Google cracks down on some review rich results

announced it has applied “algorithmic updates to reviews in rich results,” in order to determine if it should show the reviews (the stars) in the search results snippets. said this will “ease implementation” for this feature going forward.

In short, Google is now showing rich results only for:

  • A clear set of schema types for review snippets
  • Non “self-serving” reviews
  • Reviews that have the name property within the markup

Schema types allowed. Here is a list of the schema types that are currently allowed to show review rich results in the Google search results:

Self-serving reviews aren’t allowed. Google said in addition to the above, self-serving reviews aren’t allowed. “Reviews that can be perceived as “self-serving” aren’t in the best interest of users. We call reviews “self-serving” when a review about entity A is placed on the website of entity A either directly in their markup or via an embedded 3rd party widget,” Google wrote.

Name property required. Google also said when you are reviewing something, you must add the name property to the markup for it to qualify for this review markup. “the name property is now required, so you’ll want to make sure that you specify the name of the item that’s being reviewed,” Google added.

What are review rich results. Here is a screen shot of a sample snippet in the Google search results that have reviews within the result. These starts are the review rich results:

Updated help docs. Google has updated the review snippet developer documents to clarify these changes going forward.

Why we care. If your pages on your site show review rich results, i.e. the stars, in the search results, then you will want to make sure they continue to show these stars. Review these new rules, make sure your pages and schema markup comply with these rules and if they do, you should be okay. If your review rich results disappear today or in the near future, it is likely related to this new algorithmic update around review rich results.

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