On September 16, 2019, I stumbled on to a midnight Twitter notification from Google Webmasters’ official account. The tweet read, “Today, we’re introducing an algorithmic update to review snippets to ease implementation: – Clear set of schema types for review snippets – Self-serving reviews aren’t allowed – Name of the thing you’re reviewing is required…”
Today, we’re introducing an algorithmic update to review snippets to ease implementation:— Google Webmasters (@googlewmc) September 16, 2019
– Clear set of schema types for review snippets
– Self-serving reviews aren’t allowed
– Name of the thing you’re reviewing is required
More details: https://t.co/NwZ4unzoOF
Yes, if your reviews rich results aren’t visible on the Google SERP from today, then this is because of the recent Google algorithm update.
Google also blog posted in webmasters that it has released, “algorithmic updates on reviews rich results” to make sure if a result should be shown with reviews (stars) in SERP snippets. Google says it will make it easier to implement this feature further.
What are these reviews’ rich results?
Google takes structured scheme data related to your reviews and shows it on the Google SERPs. Here’s the sample screenshot of the snippet that shows reviews in the Google search results. The stars in it indicate reviews rich results:
Self-Serving Reviews are Not Allowed Anymore for Organizations and Local Businesses
Google, furthermore, said that it’s not going to allow self-serving reviews in the SERP. It says, “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 mark-up or via an embedded 3rd party widget,”
Add ‘Name’ Property of the item that is Reviewed
According to this update, ‘name’ property is significant; thus, you should ensure to add ‘name’ of the item that is being reviewed. When adding this to something you are reviewing, it helps Google to qualify your item for review mark-up.
To sum up this algorithm update, henceforth, Google will show reviews rich results only for:
- A particular group of schema types
- Non “Self Serving” reviews
- Reviews with the property ‘name’ in the mark-up
What Type of Schema Structured Data is allowed to Show Reviews?
Google released the list of schemas that it will show the reviews for. Though you can include review mark-up to any schema type, Google displays star reviews only for those who offer much value to the users. So, accordingly, the schema type that potentially triggers review rich results in the SERP is limited. Hence, the specific schema types which display reviews include:
To help you out, Google has updated the review snippet developer documents post this update. It will help you cope with the changes going further.
If your site used to show the reviews rich results (the stars) in Google SERP, then you have to ensure that it shows the stars in the future as well. To do so, study these new rules thoroughly and ensure that your schema structured data and web pages comply with these new rules and if they are in line, then relax yourselves. In case, your review rich results have disappeared already or don’t show it shortly; then it’s most likely that it is because of this algorithmic update. If you have experienced any of the changes after this update, post your feedback in the comments.