In September 2019, Google rolled out a new change which was supposed to remove self-serving review stars from search results produced by businesses using markup on their websites. Some people called the change “Starmageddon”. The technical name for these review stars is Review Rich Results, or review snippets, or star rating rich snippets.
The problem is, the rollout was much slower than anticipated, it never thoroughly affected all sites, and, on October 25, 2019, I noticed the review stars coming back.
The return has been very gradual and most sites which have regained their review stars are getting them page by page as their websites are recrawled and reindexed.
I mostly pay attention to the legal niche, so there’s a chance this is only affecting law firms and attorneys.
There are multiple ways to mark up structured data. However, in EVERY case I looked at, sites getting review stars in search results were utilizing JSON-LD markup and the itemReviewed type is “LegalService”.
Here’s what the reviews look like in search results:
Google has been very clear and said “Self-serving reviews aren’t allowed for LocalBusiness and Organization”.
I did ping a Google rep at one point on this and never heard back, so either they think I am incorrect or they just don’t care. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
In the meantime, enjoy the review stars because Google’s blocking of “self-serving” review snippets showing up in search results is officially broken.