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One of my clients is a digital gaming marketplace. For about 1.5 years, he enjoyed aggragateRating star markup on Google SERP. I implemented nested aggragateRating within their product markup (without offers markup). Their 6 other competitors also have similar markup on SERP.

My client has 3.5 star ratings on TrustPilot and overall 4.9 rating from their website's rating system. For JSON code, I used his website's rating system for markup. Now suddenly, my client's aggragateRating markup is dropped from Google, however his 6 competitors markup is still valid.

I made following Hyphothesis but all of them seems to be void as it works for competitors:

Hypothesis 1: Google only displays markup from third party (such as TrustPilot, Reviews.io). We have markup from our own rating system.

  • 3 out of 6 competitors have markup from Trustpilot
  • 1 out of 6 competitors has markup from Reviews.io
  • 2 out of 6 competitors are using their own rating system.

Hypothesis 2: Google only allows JSON code in <head>...</head> (not in <body> tags). We have in <body> tags

  • 3 out of 6 competitors has markup in HTML <head>...</head> tags
  • 3 out of 6 competitors has markup in HTML <body>...</body> tags

Hypothesis 3: Google only allows JSON code with aggragateRating + offer Markup.

  • 4 out of 6 competitors have aggragateRating + offer markup
  • 2 out of 6 competitors have only aggragateRating

Hypothesis 4: Google shows either inline sitelinks or product markup. We have inline sitelinks in rich results for a selected pages.

  • 4 out of 6 competitors have only product markup
  • 2 out of 6 competitors have product markup and inline sitelinks as well.

Hypothesis 5: The Warnings are affecting to display Rich Snippets. I haven't provided recommended values such as brand, offers, review, sku and global identifier. Total there are 5 warnings.

  • 4 out of 6 competitors have 6 similar warnings
  • 2 out of 6 competitors has 5 similar warnings

Hypothesis 6: Technical Implementation (we have server side rendering)

  • 4 out of 6 competitors implement using server side rendering
  • 1 out of 6 competitors implement using GTM
  • 1 out of 6 competitors implement using node.js

Hypothesis 7: Our ranking. We rank between 4 to 6 in organic search results.

  • Competitors above than us are having rich results
  • Competitors below than us are having rich results

Hypothesis 8: There is a techical error in the code.

  • This code is implemented on 65 pages
  • I checked Google Search Console and found they all are valid with Warnings
  • I checked some pages on Google Structured Data Testing tool and found code is valid.
  • I checekd some pages on Google Rich Results Test and found code is valid.
  • There is no manual action or any other messages in Google Search Console.

Hypothesis 9: FAQ Markup v/s aggragateRating Markup: Earlier, site implemented FAQ markup on each of these pages. They marked up same FAQs on each of these pages, which is against Google's guidelines. So we removed FAQ markup to see the results. We found that aggregateRating markup was back for one or two days for 3 of the 65 pages, but then again they are gone.

I am going to move JSON code from <body>...</body> to <head>...</head> tags. What else could have gone wrong?**

Here is the structured data JSON code This is one of the pages: https://www.playerauctions.com/osrs-gold/

<script type="application/ld+json">
                        {
                        "@context": "https://schema.org/",
                        "@type": "Product",
                        "image": ["https://d5aq5zygke863.cloudfront.net/product/images/listing/osrs-gold.jpg"],
                        "name": "OSRS Gold",
                        "description": "Buy RuneScape - Old School Gold – OSRS Market",
                        "aggregateRating": {
                        "@type": "AggregateRating",
                        "ratingValue": "5.0",
                        "ratingCount": "2639",
                        "bestRating": "5",
                        "worstRating": "1"
                        }
                        }
                    </script>

There are similar other pages on this website where I am not getting ratings markup.

  • It could be a trust issue rather than a technical issue. Google may no longer trust your site enough to show the rich snippet. – Stephen Ostermiller Jun 28 at 21:41
  • I see.. yeah, probably that could be one of the issues. In order to fix this, should I replace our own ratings with TrustPilot ratings and then submit these pages for recrawl? – Bhargav Joshi Jun 28 at 23:23
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Google can stop showing rich results for returned webpages for any number of reasons but most of the time Google will allow valid rich results to happen in some SERPs. I would only worry about Hypotheses 5, 6, 8 as the other ones are easily debunked, but there are a couple of others you left out. For instance, on March 5, Google Developers updated their Product itemType documentation and "clarified that one of the following properties is required: review, aggregateRating, offers." It is possible that the Product code in use could pass tests of the new requirement but be effectively invalidated due to other considerations. Without speculating further, perhaps you could please provide all of the JSON structured data for one of the affected pages so it can be evaluated holistically? Feel free to blot out business details if you want.

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    Do you refer to the TrustPilot reviews on the product page itself? Although the documentation doesn’t say anything about using the URL itemProp, you can of course add it to the nested aggregateRating to refer to the TrustPilot review page. Remember though that structured data should reflect information already on the page versus supplements. – ICap Jun 29 at 8:28
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    Yeah, that is the reason why we used our own review system. One of the additional things which I could figure out is - we have two markups on the page. First is product markup and other is FAQ markup. I realized that previous agency violated rules of FAQ markup - they markedup all of the pages having same FAQs. Probably that is one of the other reasons why Google stopped showing star ratings. At the moment, I took out that FAQ markup and going to wait for a few days to see how it goes. – Bhargav Joshi Jun 29 at 15:11
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    Google has certainly been cracking down on FAQ markup misuse so that might be the culprit. – ICap Jun 29 at 17:24
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    There must be something in there that Google doesn't like. If you want to post the URL or figure out a way to do so privately, I'm happy to take a look at the page holistically. – ICap Jul 6 at 2:04
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    I get an access denied when I try to access the image. That could be messing with matters. – ICap Jul 7 at 21:18
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Alright,

So here is the answer.

I am really thankful to ICap for helping out all through the troublshooting.

I fixed followings and then rich results started appearing:

  1. For some of the pages, the image URL was incorrect.
  2. Fixed this rule for the FAQ markup "If you have FAQ content that is repetitive on your site (meaning, the same question and answer appear on multiple pages on your site), mark up only one instance of that FAQ for your entire site."

It was quite surprising that not following "content guidelines" in FAQ markup was the main culprit for the product markup.

I could see in Webmaster -> Search Results -> Search Appearance that for some of the search queries review markup is visible.

Hopefully, that will pickup by Google soon for other pages as well.

Once again, thanks to ICap and others for helping out in troubleshooting.

Stay safe.

Cheers,

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