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Google Updates Markup Guidelines for Local Reviews

By August 30, 2016 No Comments

Local business reviews play an important role in driving targeted traffic and generating leads. Google has released an update to the reviews in the form of fresh guidelines. These new guidelines chalk out when the schema markup can be used on the reviews.

Schema Markup Guidelines

So here’s what’s new with the guidelines and you should be following:

  • Your snippets must be genuine, unpaid, and uninfluenced.
  • The reviews shouldn’t just be positive. You should allow all types of reviews to be submitted.
  • No reviews should be vetted or restricted based on their positive or negative sentiment.
  • Template-based sentences developed around automated metrics or data are not allowed.
  • The content contributors or aggregators shouldn’t have any agreements with your business for providing reviews.
  • The reviews for each business location must be separate (if you have multiple branches/franchises). Reviews for such businesses cannot be clubbed together for the same organisation.
  • The reviews must have been directly generated b your website. Reviews from other sites and syndicated reviews shouldn’t be used.
  • Duplicate reviews or similar reviews from other businesses or sources shouldn’t be used.

If third-party syndicated reviews are included, mark up shouldn’t be used with schema. You should mark up only those reviews which are directly generated on your site.

There are many websites which have implemented Google local reviews markup and the latest update will affect them all.

Additional General Guidelines

Google has also released additional guidelines. Make sure to be aware of these points:

  • Aggregate evaluation must be marked up as
  • Reviews and ratings which are marked up must be made available to users from that page. Users should be able to realise that the page provides reviews content.
  • Reviews and ratings should be provided for a particular item and not a list of items/category.
  • The reviewers must have valid names.
  • Adult-related products/services are not allowed to be displayed in reviews.

Exceptions for 5-Point Scale Ratings

The 5-star scale is considered the default scale by Google. But Google also allows you to use other scales too. It is allowed to mark up best and worst ratings. The search engine will then scale it to its default 5-star system which it uses in rich snippets. This means you can also use a 10-star scale.

Local reviews play an important role in your overall SEO strategy. If you want to boost your search engine rankings, you will need help from the experts. Visit for more information and to get assistance from SEO specialists.