More threads by Ed209

Ed209

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Hi Guys,

I've been going into a bit of a rabbit hole trying to find out the correct way to implement what needs to be implemented in order for review stars to show up in the organic search results for an attorney's website.

A few things I have found out that I would like to share here in relation to attorney websites and review stars displayed in the search results, as well as some questions.

Observations:

1: The home page itself is not eligible for being shown on the search results with review stars.
2: Internal pages could be eligible provided the content is for example a service, about or attorney profile page.
3: Review stars aren't guaranteed to be displayed in the search result snippet, despite having the needed markup in the HTML source code.

Currently I see attorney website's internal pages show up in the search results with review stars in their search result snippet.

Even though Google stated they won't show review stars for schema types "LocalBusiness" and "Organization".

Looking at some of the search results snippets for the pages I see ranking, I see that instead of the schema types "LocalBusiness" and "Organization", a different inaccurate schema type is being used, namely "Product".

This is an example that I found, (added example business info to replace original business info):

JavaScript:
<script nonce="" type="application/ld+json">
{
    "@context": "https://schema.org",
    "@type": "Product",
    "name": "Acme Law Firm",
    "description": "Acme is the best choice for your legal issues.",
    "aggregateRating": {
        "@type": "AggregateRating",
        "ratingValue": "4.8",
        "ratingCount": "100",
        "bestRating": "5",
        "worstRating": "1",
        "itemReviewed": "Acme Law Firm"
     }
}
</script>

Alternatively, instead of the name of the firm, the practice area is being used, example:

JavaScript:
                <script type="application/ld+json">
                {
                    "@context": "http://schema.org",
                    "@type": "Product",
                    "name": "Personal Injury Attorney ",
                    "aggregateRating": {
                        "@type": "AggregateRating",
                        "ratingValue": "5",
                        "reviewCount": "10"
                    }
                }
            </script>

The numbers aren't correct either, they are just made up, and yet it looks to me like just dropping in a code snippet like one of the above examples is all it takes to trigger the review stars.

Questions:

1: Am I correct to assume this, or am I missing something?
2: Is there a better way than the above method?
3: Would you use this method for your client websites, legal or other type of local business?
 
Solution
Hi @Ed209 there is a very recent thread that I believe will answer your question: How to integrate reviews from 3rd party sites onto service company website in order to get review rich snippet in SERPS ?

You'll need to read the entire thread, but it covers the proper schema and also the need to have the reviews on that specific page to be present on the marked up page. Schema markup in general, should represent content that is also visible to the end-user on the actual page. In other words, don't use schema markup in an attempt to influence Google's search results with snippets without having the corresponding "snippet" content visible on the actual page.
Hi @Ed209 there is a very recent thread that I believe will answer your question: How to integrate reviews from 3rd party sites onto service company website in order to get review rich snippet in SERPS ?

You'll need to read the entire thread, but it covers the proper schema and also the need to have the reviews on that specific page to be present on the marked up page. Schema markup in general, should represent content that is also visible to the end-user on the actual page. In other words, don't use schema markup in an attempt to influence Google's search results with snippets without having the corresponding "snippet" content visible on the actual page.
 
Solution
Hi @Ed209 there is a very recent thread that I believe will answer your question: How to integrate reviews from 3rd party sites onto service company website in order to get review rich snippet in SERPS ?

You'll need to read the entire thread, but it covers the proper schema and also the need to have the reviews on that specific page to be present on the marked up page. Schema markup in general, should represent content that is also visible to the end-user on the actual page. In other words, don't use schema markup in an attempt to influence Google's search results with snippets without having the corresponding "snippet" content visible on the actual page.

Hi Jeff,

Thank you for your reply. I did read that specific thread, but it actually does not discuss the proper schema markup, and there is next to no information I could find that goes into specific information what the proper and accepted way actually is.

Google stated they don't want to have businesses or organizations to display star reviews in search results snippets, and yet every business or organization snippet you do see ranking with review stars is showing this, because the schema markup used is either intended for a product, or something else that is not relevant to a business type or organization.

As it stands now, you don't even have to show actual reviews on a page to get review stars to show up in search result snippets, only have incorrect schema markup when it comes to Type classification.

