What to Know About the New Changes to Rich Snippets for Google Reviews

With the new changes to rich snippets, you might be wondering what Google has in store now. Are Google Reviews still important, or can simply blow them off and focus on other aspects of your online presence? Well, to properly understand rich snippets, we are going to take an in-depth look into their importance, and what the new changes have brought.

What role do rich snippets play?

Relying on Google to give you answers on various subjects is hardly a new thing. In fact, people have grown so accustomed to using Google that most don’t even realize how powerful and useful it actually is. Now, it is important to note that this has been going on for a while. But, the thing that has recently changed is how people approach Google results.

A person using Google, showing why the new changes to rich snippets are important.
People expect Google search results to be dependable, informative, and trustworthy.

The modern need for quick access to precise information has lead to people not even reading the Google search results. Most don’t want to bother with going through an entire article in order to filter out what they need. Instead, they rely on Google-rich snippets to give them the necessary information. On one hand, this is potentially bad as a lot of quality content remains unread. But, on the other hand, this increases the importance of rich snippets and cements their role in the future of SEO.

Understanding new changes to rich snippets

So, what new changes did Google bring to rich snippets for reviews? Well, to understand that, we first need to go a bit back and explain how Google’s star rating system worked. Not long ago, Google used a star rating system that appeared next to every page in the search results. For these rating companies used to use organization-level markups for the entire website. But, as it turns out, the reviews didn’t always match the content displayed on the actual page. To help fix this, Google started using structured data penalties. Unfortunately, enforcing such penalties proved as too much of an effort. This is where the newest update to rich snippets for Google reviews came in.

Schema

What it essentially does is that it allows Google to determine whether they will respect ratings structured data of a website. The main result of this is that Schema.org property has changed significantly. Schema types for LocalBusiness and Organization are no longer available. Therefore, businesses and organizations can no longer show self-aggrandizing reviews. You can still attach a review markup to any schema type. But, most simply won’t provide useful information to anyone trying to search for you.

Name property

A noteworthy requirement to keep in mind is that featured snippets for Google reviews now also require “name” property. This requirement ensures that the review is closely associated with the name of the item in question. The easiest way to introduce the “name” property is with a plugin. Luckily, most plugins that work with schema structured data already have this option. While Google didn’t specify what will happen if you didn’t add the “name” property, you should nonetheless include it. Their current attitude is that it is pretty much mandatory.

What is Google trying to do?

As always, Google is trying to make its engine as reliable and trustworthy as possible. The current update is mainly focused on rich snippets, and how they are utilized. Since people found ways to misuse rich snippets, Google is now limiting where and when they will appear. This is a big step in limiting the improper implementation of rich snippets and increasing their dependability.

A person using stars to give a rating.
Without the new changes to rich snippets, Google’s rating system would become obsolete.

The biggest reason why Google chose to tackle rich snippets is that the displayed rating didn’t match the content. Therefore, the review itself didn’t properly represent the service and/or product that was displayed. As you can imagine, Google’s rating system would pretty much become useless if this trend continued. The new update was a major step in putting this to an end and helping people find their products, and reviews connected to them, at a much faster rate.

What you can do to keep up

The best thing to do is to educate yourself as much as possible on Google’s changes. Add rich snippets to your website and try to figure out what Google is actually looking for. By doing so you will understand how to alter your online presence and make the most out of the updates. Know that, even though Google implemented these updates some time ago, a lot of companies will still choose to manipulate reviews to their benefit. This is a bad idea, as Google is only getting better and better at sieving out misleading content.

Final thoughts on Google and SEO management

If there is one thing we would like for you to keep in mind is that Google is valuing quality content more and more. The new changes to rich snippets are just a small part of a large-scale improvement in Google’s SEO. Google is trying to monitor everything, from sitemaps to promotional content. So, if you want to get decent SEO results you need to handle your whole online presence with due care. More specifically, you need to ensure that your content is of top quality.

A person in business attire holding a quality control sign.
Google’s main focus right now is quality control.

The main issue that Google is tackling is an overabundance of content. As you can imagine, most of the content out there is copy-pasted, a poor version of something that someone else did. So, to help its users find quality content, Google is constantly coming up with new ways for top-notch content to shine through. If you are new to website management, we strongly suggest that you prioritize quality and let time do its part. If you maintain a solid quality standard you are bound to yield benefits of any future updates that Google has in store.

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