Getting rich snippets in Google search results has been a big pain for quite some time. In most cases “they aren’t allowed” if you decipher whatever it is Google’s engineers are attempting to communicate to webmasters. Then, in search results, are 5 bright, shiny yellow stars beside a competitor’s URL, and before I know it I am left trying to explain the fiasco to clients, or forced to add them to sites in an effort to level the playing field.
Anyways, here are some problems which I expect search engines to fix at some point in the future.
Websites only mark up 5 star reviews
I have yet to see an attorney’s website in Google search results that has 1 or 2 stars. Business owners and SEO agencies are hand selecting which review to place on their site and mark up to give themselves the real estate in search results. I know that “aggregate ratings” are a thing, but it is a things that nobody uses. One of Google’s guidelines is “Critic reviews must allow for customers to express both positive and negative sentiments.“ That just isn’t going to happen. Ever.
Which Schema do you use to mark up services?
I have written about how attorneys get rich snippets, but, my gosh. You know something is too complicated if it requires a “how to” article. Google’s guidelines should address this, IMO. I love the idea of trying to supply search engines with more information about a business, place, thing, product, or service but right now most of us are just throwing spaghetti at the wall. I am surprised the search engines can tell the difference between a spaceship and a dandelion at this point- or can they?
Reviews from third party sites
The very first thing anyone does when marking up reviews is select their favorite one from a third party site. One of Google’s rules is “Only include critic reviews that have been directly produced by your site, not reviews from third- party sites or syndicated reviews.“ What the heck?
I am willing to bet that many of these issues are not resolved anytime soon and that Google pulls review rich snippets from search results in late 2016 or early 2017. We’ll see.