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Lost your stars in Google search results?

Alejandro Schmeichler

Last week, Google made a BIG announcement related to the display of stars in search results in a blog post titled Making Review Rich Results More Helpful. This refers to the rating stars that appear along side Google search results for pages that are marked up with the review structured data. Losing the stars could have a big impact on your site's search traffic.

Stars will be limited to specific Schema.org types

Adding the review markup to your site is not a guarantee that Google will display it in search results. And while the review markup can be associated, and is valid, with any schema type, Google is now going to limit even further the types for which it can potentially display the stars for your site listings. Many sites have already lost their stars for pages marked up with Article and it's sub-types. More specifically:

  • Article
  • AdvertiserContentArticle
  • NewsArticle
  • Report
  • SatiricalArticle
  • ScholarlyArticle
  • TechArticle
  • SocialMediaPosting
  • BlogPosting
  • DiscussionForumPosting
It is important to emphasize here that the most commonly used types Article and BlogPosting are no longer going to receive special treatment in Google results for review rich data.

Effective immediately Google will focus more on types that lend themselves to reviews. The following are the only schema types for which Google will potentially display rich review data:

  • Book
  • Course
  • CreativeWorkSeason
  • CreativeWorkSeries
  • Episode
  • Event
  • Game
  • HowTo
  • LocalBusiness
  • MediaObject
  • Movie
  • MusicPlaylist
  • MusicRecording
  • Organization
  • Product
  • Recipe
  • SoftwareApplication
You can find examples of valid markup for the supported types under Google's Review Snippet Documentation.

Self-serving reviews will no longer be used for rich data

Google has also said they will no longer display stars in results for self-serving reviews. If you use the LocalBusiness and Organization (or sub-types) markup on your site to display reviews about your own business, these will no longer be shown in search results. Google explicitly says that you don't need to remove the reviews from your site, as these can still be valuable for your clients. They just won't display the stars for those pages. Google wants you to use 3rd party sites to collect reviews where you are not directly in control of those reviews.

How does this affect your JReviews website?

JReviews uses the "Article" schema type by default on all listing types and this schema type no longer qualifies for the review rich data snippet. However, this can be easily changed in the JReviews configuration. The functionality is well documented in the How to add Structured Data for Rich Snippets article so I recommend you read that right away to make any necessary changes.

If you've never changed the Schema.org type for your listing types, make sure you read the above-referenced article to change it to something more appropriate for your listing types so you can qualify for the review rich data snippets in Google's search results.

Learn more about changing the Schema.org type in JReviews