I would want to show reviews on the website, and use the appropriate schema markup, but can you tell me what the appropriate schema markup would be?

The guidance and instructions from Google don't match with reality, and it's been going on for years, white hat SEO's are "abusing" schema to force the review stars to be displayed in search result snippets for local businesses and organizations even though Google claims they don't want to show for these type of entities.

So it's a tolerated gray area, and clients are asking about this, and from my end I'm just asking for direction and clarity.
 
Yes, I agree it is frustrating for those that abuse schema markup and use it outside of Google's guidelines. It is even more frustrating that Google doesn't do a better job of enforcing the guidelines. That is exactly what occurred with FAQ markup, it got abused and Google just limited the number of FAQs that show up in rich results which affected everyone.

I think this Google doc pretty much sums up programmatically what needs to be done. As @Conor Treacy mentioned in the other thread, I think his approach would be the most straightforward and easiest to implement. Post all, or selective reviews on the page, possibly in a carousel. Then code the markup for aggregate review average for those reviews on the page rather than marking up all the individual reviews

 
Yes, I agree it is frustrating for those that abuse schema markup and use it outside of Google's guidelines. It is even more frustrating that Google doesn't do a better job of enforcing the guidelines. That is exactly what occurred with FAQ markup, it got abused and Google just limited the number of FAQs that show up in rich results which affected everyone.

I think this Google doc pretty much sums up programmatically what needs to be done. As @Conor Treacy mentioned in the other thread, I think his approach would be the most straightforward and easiest to implement. Post all, or selective reviews on the page, possibly in a carousel. Then code the markup for aggregate review average for those reviews on the page rather than marking up all the individual reviews


What @Conor Treacy does and suggests is to use incorrect schema markup, to use schema markup that should not be used for a local business or organization providing a service, the schema markup shown by Google is intended for a product.

To clarify, I don't find it frustrating for "those" that "abuse" schema markup to get review stars showing in a search result snippet, because that is every SEO on this forum that works with service providers and use schema to get review stars showing for a service page's search result snippet.

What I find frustrating is the way Google is threatening with taking manual action against a website, and yet everyone goes on their way to deliberately do the schema markup all wrong from a specification point of view, and forcing anyone to take risks for their clients that can harm their search visibility.
 
What @Conor Treacy does and suggests is to use incorrect schema markup, to use schema markup that should not be used for a local business or organization providing a service, the schema markup shown by Google is intended for a product.

To clarify, I don't find it frustrating for "those" that "abuse" schema markup to get review stars showing in a search result snippet, because that is every SEO on this forum that works with service providers and use schema to get review stars showing for a service page's search result snippet.

What I find frustrating is the way Google is threatening with taking manual action against a website, and yet everyone goes on their way to deliberately do the schema markup all wrong from a specification point of view, and forcing anyone to take risks for their clients that can harm their search visibility.

I am not sure why you are claiming everyone here abuses Google's TOS. Does some SEOs willing break Google's TOS and get away with it, sure. Do some SEOs willing break Google's TOS and get punished, yes. I don't and resent being lumping into an "all SEOs" grouping. Google had to come out with manual actions and penalties to stop unethical SEOs from continuing to game the system. Google got exposed with horrible and low-level SERP results and hit back with both Penguin and Panda. You know that you must obey all traffic laws and not speed. Do you ever speed? People that speed know that they could be caught and given a ticket, it prevents a lot of people from speeding, but a lot of people still speed.

I am extremely white hat as I can't afford my clients to get hit with a manual action.
 
I am not sure why you are claiming everyone here abuses Google's TOS. Does some SEOs willing break Google's TOS and get away with it, sure. Do some SEOs willing break Google's TOS and get punished, yes. I don't and resent being lumping into an "all SEOs" grouping. Google had to come out with manual actions and penalties to stop unethical SEOs from continuing to game the system. Google got exposed with horrible and low-level SERP results and hit back with both Penguin and Panda. You know that you must obey all traffic laws and not speed. Do you ever speed? People that speed know that they could be caught and given a ticket, it prevents a lot of people from speeding, but a lot of people still speed.

