More threads by JoyHawkins

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I would say that is incorrect.

Google' Review Snippet Guidelines have this item: "Sites must collect ratings information directly from users and not from other sites."

So "repurposing" 3rd party reviews that have been sourced directly by that site and already marked-up at that site ... is not within their technical guidelines for quite some time.

I didn’t describe the scenario or communicate what I meant correctly. You’re right, even though BirdEye does this anyways (or at least did the last time checked a couple of months ago).

When I said “aggregate reviews,” I didn’t mean aggregate from other websites.

3rd party platforms that collect reviews on behalf of businesses can still display aggregate rating schema (i.e., Review Snippet schema) for the reviews the 3rd party platform collects on behalf of a business or organization. As an example, DemandForce collects reviews directly from the business’ users and renders the reviews and Review Snippet schema on a DemandForce microsites.

3rd party platforms are still allowed to show Review Snippet schema for local businesses and organizations on the 3rd party website, while the 1st party business cannot.

That’s my interpretation. Do you think that is correct?
 
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Emily Brady

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So no word of "when" this is going to happen, we'll just wake up one morning with schema removed from the serps and the phone ringing from eagle eyed clients #herewegoagain :sneaky:

Late to the game but I just did a few searches and am seeing this change reflected in SERPs already! Weeeeee!
 

JoyHawkins

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3rd party platforms that collect reviews on behalf of businesses can still display aggregate rating schema (i.e., Review Snippet schema) for the reviews the 3rd party platform collects on behalf of a business or organization. As an example, DemandForce collects reviews directly from the business’ users and renders the reviews and Review Snippet schema on a DemandForce microsites.

So based on John's last reply, I believe it would be fine for DemandForce to still mark up the reviews on their own site. So searching for the brand would pull up the stars on their profile on DemandForce.com just like you see on Yelp or Facebook etc.

However, if the dentist put a the DemandForce widget on their site, this is what Google doesn't want to show stars for.

 

Ampere

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So is there now any way for a SAB to compliantly markup one (or multiple) of their own pages to show the review stars in the SERPs?
 

JoyHawkins

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So is there now any way for a SAB to compliantly markup one (or multiple) of their own pages to show the review stars in the SERPs?

IMO, I wouldn't touch or change anything. Time will tell if they can actually detect or enforce this. If they do, it simply removes the gold stars so I see no harm in trying.

Scenario 1: They don't detect it and you keep the gold stars (win!)
Scenario 2: They do detect it and you lose the gold stars

Either way, it's worth trying.
 

Justin Mosebach

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Google making a vague announcement? Say it ain't so!

It would seem cruel to actually punish websites for it (other than removing the stars) because there's a lot of local businesses that have websites built by some SEO they hired 3 years ago (who they no longer work with) who added it to their site. The business owner's going to have no idea that (a.) this is an issue or (b.) how to fix it in the code.
 

mcody

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Google's posting seems to contradict itself. They state that review markup will be allowed for LocalBusiness but that the review content cannot be about the LocalBusiness. What review content would be appropriate, if not about the thing being reviewed, ie the LocalBusiness? Also, guidelines already state that you cannot take someone else's reviews (Yelp/Facebook) and mark them up as your own, yet this states you cannot mark up reviews that you control either. Which is it?
 

JoyHawkins

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Google's posting seems to contradict itself. They state that review markup will be allowed for LocalBusiness but that the review content cannot be about the LocalBusiness. What review content would be appropriate, if not about the thing being reviewed, ie the LocalBusiness? Also, guidelines already state that you cannot take someone else's reviews (Yelp/Facebook) and mark them up as your own, yet this states you cannot mark up reviews that you control either. Which is it?

The LocalBusiness schema type will still exist and still have the reviews option on it because this is the schema type that 3rd party sites will use to mark up reviews. IE: Yelp would use this on their profile pages for all the businesses listed on their sites.

What they're saying now (clarified here) is that they don't want businesses using it on their own sites if that business controls the source of the reviews. A business doesn't control the reviews on Yelp that they get. If they get a negative review, they can't just go delete it. Thus, Yelp can use it. As a consumer, this makes perfect sense. Obviously, as a marketer I don't like it.
 

mblumenthal

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It is an annoying response to a mess of Google's and our (the seo world) creation. And it has some tactical impact on local websites.

It is an annoyance for sure but it is not the end of the world. Just today’s drama.

Regardless of what Google does I see first party reviews as important for the long haul.

Google’s decision will reduce clickthrough from the serps but that impact, if Google executes fairly (big if), will affect all equally.

But that is the worse that will happen.

In that context first party reviews are still are important for:

- direct client feedback
which is more honest and meaningful and comes in greater quantity than google reviews

- page content and building a content strategy including social proof
I see website content as one of the biggest challenges of most small websites and I see 1 st party reviews solving that

Social proof on their website is critical as the website is a huge component of the selling process.

