Before we start talking about new changes to rich snippets for Google reviews we should cover the basics of it. There are two questions we need to answer. The first one is – what is a Google review snippet. The second one is – how to get rich snippets on Google.
The answer to the first question is pretty easy. It is a short excerpt of a review or a rating of course from a review website. Most commonly it is an average of the combined rating scores from many reviewers. Before answering the other question we need to clear this one first – Google rich snippets refer to the additional data displayed with web search results. So, when it comes to the second question the answer will be covered a bit more in the text further but shortly – Google can show you rich results or snippets if you make sure to add structured data to your website.
Structured data is a piece of code in a specific format. It is written in a special way that search engines understand. Search engines can read the code and use it to create rich results so this is shortly explained what structured data is. If you have any questions left make sure to find literature or blogs that can help you learn more about stuff like this. Or you can hire professionals in this area. That is also a good option.
Why did the changes occur in the first place?
Now that we covered the basics we can start talking about the changes. Many people are wondering about changes and why did Google make them. Google obviously wasn’t happy with how star rating rich snippets were being used and Google changes everything that doesn’t work perfectly. That is actually the perfect example of how everything should work. When there is room for improvement the best course is to do it right away. This is the reason why we are writing you this and showing you where you can continue your research.
New changes to rich snippets for Google reviews
Now we have come to do the exciting part – what is new? The first thing that we noticed is that Google is becoming very strict. They are especially strict on when they will and will not respect ratings structured data, the Schema.org property. Until now this has triggered these enhanced search results. If you wish to see the new guidelines you do so here.
What is being accomplished with new changes to rich snippets for Google reviews?
The way it looks is that Google is trying to push these ratings to apply mainly to real critical or genuine third-party reviews. The best example for it would be when a newspaper makes a review of some new film. What they want to make sure is that the reviews are not “self-serving”. They are doing this because they believe that self-serving reviews are not in the best interest of their users. “We are not going to display review rich results anymore for schema types local Business and Organization (and their subtypes) in cases when the entity being reviewed controls the reviews themselves” – this is what they wrote to explain the new changes. Some would argue that every website is actually self-serving so that those new changes might not be fair but that’s a completely different topic.
Is this a good thing?
Ok, so you learned what is new and if you saw the link that we left for you you have seen the new guidelines. Now you are probably wondering “is this a good thing for me“. Generally speaking, it was a bit dishonest the way the snippets were before and this will make that right. This may genuinely improve search results so that is always a good thing. In case you are worried that your site might be punished for displaying reviews with schema markup – you don’t have to be. Google is not asking people to remove the structured data from their reviews. Their solution is simple – they simply won’t display them and that’s all. No punishments. This won’t apply to websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor because they gather reviews on behalf of businesses and that is not seen as self-serving.
Do rich snippets help SEO?
When it comes to On-SERP SEO, rich snippets are very important. They can help with reach and they can answer queries right away with pictures, videos, and texts. So, the answer is yes. If you plan on hiring an SEO expert to manage your website, then he or she can deal with snippets instead of you. Sometimes you need to delegate the workload. But it’s still good to be informed and that’s why we are here.
We hope that our text about new changes to rich snippets for Google reviews helped you and the links we left you helped with your research. Google is often changing the rules and it’s not easy staying on top of them. Not even SEO experts can manage that with local SEO tools all the time. That’s why we all need to educate about it often – because rules are changing often.
Word of advice
Also, please note that if you have any trouble dealing with all those rules because you simply have other priorities with your websites you can always hire professionals to deal with this task. It’s impossible to handle everything on your own especially if you have a big website and business to run. That’s why we are suggesting finding adequate help. Or if you wish to do everything on your own, we have given you a good start on new changes to rich snippets for Google reviews and now it’s up to you. Start by reading the guidelines first!