On September 16th 2019, Google announced some important changes to the review Review Snippet guidelines, which are outlined in this Google Webmaster article.
If you're using our SEO Service Review TrustBoxes, or if you have marked up reviews using the Organization or LocalBusiness markup to get Review Snippet stars in organic search results, this update affects the way your business appears in the search results — read on for more information.
First off, what are Review Snippets?
Review Snippets are a line of additional information on a search result that can include stars and ratings (which we’ll discuss in this article). They’re usually leveraged by businesses to make certain results stand out in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
If you'd like to find out more, watch this quick video from Google.
Example of Review Snippet stars
So, what has changed exactly and why does this concern me?
In short, self-serving reviews are no longer eligible for review snippets. Reviews that can be perceived as “self-serving” aren't in the best interest of users.
What Google calls “self-serving” reviews is when a review about entity A is placed on the website of entity A - either directly in their markup or via an embedded third-party widget.
With this change, Google will not be displaying review-rich results anymore for the LocalBusiness and Organization (and their subtypes) schema types, in cases where the entity being reviewed controls the reviews themselves - regardless of whether the reviews are collected by a third-party platform like Trustpilot.
In the example below, the first three search results demonstrate Review Snippet stars for the term ‘Surewise reviews’.
After the update, the Surewise.com’s search results will no longer have Review Snippet stars, but you’ll notice that Surewise’s Trustpilot Profile Page has retained its stars:
What does this mean for your business?
This means you'll no longer see Review Snippets in organic search results from service, company, or local reviews coming from your own website.
However, any product pages using product reviews are still eligible for Review Snippet stars.
You will still see Review Snippets in search results for your business profile page on Trustpilot.
The change is in effect as of September 16th, 2019.
Can I get my Review Snippet stars back?
Unfortunately, there is no way to gain back Richey with Google’s new Review Snippet guidelines and regardless of which review source you reference.
However, you can still get review snippet stars with Product Reviews for your product pages.
Has my Trustpilot company profile page lost its Review Snippet stars too?
Not at all. As you can see in the examples above and below, these are not impacted by this change and are among the few types of pages that comply with the Google's new Review Snippet guidelines.
As a leading online review platform, free and open to all, Trustpilot continues to be a third-party source of credible, authentic, trusted review content.
Does this affect Product Reviews too?
No, this change only affects organization and local review markup and does not include the product markup. Here is an example:
So, what are my best next steps?
Gain Review Snippet stars for all your product pages by collecting and displaying product reviews.
Ensure you’re collecting reviews on a third-party platform like Trustpilot that can help enhance your reputation in organic search results with a profile page.
On branded Google searches, give your business profile page as much visibility as possible. You can do that by enriching your Trustpilot page with consumer-rich friendly content and contact details for support such as your email address or phone number. Finally, we recommend linking to your profile page from your website by adding a TrustBox widget for example. You can also link to it from your social media accounts and posts.
Ensure you qualify for Google Seller Ratings to help build your reputation in your Google text and Shopping Ads.
As a result of this change, we are updating all of our articles, materials, and web pages — in all languages — over the next few weeks. Please bear with us as we manage to get through it all.
We hope this was helpful to you and reach out to us if you have any questions in regards to Trustpilot.
The Trustpilot Team