Since some of our clients provide tourism-related services, it’s important that they know when they can add business reviews to their site. Recently, Google updated their local business reviews guidelines for when Schema markup can be used on the reviews. While Schema assists Google in crawling your pages accurately, it’s important to make sure to follow their rules.

Schema Markup Business Review Rules to Follow

  • Snippets must not be written or provided by the business or content provider unless they are genuine, independent, and unpaid editorial reviews.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

If you’re thinking of having specific review-related schema for your site, or already have reviews and want to add Schema markup to them, it’s important to keep this in mind. Not following these rules may not have an immediate effect, but once Google re-ranks your site, it will take its toll (as per usual).

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