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Google Rich Snippets Image Bug Returns

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There is a big issue going on in the recipe niche…again.  There have been multiple reports from recipe bloggers that they are losing their photos in Google search results. When the photos do return, it’s often the wrong one.

According to discussions on Twitter, this has gotten worse this week.

The recipe site rich snippets bug was initially an issue back in the Spring. Google said it was a ‘bug’ and it did seem to correct. But apparently it’s coming back.

Lisa Bryan (@Downshiftology) tweeted about the return of a recipe rich snippets bug.

“It seems there’s another recipe rich snippet bug. Images aren’t showing in results (on numerous of my recipes). And I don’t show in the recipe carousel (on a top ranked result) no matter how many times you click “show more.””

This is a screenshot that Lisa posted showing how the rich snippets bug affects search results:

a screenshot of a Google rich snippets bug

John Mueller from Google tweeted that he would need to see specifics:

screenshot of tweet by google's john Mueller responding to recipe site blogger

Lisa Bryan responded with URLs for Mueller to take back to the team to check.

Casey Markee Offers Insight

Casey Markee (@MediaWyse), a top recipe site SEO had this to say about this Google bug:

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“The disappearing snippet situation has been a thorn in the side of the same, bigger, bloggers for awhile. It seems discriminatory and there is no rhyme or reason.

The sites affected use different recipe plugins, all are JSON-LD in scope, and they are experienced bloggers who know how to correctly fill-out schema information.

This definitely seems to be a Google bug at their end and even though it appeared to be fixed months ago it has now resurfaced.

In some cases, we are able to have the blogger use the URL Inspection Tool in Search Console to trigger a recrawl and that pops-back-in the featured image. But in some cases that’s only temporary.”

Previously Danny Sullivan escalated the issue and started a support thread to allow bloggers to share examples. I’m hopeful they don’t feel the need to require that again.”

So far this problem appears to be isolated to recipe sites. But that doesn’t rule out that this might be affecting other niches. The reason it’s more visible in recipe sites is that Google tends to show more images for recipes than in many other niches.

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]

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