Google Incorrectly Identifying Review Markup as Spammy Structured Markup

About a month ago I wrote about “Spammy Structured Markup” messages being sent out via Google Search Console. Since then I have now seen multiple sites with this “penalty”. It isn’t much of a penalty, sites affected simply have their review stars removed in search results.

These messages are supposed to be sent to webmasters who are gaming the system by adding code to their site which produces the review stars in Google search results without actually aggregating or curating reviews visibly on a website. In other words, they are telling search engines there is a review when their isn’t one. The markup is for genuine reviews visible to humans visiting a site. If you simply add code to a site you are violating Google’s commandments. 🙂

The only problem is, people are getting penalized even though their reviews are totally visible to humans and they have followed all Google guidelines.

Here’s a screenshot of what the error looks like:

Screenshot of a spammy structured data message

I believe I have identified the problem and how Google is incorrectly penalizing some webmasters as I have now seen multiple sites penalized using a specific format to their markup where the code is placed immediately after the visible text.

This is a real issue for Google and they are actively penalizing sites not in violation of their own webmaster guidelines.

As soon as my workaround is fully tested I will post a solution for both webmasters and search engines here.

Meanwhile if you have unfairly received a notice of “Spammy Structured Markup” please do comment below or email me and I will keep your site confidential if desired.

Len

President at Telapost
I create content and do SEO for law firms, small businesses and companies worldwide. I have been generating traffic online since 1992. I have owned multiple successful companies. I'm an organic eater, nature lover and German Shepherd owner. Feel free to contact me here.

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