Earlier this year, Google updated their structured data and rich snippet guidelines. There were a couple of what I would call “major” changes to the guidelines, but it was honestly difficult to see that from the text at first glance. Thankfully, I was able to speak directly with someone on the structured data team who clarified some things for me, and Mike asked me to share them with everyone here.
One of the most radical changes to the guidelines is that Google now allows us to use all meta tags when adding schema.org markup to a page. In the past, that was a violation of their guidelines and could have resulted in manual action against your rich snippets. The second major change is that Google now allows us to mark up third-party reviews and ratings on our websites, such as from Google+ or Yelp. This is quite different from their previous guidelines, which stated that marked up reviews and ratings on a website must have been obtained directly from your customers, such as through a review system on your website. Both of those changes should make many webmasters very happy.
I’ll be explaining these recent changes in more detail very soon in a blog post here, but I thought I’d just give everyone a heads-up about them right now.