Google Updates Review Rich Results Guidelines – A Major Schema Update For Local Businesses

by Tom Buckland September 18, 2019

Google Schema Rich Review Snippet Update September 2019

Structured markup has been there for quite some time now, and many of us have tried our best to put it to good use. There’s a reason why Google – among other search engines – has consistently backed structured markup. It makes their job infinitely easier. 

A couple of days ago, Google announced a major change to one of the most used schema items: reviews. 


A Quick Look At How Review Snippets Work

Review snippets are incredibly useful to boost conversions. Conversion optimization, after all, is one way of getting the most out of your online presence.

Google Schema Star Rating Rich Reviews Recipe Example

Good reviews not only improve click-through rates, they help in boosting your eventual end-goal: lead generation, sales or just increasing brand awareness.

Google – until now – allowed webmasters to use the review markup freely for virtually any and every “thing”. From recipes to local businesses and article ratings to services. That is exactly what has changed after this update.


Google’s Schema Review Rich Results Update: What Has Changed?

According to Google, it’s all about complementing the searcher intent.

To quote their webmaster blog,

With this change, we’re limiting the pool of schema types that can potentially trigger review rich results in search.

This takes out all the types that do not 

  1. either need rich review snippets
  2. or do not work well with rich reviews

This leaves us with the following types that can still trigger rich reviews in Google Search: 


Important: This WILL Affect Most Local Businesses 

Most local businesses (including HQ SEO) have previously relied on using the review markup in good faith to give their users a fair idea of the quality they bring on board (schema, in general, is immensely valuable for local SEO).

That, moving forward, won’t be possible.

Google will no longer display rich review snippets for websites that use the aggregateRating property to collate and display reviews. 

The logic given by Google for this is slightly confusing. From what we deduced, the whole point is to NOT display rich review snippets for local businesses and organisations who control their reviews via code/plugins/widgets.


So, How Should A Local Business Display Rich Reviews?

We’re still figuring this out.

One possible solution can be to rely on third-party services like TrustPilot or BBB to integrate the reviews. But the general chatter on Twitter seems to give conflicting answers.

We hope to receive more clarification from Google in this regard. Follow us on Twitter to stay updated. 


About Tom

Hi, I'm Tom, Founder & Director of HQ SEO. I live and breathe SEO. I hope you enjoy my findings. Interested in SEO?
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