Google addresses misleading inline review implementations in Search

Google introduced some changes to Search in recent days. For one, original reporting is being bumped up in search results, rewarding the significant time and effort put in by journalists. Moreover, the firm made it easier to discover films and shows that people want to watch.

Now, algorithmic updates have been rolled out to inline reviews within search results, such as the one in the image on the right, with the aim to make them more helpful (via 9to5Google). Primarily, these changes will be addressing the misleading ways in which these scores may be represented.

Previously, review markups could be attached to any schema type. However, this is now being changed as Google believes that star ratings for many of types do not offer much value to users. As such, only the following types (and their subtypes) will now be able to engage in this behavior:

  • schema.org/Book
  • schema.org/Course
  • schema.org/CreativeWorkSeason
  • schema.org/CreativeWorkSeries
  • schema.org/Episode
  • schema.org/Event
  • schema.org/Game
  • schema.org/HowTo
  • schema.org/LocalBusiness
  • schema.org/MediaObject
  • schema.org/Movie
  • schema.org/MusicPlaylist
  • schema.org/MusicRecording
  • schema.org/Organization
  • schema.org/Product
  • schema.org/Recipe
  • schema.org/SoftwareApplication

Furthermore, reviews considered self-serving won't be allowed to be attached to search results any more either. With this, the schema types localBusiness and Organization won't be able to display inline reviews when the entity being reviewed is the one actually controlling those reviews. More clearly, self-serving reviews have been defined as follows:

"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 3rd party widget."

And finally, it will now be a requirement to exactly specify the 'name' property of any item being reviewed. Google states that this and the aforementioned improvements will require webmasters to hardly make any changes to implement. You can find more about these updates in the developer documentation here.

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