Did Google’s Update Make Your Stars Disappear for Your Local Business, Product/Service, or Blog Posts?

Google’s official blog had a post titled, “Making Review Rich Results more helpful”  on September 16th. In a nutshell, they said moving forward they would reduce the number of scheme types allowed to make sure self-serving reviews were not a part of the count. 

The result is that ratings and reviews previously displayed for organizations, local businesses, and articles/blogs have disappeared from the SERPs. 

 Google’s motivation is to ensure that rating and reviews are an honest reflection of a user’s experience versus a reflection of the organization’s ability to impact the reviews themselves.

According to Google, “To explain more, in the past, an entity like a business or an organization could add review markup about themselves to their home page or another page and often cause a review snippet to show for that page. That markup could have been added directly by the entity or embedded through the use of a third-party widget.

We consider this “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).

What is Schema? According to Schema.org “Schema is a semantic vocabulary of tags (or microdata) that you can add to your HTML to improve the way search engines read and represent your page in SERPs.”

Here is a sample of the code for a book:

What Should You Do?

  • Continue to use schema markup (aka structured data) to ensure that search engines explicitly understand your content so that you can be found in organic and voice search
  • Continue to display ratings and reviews on your website, and include the  “name” property for “ItemReviewed”
  • Continue to gather reviews using a 3rd party site (e.g. Google My Business, Yelp,  etc…) so you get their rich result for your company for that site’s URL in SERP. 
  • Pay attention to the now-supported schema types
Screenshot of Official Google Webmaster