Google Begins Crackdown On Misuse Of Rich Snippets

by David Naylor
Bronco - Digital Marketing Agency

There seems to be a lot of confusion recently about what is spam and what isn’t spam when it comes to rich snippets and that the confusion appears to be led by Google (go figure).

PPC Rich Snippets

Rich snippets for me are user reviews. Take the hotel industry for example:

You can see I rated this 5 stars, this is based on the fact that I have eaten there many times and had Guests stay there many times as it is my preferred Hotel when having visitors are staying in Ripon.

Others are more misleading, the example here is from PPC for “beds” it really makes Tesco looks like a great place to buy beds from based on 1,608 reviews:

But when you look at the selling rate you get:

“Drab and depressing stores with uninterested staff”

– Not quite about beds !!

“Usually you can get next day delivery and you get a text with the estimated time your shopping is going to arrive. The drivers are always friendly and helpful and with the handy shopping list, you can search for the things you need and save time :)”

- more about food delivery than beds

“fruit & veg should be cheaper to aid good health by increaseing the price of juck food”

- Again Food!!

In fact I could not really find any bed reviews

Organic Rich Snippets

We’ve been seeing a lot of SEO companies using the rich Snippets, at the moment when looking at the keyword “SEO” in the UK I have 3 such companies using it:

Funnily enough they all rank top – so I guess it may possibily be a ranking factor. I can’t seen anything on schema.org or on the Google help article that says you can use the microformats on your own website and link to an external review source – but it seems like a legitimate use to me, would be great to get some clarification on Google on this as it is something I believe a lot of people would like to do.

For example if you look at SEO Creare’s source code you can see that they are referring to the Top SEO’s website – this is fine in my opinion as they are reviews referring to SEO Creare:

Just Search, however, are referencing testimonials on their own website – this is closer to how I imagine it was intended to be used:

Confusion

It would be great if Google could add some clarification on this – at the moment it’s really confusing. Can we use the same star rating in Pay Per Click as we do in organic and vice versa? Do we have to have the reviews on the actual website? And should the reviews be about the product/service in question or can it be about the organisation as a whole?


Google Begins Crackdown On Misuse of Rich Snippets

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Bronco - Digital Marketing Agency
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