I am extremely white hat as I can't afford my clients to get hit with a manual action.

If you are using the @type": "Product" in your schema markup for businesses providing a service, and use it for review markup, which is what appears to be the case for ALL SEO's in this forum, then you are using it as it's not intended to be used.

Please answer me this, an attorney that has delivered service to a client, can that be classified as a product?

I'm not saying all SEO's using this trick are unethical, but let's be honest here, ALL SEO's that use @type": "Product" for a straight up service provider is 100% using this option to still get the review stars to show up, even though Google claim they won't show review stars for schema types "LocalBusiness" and "Organization".

But if you drop in additional schema markup with aggregated review ratings for a product, then ... tadaaa! - Here are your review stars for the search result snippet.

Using @type": "Product" to be used specifically for service provider reviews is gray hat, it's certainly not white hat.

And that's perfectly fine with me.
 
I was 50/50 on whether to respond here on this or not, but since I was called out directly, I figured I'd at least offer a short response.

I definitely take issue with being called out as someone who willfully breaks Google's rules and that I'm lumped into a bucket of BlackHat SEO, abusing Schema, and unethical.

I think there is a better way to bring attention to the change in Google's Schema regarding reviews other than saying that everyone on this forum is practicing bad SEO.

With regard to my advice to the user, I was not advising the use of the product schema to be put in place of others. I did state that we don't do much with the services end of things; however we do use the product schema and that's updated dynamically. I was not intending that someone should use product schema if they do not offer products on the page. We use product schema in e-commerce sites directly with reviews - this is how it's intended to be used.

For the ideas behind aggregate reviews and how that was implemented on sites we maintain, we use it as part of the "LocalBusiness" schema markup. I was actually unaware that Google had changed their guide to no longer recommend adding reviews in the LocalBusiness schema for themselves.

Bing and other systems still use this, so while it may not work with Google, it does still work with Bing. Google also state that if it is used, they will ignore it. Again, this shows that it was change in how they're using it rather than labeling everyone who uses it as violating their rules.

With that said, at the top of the page, Google does state that "if your site violates one or more of these guidelines, then Google may take manual action against it."

Again, I take issue with being labeled as someone purposefully violating Google's rules and manipulating Schema. This was not my intent or guidance, and I think my track record for the past 20+ years supports that.

I do want to thank you for bringing up the guide and the changes; however, this is something that was not on the forefront of my mind. I'm sure I read it at some point, but it definitely wasn't top of mind - it will be now however.
 
I definitely take issue with being called out as someone who willfully breaks Google's rules and that I'm lumped into a bucket of BlackHat SEO, abusing Schema, and unethical.

I didn't state your actions or advice is comparable to Blackhat SEO or Unethical at all, nor did I state that about any other SEO on this forum.

However I did make the mistake to not read your thread carefully enough to understand your schema markup guidance is not intended for service providers.

For this I apologize.

I think there is a better way to bring attention to the change in Google's Schema regarding reviews other than saying that everyone on this forum is practicing bad SEO.

The purpose for this thread was not done with the intent for it to be a public announcement about the change in Google's Guidelines from so many years ago.

It was intended to get confirmation, clarity.

I also did not state everyone on this forum is practicing bad SEO. I stated something else entirely more on that below.

We use product schema in e-commerce sites directly with reviews - this is how it's intended to be used.

I agree.

Can you understand why I would like to get more input from SEO's ... White Hat SEO's ... if I see attorney websites this day, managed by the best White Hat SEO's use @type": "Product" for reviews shown on their client's service pages?

Because this change has been live for many years now, yet I see incorrectly marked up schema markup for reviews.

And this incorrect markup is done deliberately, it's not a typo, or a mistake. It's been done on purpose after Google changed its guidelines.

Every SEO on this forum that used @type": "Product" to markup schema for reviews shown on service pages, instead of "@type": "LocalBusiness", or "@type": "Organization" has done so with the knowledge that this the way to sidestep Google's change in guidelines in order to get review stars to show up in the search result snippet.

I don't state this practice is Blackhat SEO, or Unethical, or plain BAD SEO, but you are stepping in a gray area.

