Google’s Rich Snippet update – what does it all mean?

On September 16th 2019, Google announced that they were making some changes to the way they display rich results, or review stars, in their organic search results.

Unsure about what all of this means? Here’s what you need to know.

What are Rich Snippets?

Rich Snippets is the name given to enhanced search results which show up next to your website in the SERP. They include extra bits of visual content, such as star ratings.

What changes have Google made to the way they show star ratings?

In simple terms, ‘self-serving’ reviews will no longer be eligible to show in Rich Snippets. What Google mean by this, is any reviews about your own business that are hosted on your site will no longer count towards the stars shown in organic search results.

Here’s how they explained it:

“We call reviews ‘self-serving’ when a review about entity A is placed on the website of entity A – either directly in their markup or via an embedded 3rd party widget.”

In the past, a business or organisation could add review markup about themselves to their site to qualify for Rich Snippets on certain pages, but the new rules mean that there is now a defined set of schema types for review snippets. You can find more information about these here

The changes also mean that 'self-serving' reviews which are added through an embedded third-party widget (such as our on-page service widget) will no longer be eligible for Rich Snippets. 

How will my business be affected by this change?

Over the next few weeks, Google will be removing organic stars from pages which include Organisation or LocalBusiness schema. This means that you will no longer see stars in organic search results from service, company, or local reviews coming from your own site.

What about product stars?

The new rules only apply to Organisation and LocalBusiness schema, so your product markup won't be affected. 

How about our Feefo reviews page?

Your Feefo reviews page will keep the same markup and will continue to benefit from organic stars

What do I need to do?

Firstly, there’s no need to panic! There’s no action that you need to take right now and there won’t be a penalty from Google for any schema that’s been added to your site.

In the longer term, there are still plenty of ways to show your customers that you’re a trusted business.

  • Display your service rating in a prominent place on your site, such as the header or footer
  • If you’re the proud owner of a Feefo Trusted Service Award, make sure that you’re showing it off on your site!
  • Add a dedicated reviews page to your website

You can read more about Monday’s update in Google’s Webmaster article. We will be making some changes to our existing resources to make sure they’re as up to date and informative as possible, and please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions!

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Tagged under: google seo