Making Review Rich Results more helpful

Monday, September 16, 2019

Search results that are enhanced by review rich results can be extremely helpful when searching for products or services (the scores and/or "stars" you sometimes see alongside search results).

Review stars example in search results

To make them more helpful and meaningful, we are now introducing algorithmic updates to reviews in rich results. This also addresses some of the invalid or misleading implementations site owners have flagged to us.

Focus on schema types that lend themselves to reviews

While, technically, you can attach review markup to any schema type, for many types displaying star reviews does not add much value for the user. With this change, we're limiting the pool of schema types that can potentially trigger review rich results in search. Specifically, we'll only display reviews with those types (and their respective subtypes):

Self-serving reviews aren't allowed for LocalBusiness and Organization

Reviews that can be perceived as "self-serving" aren't in the best interest of users. We call reviews "self-serving" 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. That's why, with this change, we're not going to display review rich results anymore for the schema types LocalBusiness and Organization (and their subtypes) in cases when the entity being reviewed controls the reviews themselves.

Updated on September 18, 2019:

To explain more, in the past, an entity like a business or an organization could add review markup about themselves to their home page or another page and often cause a review snippet to show for that page. That markup could have been added directly by the entity or embedded through the use of a third-party widget.

We consider this "self-serving" because the entity itself has chosen to add the markup to its own pages, about its own business or organization.

Self-serving reviews are no longer displayed for businesses and organizations (the LocalBusiness and Organization schema types). For example, we will no longer display rich review snippets for how people have reviewed a business, if those reviews are considered self-serving.

Reviews are allowed and displayed for other schema types listed in the documentation. For example, a cooking site might use markup for recipes to summarize its visitor reviews. In turn, we might include this rich review markup for when those recipes appear in search.


What if I'm using a third-party widget to display reviews about my business?

Google Search won't display review snippets for those pages. Embedding a third-party