Google Updates Reviews Markup Guidelines Disallowing Marking Up 3rd Party Reviews

Aug 29, 2016 • 8:26 am | comments (27) by | Filed Under Google Maps

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Mike Blumenthal posted on Twitter that Google has updated the local reviews guidelines for marking up reviews.

The new guidelines specifically disallows you from using 3rd party reviews, found on other sites, and marking those up on your site. The guidelines read:

  • Do not include reviews that are duplicate or similar reviews across many businesses or from different sources.
  • Only include reviews that have been directly produced by your site, not reviews from third- party sites or syndicated reviews.

This clearly says you should only markup reviews that is left on your site by your users and not sourced from third party sites. So that is a big change in the guidelines.

Another change is that you need to have both positive and negative reviews on your site, here is that guideline:

  • Reviews must allow for customers to express both positive and negative sentiments. They may not be vetted by the business or restricted by the content provider based on the positive/negative sentiment of the review before submission to Google.

Here are the rest of the guidelines:

  • Snippets must not be written or provided by the business or content provider unless they are genuine, independent, and unpaid editorial reviews.
  • Reviews cannot be template sentences built from data or automated metrics. For example, the following is not acceptable: "Based on X number of responses, on average people experienced X with this business."
  • Reviews for multiple-location businesses such as retail chains or franchises can only be submitted for the specific business location for which they were written. In other words, reviews for multiple-location businesses cannot be syndicated or applied to all business locations of the same company.
  • Aggregators or content providers must have no commercial agreements paid or otherwise with businesses to provide reviews.

Very interesting change to the guidelines here, don't you think?

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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