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Google Changes Review Structured Data Requirements via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google updated the requirements for review structured data. Failure to follow Google’s structured data requirements can make a web page ineligible to be shown for a rich result in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for review related keyword searches.

Review Featured Snippets

Successfully implemented review structured data can make a site eligible for review rich results, including stars, in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Obtaining those rich results for display in the SERPs is highly coveted because it can lead to more traffic.

The review structured data is an especially important structured data because it relates to products and thus can influence earnings.

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Affiliate sites and retailers both use the review structured data because the review snippets can lead to more traffic and sales.

For that reason it’s important to get it as right as possible.

While structured data “optional” warnings are generally okay, error warnings can be indicative of a severe problem that can result in the page becoming ineligible for a rich result.

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Review Structured Data Requirements

Review structured data are reviews of things like products, events, stores, courses, a business and many other things.

Not all reviews qualify for review rich results.

There are 17 valid types that Google will show results for.

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Reviews of things that are not one of the 17 items will be ineligible for a review rich result and cannot benefit from it.

Thus it’s necessary to publish correct structured data and to do it using a valid structured data type within Google’s limited list of qualifying valid review types (found here).

Change in the Author Name Requirements

Google announced a change to the author name structured data field.

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The author.name field is now limited to only 100 characters.

Google’s explanation:

“Added a requirement that the author.name field in Review snippets must be less than 100 characters to be eligible for use in Search features.”

That means that review structured data with more than 100 characters will not be eligible for rich results in the SERPs.

Google added the following guidance about the author name in review structured data:

“This field must be shorter than 100 characters. If it’s longer than 100 characters, your page won’t be eligible for an author-based review snippet.”

Author Property for Review Structured Data

Schema.org is the organization responsible for creating and maintaining Schema structured data rules.

But Google itself is free to set requirements for what it needs in order to use it for rich results in the SERPs.

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Nevertheless it’s important to be acquainted with what review structured data is and  that’s found on the Schema.org website.

The Schema.org definition of the Author property for the review structured data is this:

“The author of this content or rating.

Please note that author is special in that HTML 5 provides a special mechanism for indicating authorship via the rel tag.

That is equivalent to this and may be used interchangeably.”

Consider Reviewing Your Review Structured Data

Website publishers that use the review structured data may wish to consider reviewing their implementation of the review structured data.

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It may be prudent to review the author structured data property to make sure that it falls under the limit of less than 100 characters.

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That means that author names that are 100 characters or more may make the review structured data ineligible for rich results.

Citation

Read Google’s updated  “author” section requirements for Google’s review snippets

Review Structured Data Requirements

Read the Official Schema.org Review Type Page

Review Schema

Searchenginejournal.com

NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

[embedded content]

Searchenginejournal.com

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