Google cracking down on invalid Rich Snippets

In November 2017, Google posted a "reminder" about proper uses of the Event structured data.

A reminder about "event" markup

Basically, sites have been marking up coupons as events in order to get Rich Snippets and more visibility.

Now Google will be reviewing these more closely and may take a manual action against a site. A manual action could remove all Rich Snippets, Rich Cards, and other search enhancements for the entire site.

I haven’t seen any Shopify stores using events this way but by reading between the lines, I can see Google taking a harder stance against improper structured data usage. Especially with this closing to the blog post:

While we’re specifically highlighting coupons and vouchers in this blogpost, this applies to all other non-event items being annotated with “event” markup as well — or, really, for applying a type of markup to something other than the type of thing it is meant to describe.

One thing I have seen on various Shopify stores is where product reviews are aggregated, marked up as a Product, and attached to the homepage for the store.

This results in a store’s homepage getting the reviews Rich Snippet but could put the store at a significant risk of a manual action because the store isn’t a product.

If your product reviews app does anything like this, now might be a good time to bring it up with them. Make sure they are using the proper markup (e.g. Organization), that they aren’t grouping all product reviews into store reviews, and that they are following Google’s review guidelines.

Up until now Google’s vagueness on this issue has been why I haven’t added anything like this to JSON-LD for SEO, but now their docs are clear about what’s correct and what will get you penalized.

If you haven’t setup JSON-LD for SEO yet, why not?

It’s the safest, easiest, and most effective way to get Rich Snippets for your store.

Eric Davis

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