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I have been trying to get Rich Snippets to work on my site for a long while now and the other day my prayers seemed to be answered as at 40 reviews, we seemed to have re-gained our star privilege. However this was short lived as after not even 2 weeks we seemed to have lost them again..

This has happened once in the past where essentially the same thing happened, I implemented the mark-up, the stars appeared, then the stars disappeared again after a short period of time. There has been no contact from Google or messages inside Search console relating to this leaving me pondering why on earth this has happened again??

We use the following Schema Code:

<div id='rs_container' itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/LocalBusiness">
  <span id="rs_companyName" itemprop="name">Vital Parts</span>
  <span id="rs_rating" itemprop="aggregateRating" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/AggregateRating"> 
    is rated <span itemprop="ratingValue">4.67</span> 
    stars by Reviews.co.uk based on <span itemprop="ratingCount"</span>42</span> merchant reviews
  </span>
</div>

This code passes Googles Rich Snippet Testing Tool so I am literally lost with this one and need some kind of inspiration from someone who has had a similar issue?

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Google will normally disable rich snippets during maintenance or if it believes your site is not complying with there recommended guidelines and policies. It appears to me that the main reason you reviews stars are not being shown by Google is because your markup is incorrect, incomplete and does not follow Google's recommended guidelines.

SOURCE

Why doesn't my site show rich snippets? I added everything and the test tool shows it's ok.

The marked-up structured data is not representative of the main content of the page or potentially misleading.

Google dislikes misleading AggregateRating

Google is not going to display your review stars because you are expecting to use site wide AggregateRating listed under LocalBusiness. Google will only display relevant rich snippets to the actual page content. A review for a local business is not a review for a product that you sell and this is very misleading.

You should consider that Google is doing a good job by removing those review stars on those particular pages because imagine for one moment that Amazon could user their company reviews on every product.

So it looks like Google is filtering your stars, but it should also be noted that occasionally Google will disable rich snippets temporary if they are doing some form of update.

Aggregate ratings abuse

Additional your reviews are incomplete as you are using AggregateRating without review and rating. Webmasters have widely abused the rating system and now Google is a lot stricter on displaying review stars. You need to prove to Google that these are relevant reviews. For example if you have reviews about cat memorials then they should go on a cat memorials page, if you have LocalBusiness reviews they should go on a page about the business, or if you want them site-wide (which is fine) don't expect those ratings to display in the SERPS. It's worth noting that the reviews you have in the sidebar at present have zero markup.

External Reviews

Seeing as you have collected external reviews you can opt to embed them on the page relevant to the product that you are selling using HTML5 <blockquote> and <cite> this would obviously need to calculate a new AggregateRating based on the reviews for that particular product or service.

Example of external reviews from one of my customers

SOURCE

<blockquote itemprop="review" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Review">
  <h3 itemprop="name">Excellent Product and Service</h3>
  <div itemprop="reviewRating" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Rating">
    <meta itemprop="worstRating" content="1">
    <span itemprop="ratingValue">5</span>/<span itemprop="bestRating">5</span> Stars
  </div>
  <p itemprop="description">When our old cat died we felt we should have a memorial for him in the garden. After much research we came across this company and called them. From then on it was easy and Jeremy was helpful and understanding and a slate memorial , similar to the one he made for his own cat , Oliver , was chosen. We are delighted with it and it looks well in the garden and is a fitting memorial to our cat Socks who was 21. Now waiting for our daughter to see it as Socks was riginally her cat and we looked after him in his old age. He will never be Forgotten. Jennifer.</p>
  <footer>
    <cite>
      <a itemprop="author" href="https://uk.trustpilot.com/users/530cc7b9000064000165e705">Jennifer Bramley</a> &ndash; <meta itemprop="datePublished"> content="2014-25-02">25 February 2014
    </cite>
  </footer>
</blockquote>

You can find out more about external reviews by visiting my blog post about how to use setup external schema reviews or by watching a short YouTube video about external Schema reviews I made a while back.

But with this said I do not recommend external reviews over internal reviews because internal reviews are unique and will help keep the site fresh.

Good mix of reviews from various platforms

Many businesses are guilty of collecting business reviews rather than product, or services reviews because its easier to manage and collect that data. Using the likes of external review sites such as TrustPilot and Reviews UK is ok, and it will help you rank due to the trust Google rewards for them but you should opt to collect a wide range of reviews that will help you even greater, for example:

  • Local SEO from Citation Business Reviews
    • Google Plus, Facebook, Yelp, Yell, Reviews UK, Checkatrade and so on.
  • Domain Trust
    • TrustPilot, Symantec SafeWeb, MyWot
  • Internal Reviews for Products and Services
    • Collecting internal reviews will keep pages fresh and will help your deep pages rank in the organics since Google does not return local search results in this manor for products.

LocalBusiness

You would think that using LocalBusiness as your business type would work wonders, but it doesn't, in fact it tells Google very little and your aim with Schema should be to correctly inform visitors and search engines actually what your business is all about. It sounds like you are a store which would be more favourable by Google. You can use a business type along with a additionalType using productontology.org to provide even more information.

  • If this is the case with Google's guidelines then why is it that I have competitors that are doing the exact same thing? In fact they have been doing it ever since I can remember, and they have never had any form of penalization placed upon them? – Jvital Oct 25 '16 at 13:46
  • Also, what would your suggested mark-up for a category page be? As these are the pages we are looking to rank. – Jvital Oct 25 '16 at 13:47
  • Just because your competitors are doing doesn't mean that you should and in fact I would say its a pretty poor excuse. Google has said multiple times that it will punish sites that abuse the rich snippet rating system for baiting links that are misleading. It is misleading because people will assume the product has X stars and not the business as anyone would expect. Google will normally punish sites by disabling the snippet on a particular page. I believe with enough abuse Google simply bans the site from receiving any rich snippet information in the search results altogether. – Simon Hayter Oct 25 '16 at 14:17
  • If your competitors are misleading their customers then you should report them to Google. You will find many articles about abusing the review stars all over the internet and Google has been clamping down on it hard, harder each time they roll a outdate out. See: varvy.com/rich-snippet-abuse.html or cognitiveseo.com/blog/6201/… misleading and fake reviews are bad period. Do things correctly and push your rankings up using unique product reviews. – Simon Hayter Oct 25 '16 at 14:19
  • You can report Rich Snippet Spam here: support.google.com/webmasters/contact/rich_snippets_spam?hl=en – Simon Hayter Oct 25 '16 at 14:52

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