February 25, 2016 at 8:15 am #10845
We saw a significant drop in the number of stars showing in the Google SERPs last week. Here are some related things to think about that may have influenced this:
Just before that happened, a Googler tweeted that the search engine didn’t want to “overwhelm” searchers with too many rich snippets.
RankBrain may be determining the point where stars become a detriment to clicks rather than an incentive and this could differ by query, location, vertical, etc. It’s not too crazy to think that some of this user behavior focus from RankBrain is aimed at maximizing AdWords clicks over organic clicks since we can get stars in our ads, too.
Google announced that people were using aggregate ranking schema in ways for which it was not intended in order to trigger stars on their own listings in the SERPs and that it wanted that to stop.
Mike Blumenthal recently told me that Google periodically raises the bar on getting stars in the SERPs.
I’m advising people to review their use of schema for stars to make sure it meets Google’s guidelines. I’m also recommending more internal links to the pages that contain that schema in order to push up the authority of those pages.
Does any one else have any insight into how they or their clients can still get stars in the SERPs?February 26, 2016 at 5:17 am #10850
As of yesterday many of the review stars had returned but not all. https://www.seroundtable.com/review-stars-return-to-google-search-results-21687.html
My sense is that Google has over the past two years consistently and steadily removed visual elements from the SERPS (author photos, 7-pack, etc).
In the case of review snippets historically Google has raised the page prominence need for the stars to show. Given that this has been happening regularly I doubt that it needs something like RankBrain to execute.
if you assume the page prominence is a factor than you could, in addition to internal linking, move the snippets to a more prominent page. For example in the case of a multi location business put them directly on the local landing page.February 26, 2016 at 6:03 am #10852
In this video John Meuller has confirmed that 1)that they have returned and 2) it was a bug
February 29, 2016 at 10:46 am #10871
It’s great that most of the stars are back!
However, I am quite wary of what Google’s spokes folks say. Just because there may have been some kind of bug involved in making nearly all the stars disappear, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a planned reduction in stars in the SERPs that got out of control and needed to be corrected.
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