Google for certain search results in the SERPS.
Google has asked businesses to “focus on schema types that lend themselves to reviews” in a recent Google’s Webmaster Central Blog announcement. They have provided a list as follows:
What makes Google’s announcement important?
Self-serving reviews aren’t allowed for Local Business and Organization. Google confirms that Reviews that can be perceived as “self-serving” aren’t in the best interest of users. But what is a so-called “self-serving” review?
A review is “self-serving” when, for example, a review about entity A is placed on the website of that very same entity A – either directly in their markup or via an embedded third-party widget. That’s why, with this recent change, Google is not going to display review rich results anymore for the schema types Local Business and Organization (and their subtypes) when the entity being reviewed controls the reviews itself.
Another point to pay attention to is the following:
To differentiate between the item types in this list, the “name” parameter is now required in any structured markup:
Companies should add the name of the item that’s being reviewed. The name property is now required for all reviews, so they have to make sure that they specify the name of the item that’s being reviewed.
To make things easier, Google has created an FAQ available on their blog post, this is as follows below:
What if I’m using a third-party widget to display reviews about my business?
Google Search won’t display review snippets for those pages. Embedding a third-party widget is seen as controlling the process of linking reviews.
Do I need to remove self-serving reviews from Local Business or Organization?
No, you don’t need to remove them. Google Search just won’t display review snippets for those pages anymore.
Will I get a manual action for having self-serving reviews on my site?
You won’t get a manual action just for this. However, we recommend making sure that your structured data matches our guidelines.
Does this update affect my Google My Business listing/profile?
No, Google My Business is not affected as this update only relates to organic Search.
Will sites that gather reviews about other organizations be affected?
No, that’s unchanged. Sites that gather reviews can show up with review snippets (for their reviews of other organizations) in search results.
Does this update apply to Aggregate Rating too?
Yes. It applies to Review and Aggregate Rating.”
The important question to answer here is of how recent announcement affects businesses displaying review widgets on their site. In a nutshell, it simply means that less weight is being placed on company reviews in the organic search results (although these changes do not affect Seller Ratings in paid results), and more weight is going to be placed on product reviews in the search results.
Therefore, all companies that are not currently collecting product reviews should now change strategies and start doing so. It also means that from a search point of view, the playing field has become a bit more level. There’ll be fewer stars in organic results, but the remaining ones will have more value.
Reviews.io clients have been asked to contact Google if they still have concerns about these changes and they will provide further explanations and details on the same.