Updated Google Schema Review Guidelines for Local Businesses

Review rich snippets are a powerful local markup type but they have been open to abuse and misuse. Google with release of their critic review snippet extension has also significantly updated their rules for Local Business‘s use of review rich snippets on their website.

IN typical Google fashion, the new rules while adding additional use cases manage to direcgtly contradict the previous rules particularly in regards to whether you can mark up reviews from third party sites (previously you could but you can no more.

At the GetFiveStars blog, I have detailed the new rule changes and which of the new rules you should be aware of when implementing rich snippet mark up on your site.

Head over there and let me know what you think of the new rules.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Updated Google Schema Review Guidelines for Local Businesses by

7 thoughts on “Updated Google Schema Review Guidelines for Local Businesses”

  1. Hi Mike,

    Thanks you for sharing and summarizing this news for us.
    Very interested in understanding whether a TrustYou badge used by some hotels will fall under this category as well? Because i feel that the TrustYou Badge is an aggregated review rating provided through schema markup to the search engines. Now with the new guidelines, will Google stop reading those. A few of our clients are placing these rating but we want to alert them if this change will impact them.

    Thanks
    Kanika Thakran
    Milestone Internet Marketing

  2. I think it’s a step in the right direction. I always thought the blatantly fake review schema appearing in the SERPs were super cheesy.

  3. We’re talking Schema here, right? I’m wondering about this rule:
    “Reviews must allow for customers to express both positive and negative sentiments. They may not be vetted by the business or restricted by the content provider based on the positive/negative sentiment of the review before submission to Google.”
    So we’re supposed to markup both negative and positive reviews? This doesn’t seem to make sense. No one is going to markup a negative review.

    1. @Cathie – Google is saying that 1- you can’t mark up reviews from yelp or Google on your site
      2- review content must be generated by the business itself and if you generate them yourself and mark-up, you should mark them all up.

      If you just want to use your customer’s positive comments then don’t mark up.

  4. Looks like they’ve updated the guidelines again since this was written.

    https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/reviews#review-snippet-guidelines

    The guidelines have now moved under the ‘Critic review guidelines’ section. There is a new section under ‘Review snippet guidelines’:

    “Google may display information from aggregate ratings markup in the Google Knowledge Cards. The following guidelines apply to review snippets in knowledge cards for local businesses:

    Ratings must be sourced directly from users.
    Don’t rely on human editors to create, curate or compile ratings information for local businesses. These types of reviews are critic reviews.
    Sites must collect ratings information directly from users and not from other sites.”

    Note: It specifically says “The following guidelines apply to review snippets in knowledge cards”. The same guidelines may not necessarily apply to snippets that show under the search result.

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