- strategic analysis, keyword research and business improvement
See When is a Review More Than a Review? - GatherUp

A solid base of significant review data, which is easier to generate in first party form, offers huge strategic value.

At an industry level I see consolidation in the review space. With many sites paling in comparison to Google. Yelp has effectively become a niche player and Facebook has deemphasized reviews and neither generate much business from traditional discovery activities.

More and more searches are originating in Maps where the only reviews shown are Google's. This transition to Maps discovery is happening very rapidly. Maps via mobile has become the dominant discovery platform for categories like restaurants, many bricks and mortar establishments and many other categories. And it is an environment where your website is the only offered alternative source of truth.

In a Maps discovery world all bets are off for third party reviews.

Thus I see any business, taking a long term view, priorities to be:
Google
And their own website

And in that world only Google and first party reviews matter.
 

keyserholiday

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We've definitely seen schema-related penalties in the last year. It's generally when review schema is present without the physical reviews showing on the page anywhere. Every single one I've looked at simply removes the gold stars in the SERPs and has no impact on ranking.

Has there been a notice of a manual action or just the reviews snippet being removed?
 

Josh Gill

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I am seeing this already take effect on a client's results in organic SERPS. Stars were there yesterday and now they are gone. 3rd result had stars for a while now and that is no longer the case. However other pages from the same site still show reviews snippets.

Rankings not affected so far. Must be rolling out today...

Yesterday - (Mobile) Desktop had stars too.

IMG_0204.jpg

Today - (Desktop and Mobile stars gone)

IMG_3207.PNG Screen Shot 2019-09-17 at 11.59.35 AM.png


Location pages still have stars.

Screen Shot 2019-09-17 at 12.03.27 PM.png
 
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So based on John's last reply, I believe it would be fine for DemandForce to still mark up the reviews on their own site. So searching for the brand would pull up the stars on their profile on DemandForce.com just like you see on Yelp or Facebook etc.

However, if the dentist put a the DemandForce widget on their site, this is what Google doesn't want to show stars for.



I see that now as well. Thanks!
 

keyserholiday

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We have a form that has to be filled out in order to post a review.

post a review.PNG
 
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The LocalBusiness schema type will still exist and still have the reviews option on it because this is the schema type that 3rd party sites will use to mark up reviews. IE: Yelp would use this on their profile pages for all the businesses listed on their sites.

What they're saying now (clarified here) is that they don't want businesses using it on their own sites if that business controls the source of the reviews. A business doesn't control the reviews on Yelp that they get. If they get a negative review, they can't just go delete it. Thus, Yelp can use it. As a consumer, this makes perfect sense. Obviously, as a marketer I don't like it.


Yelp does heavily control reviews, however. They have a track record of explicitly hiding reviews that are in favor of the local business. Reviews left on Yelp's platform are very self-serving to Yelp. (Yelp even has a page dedicated to defending claims of extortion).

I know you just used Yelp as an example - you could have used a number of other websites as examples - but Google really created a wormhole with this update...
 
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JaraMoser

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We had a site that had review markup in the JSON file have their stars removed from SERP - sites with inline markup still show.

We are seeing a mix though, a site with the dentist category via JSON, stars are still displaying. Seems to be rolling out, interesting to see how long for them to get through all categories.
 

AaronWeiche

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No surprise I heavily agree with Mike's post a few back. Now that a few details have surfaced here is my super simplified take.

1- Google is no longer showing review snippets for local businesses. No matter the "source" if you put it on your own website.
2- Google is removing the stars in the SERPs, ignoring the schema, with NO penalty or rank issue
3- SERP stars are a marketing tactic, tactics come and go.
4- 1st party reviews are a business strategy with huge benefits ... and you need a strategy to execute your always evolving tactics.
5- Google has tons of guidelines and only pounds of enforcement as shown, everything is "self-serving", but debating Google on common sense is usually wasted energy.

For GatherUp, this really doesn't effect our path, our main goal is to help a business listen and understand their customer, then improve and build upon it in many ways (reviews being one of them). This SERP stars tactic might sunset, but new ones will rise and new features will execute on it. The sky was still up this morning. ;)
 

pony

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Google’s decision will reduce clickthrough from the serps but that impact, if Google executes fairly (big if), will affect all equally.

Will it not give preferential treatment to the 3rd party sites that are allowed to keep the rich results, and thusly keep higher CTRs?

Working in the hotel industry, Trip Advisors pages are still going to have rich results and my local business pages won't.

That's a benefit to Trip Advisor and not the local business. Seems like preferential treatment to 3rd party reviewers and a big hit to small businesses.
 

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