In the same way some notable White Hat SEO's on this board may have advised / offered the suggestion to their client's to change the name of their business to a more keyword driven name to get more visibility in the local pack.

Google also state that if it is used, they will ignore it. Again, this shows that it was change in how they're using it rather than labeling everyone who uses it as violating their rules.

Correct. If you're using schema review markup used in conjunction with "@type": "LocalBusiness", or "@type": "Organization" they will ignore it.

Google however clearly does NOT ignore the use of @type": "Product" for reviews shown on service pages, that is the reason why an attorney service page for example is showing review stars in the search result snippet if that page is using that type of markup.

And for those SEO's that deliberately use @type": "Product" for reviews shown on service pages, they know they are sidestepping Google's rules.

Again, I take issue with being labeled as someone purposefully violating Google's rules and manipulating Schema. This was not my intent or guidance, and I think my track record for the past 20+ years supports that.

You're absolutely right, in the thread Jeff pointed out to me, your guidance did not suggest to use incorrect @type, and my apologies for incorrectly on my part stating your guidance was incorrect.

Your guidance was 100% spot on for e-commerce pages.
 
While I appreciate the fact that you “apologised.” I’d like for you to reread what you previously wrote and how a few of us took it the wrong way. I get that there is a language barrier, but your tone upset some people, myself included. I doubt that I will be willing to reply to any of your other threads based on the tone in these two paragraphs:

What @Conor Treacy does and suggests is to use incorrect schema markup, to use schema markup that should not be used for a local business or organization providing a service, the schema markup shown by Google is intended for a product.

To clarify, I don't find it frustrating for "those" that "abuse" schema markup to get review stars showing in a search result snippet, because that is every SEO on this forum that works with service providers and use schema to get review stars showing for a service page's search result snippet.

This will be my last and final comment on this thread.
 
While I appreciate the fact that you “apologised.” I’d like for you to reread what you previously wrote and how a few of us took it the wrong way. I get that there is a language barrier, but your tone upset some people, myself included. I doubt that I will be willing to reply to any of your other threads based on the tone in these two paragraphs:

What @Conor Treacy does and suggests is to use incorrect schema markup, to use schema markup that should not be used for a local business or organization providing a service, the schema markup shown by Google is intended for a product.

To clarify, I don't find it frustrating for "those" that "abuse" schema markup to get review stars showing in a search result snippet, because that is every SEO on this forum that works with service providers and use schema to get review stars showing for a service page's search result snippet.

This will be my last and final comment on this thread.

My apologies was as you can read in my post specifically, and only directed to Conor Treacy, because his comments regarding use of schema markup in the thread you pointed me to, was actually correct due to the fact it was intended for e-commerce, and not for services.

I don't have anything else to apologize for, and you can suggest my apologies are not sincere all you want. If I make a mistake I'll be the first one to admit it.

I shouldn't have mentioned Conor's post, plain and simple, and neither should you have referred me to that thread, because that was incorrect on your part, even though your intentions were genuine.

Conor's guidance as he pointed out was not relevant for attorney service pages.

When it comes to things to be upset about, I've been very specific with my words, I've also put quotation marks around the word "abuse" for a reason, to imply a certain level of exaggeration, and not to take that term as serious.

What is wrong with you to take so much offense to that? .

If you or anyone else, and specifically when I refer to this "abuse" of using incorrect schema markup with correct examples and sources feel offended by this you're totally irrational.

If you feel offended for some reason, it means that you are willing to use @product over @localbusiness or @organization in the review schema markup for the service providers you work with, and you prefer @product because you know only that option will have the possibility to trigger review stars for the service page.

And let me iterate again, choosing this route is just a gray area. Like buying a solid backlink.

Should your position be that you wouldn't use @product for marking up reviews with schema for service pages, then you have no valid reason whatsoever to be offended, because nowhere in my posts did I refer to you.

Let me highlight here to make it clear who I did refer to:

because that is every SEO on this forum that works with service providers and use schema to get review stars showing for a service page's search result snippet.

Yes, every SEO that uses @product schema markup to markup the reviews on an attorney's service page to trigger review stars in a search result snippet is stepping in a gray area.

I can't see it any other way.
 

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