Structured data had been crucial in making search results stand out with ratings, reviews, and other related metadata.
In another attempt to make Internet search more relevant for the users, Google has updated the Review Rich results. Google has always backed up the use of structured data in the content as it makes their job infinitely easier to fetch the most important results to the audience related to a query.
Earlier this month, Google announced a major change to one of the most used Schema Markup type-reviews.
How do review snippets work?
We are sure you all must have come across some kind of reviews while searching answers to a question, especially when enquiring about a product or a service. Here is an example of how Review snippets are shown in the Google search results:
Review snippets since the very beginning have been incredible conversion boosters for any product or service. It has helped Google to display the ratings and reviews data in the search snippets that made it extremely easier for searchers just to pick the best information.
Given the fact that review snippets allowed literally anyone to boost their click-through rates and eventually make more profits in the form of lead generation or brand awareness, made this schema item favorite of the webmasters. Whether you own a local business or write recipes online, review snippets allowed you to go past the competition and gain more authority.
You can know in detail about the review snippets on Google’s Review Snipper Developer Page.
However, it was this until now.
Google’s Schema Review Rich Results Update
Google on September 18, 2019, updated the Review Rich Result schema in an attempt to limit the pool of schema types that can trigger review rich results in the SERPs.
With this update, Google is weeding out all the pages in the search results that do not either need rich review snippets in the first place or don’t work well with rich reviews.
You must be wondering after the new update what schema items can now trigger the rich review snippets. Well according to official Google statement,following schema types will still be able to trigger rich review snippets:
What is the impact of review rich snippet update on local businesses?
The most crucial impact of the new update will be on the local businesses that used review schema markup to make their business stand out and develop good faith among the customers.
Now moving forward that won’t be possible.
Think about all the false reviews some businesses used to add to their schema markup to boost their conversion rates. Using the ‘aggregateRating’ property in the schema previously allowed Google to trigger the rich review snippets but it won’t work any longer. It is because now Google considers such metadata as “self-serving”.
According to Google, “We consider this (aggregateRating property) “self-serving” because the entity itself has chosen to add the markup to its own pages, about its own business or organization.
Self-serving reviews are no longer displayed for businesses and organizations (the LocalBusiness and Organization schema types). For example, we will no longer display rich review snippets for how people have reviewed a business if those reviews are considered self-serving.”
The whole attempt is to refine the search results and make them more relevant for the audience. That being said, Google will still serve the rich review data for local businesses from third party sites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, TrustPilot, etc.
Should your local business use rich reviews?
There is no clear answer to this question as of now.
Here’s what Google’s John Mueller has to say:
That's correct. If you embed a widget with reviews about your site (LocalBusiness/Organization & sub-types), on your site, we won't show those as "stars" in search. If the reviews are elsewhere, then we would show those there.
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) September 17, 2019
On the first impression, it looks that rather than relying on customer reviews and ratings on your own websites, you can work on integrating reviews from third party services such as BBB, TrustPilot or Yelp so that Google doesn’t mark them as “self-servicing”.
Keep checking out this page for more information as we will be updating as soon as Google gives more clarification on the implication of the Review Rich Results update on local businesses.