Where Have My Reviews Gone: Is Google Deleting Reviews?
Social proof lets potential consumers know that you’ve treated other consumers to an effective and worthwhile product. That’s why business reviews are so powerful. Despite their ability to sway consumers’ purchasing decisions, however, reviews have been disappearing from Google’s SERPs.
Over the past few months, there has been a four percent drop in the number of reviews showing up on consumer SERPs. This not only impacts SERP location, but it changes consumers’ immediate perception of the platform in question.
What’s going on? Is Google deleting reviews?
Of course, you can blame Google Updates.
Not too long ago, Google updated its algorithm to change the way it processed review rich results. This update was intended to prevent businesses from cheating the review system and falsely bolstering their SERP position.
While the initial alteration was slowly introduced to Google SERPs, it’s easy to miss an algorithm update. You may not have been prepared for your social proof to disappear, but rest assured: it isn’t gone for good.
According to Google’s new review policies, businesses who want to list reviews along with their snippets must:
- Create a schema type for review snippets
- Remove any “self-serving” reviews from their platform
- Include the name property within their schema markup
Are you doing all of those things? (If you are, great, you can read another article.) But if that doesn’t sound familiar, keep reading—I’ll talk you through this new update.
What is a Self-Serving Review?
WAccording to Google, reviews that provide little to no guidance to a potential consumer are “self-serving” or self-congratulatory.
In short, if a review only superficially praises a business without mention of a product or employee interaction, then it will limit the likelihood of that business’s content ranking well on a SERP. Take the time to review your own reviews and make sure that they offer value and not just a pat on the back for your business.
Google also limited the schema types that help reviews appear within SERP results. The schemas still displaying reviews on SERPs include:
- Creative Work Season
- Creative Work Series
- How To
- Local Business
- Media Object
- Music Playlist
- Music Recording
- Software Application
When integrating a schema into your content’s mark-up – ideally with tools like Schema Markup Generator or Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool – you’ll need to include the name property alongside your reviews. This inclusion helps Google’s crawlers understand what kind of content they’re processing.
That added level of ease helps Google better categorize your work. It also helps the crawlers determine your relationship with your business’s applicable industry, and that improved readability will lend itself to SERP success.
How to Restore Your Reviews
In short, reviews aren’t disappearing – at least, not literally. Instead, you now have to take a few extra steps to ensure that an overall rating of your platform appears on a Google SERP. You’re going to want to make the Google-ordained changes too. Sharing social proof of your business’s success will draw in more consumers and assert your business as authoritative within your industry.
If you’ve noticed your numbers dropping as your reviews have disappeared, experiment with your schemas, name properties and the types of reviews you tend to share. When you do, you may find that your SERP standing – and consumer interaction – rise back to their original levels.
Image attribution: Urupong – stock.adobe.com