I was implementing structured data on my company's website when I found this guide: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/guides/sd-policies

Well, there's a point that bothers me:

note that reviews or ratings, not by actual users, are considered spammy.

I found references like this or worse (SEO penalization etc.) about fake reviews. Well my question is how can Google know if a review is fair or not?

We had our own review system where users can post and rate, we can take Google reviews too (but it will be a blend of both sources).

Now I'm a little bit scared about how to deal with it, as there's no information about how to make Google ensure your reviews related content.

If I post our own reviews (as we're doing, because Google is Google and our website is our website), could Google "ban" our structured data, or worse, penalize SEO positioning?

Apart from reviews itself, there's a property aggregateRating with the best and worst rates, the reviews count and the average. Could it be interpreted as fake or fair too?

There's little information about these details that at first sight, it seems that we all would consider important from my point of view.


Thanks, @nikant25.

I've read this info on google docs and it's just what I'm asking for detailed info/developer experience with structured data. I can follow the guidelines and policies, but there are two points of view and we can't know exactly how to deal with because Google does not give all detailed information about that.

i.e. I cannot filter google reviews so it's bad for user experience and for SEO to publish reviews directly from G reviews. As I've to filter G reviews and re-publish to our page with a web service, there's no link, no id, nothing that points this review to the original review on G Reviews. So they could be interpreted as fake even there's a valid name (same on G reviews of course), user rating (same on g reviews and not paid), and same review body than G reviews (sometimes corrected if it's not well written).

Then there's Google point of view "if I cannot ensure the fairness of this review, it could be fake because everyone can create a bunch of names, text and star icons to give a fake impression of user feedback".

Where is the middle on that? I begin to believe that the only possible workaround is to take a third party reviews/comments such as Disqus, trust pilot or another which gives filter options and spam protection to avoid penalization.

I've read this on a blog post (so take it as opinion at first):

Few sites, other than large eCommerce sites can support a review system of their own. To make this easier, Google now permits businesses to place third-party reviews on their site. So pull in those great reviews someone left on Google+, Yelp, Health Grades, Angie’s List or one of the multiple trusted review sites that exist. Be found trustworthy online by eliminating any reviews that could be assessed as fake information. Overdoing your review markup or adding spammy structured data gets sites in trouble as well.

Well, I'm trying to dig in, even if we decide to follow a way or another, it could be fine posting all related information (experiences too) here to get a conclusion, as we can't find more details from Google.


1 Answer 1


Well my question is how can Google know if a review is fair or not?

Check out the following Google requirement for the author property in their review guide:

author Person or Organization

The author of the review. The reviewer’s name must be a valid name. For example, "50% off until Saturday" is not a valid name for a reviewer.

To identify the authors of your reviews, you can use links to their social network profiles, links to their websites, their emails.

If I post our own reviews (as we're doing, because Google is Google and our website is our website), could Google "ban" our structured data, or worst, penalize SEO positioning?

Check out the following Google information from the same guide:

Warning: If your site violates one or more of these guidelines, then Google may take manual action against it.

and further:

Sites must collect ratings information directly from users and not from other sites.

This is also confirmed in the Google guide Common structured data errors:

A review is written by the site or person providing the product or service, rather than a customer or independent, unpaid reviewer.

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

  • this is a simple excerpt from google documentation but does not solve the question. I checked out the doc before asking... Jun 19, 2019 at 8:04

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