Stars in search results: Google’s new rules

Google will restrict the display of stars in search results to combat abuse.

Stars on Google to improve visibility

Optimizing SEO is obviously getting a good position on Google, on key queries. But it is also to refine the display of its results in the SERPs. To attract the eye of the user, many web pages include a rating system: reviews on a hotel, a restaurant, a product. These notes, when aggregated, can appear on Google in the form of stars, as shown in the screenshot above. It’s a great way to improve your visibility.

Google wants to fight against abuse

This feature is not always used wisely. SEOs abuse these rating systems to simply get their five stars (or almost) on Google, reassure users and encourage them to choose their link rather than another. To fight against abuse and avoid mistakes, Google has decided to tighten its rules.

Stars reserved for certain types of content

First novelty: Google will only display stars on the SERPs for certain content. The search engine lists the structured data now compatible with the display of stars in SERPs: Book, Race, CreativeWorkSeason, CreativeWorkSeries, Episode, Game, HowTo, LocalBusiness, MediaObject, Movie, MusicPlaylist, MusicRecording, Organization, Product, Recipe and SoftwareApplication. Google wants to restrict stars to the types of content most suitable for the publication of reviews by users: businesses, products, books, training, movies, recipes …

You can no longer influence the ratings of your own business

Another novelty, Google prohibits ratings controlled by institutions: you will not be able to filter the ratings, indicate this rating too advantageous in your structured data and expect the display of stars in the SERPs.

Google wants to fight against a phenomenon that consists in making the user believe that an establishment is recommended by customers when only satisfied customers could be manifested. Organization structured data and its local equivalent, LocalBusiness, and their subtypes are affected. Google specifies here that it will not display a star  “if the note of an entity A is placed on the site of this same entity A” – whether you use a third party widget or not.

You should no longer be able to associate the note of your visitors with the page of your web site: the sites which refer to elements which do not belong to them, like the sites of reservation, should thus profit from this novelty …

Check your structured data

Finally, Google specifies that the property “name” is now required in the structured data, to clearly indicate to Google the rated entity.

With these new features, Google hopes to offer users more relevant ratings. For more info, check out the official Google release .

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