Google Reduces the Amount of Review Snippets Showing in the SERPs

Feb 19, 2016
4 min read
Google Algorithm Update

Just days after Zineb Ait, webmaster trends analyst at Google, commented that they did not want to clutter up the search engine results pages, or SERPs, with too many Rich Snippets. Moz reports a ~33 percent drop in the number of Review snippets showing up in the SERPs.

To gain some sense of the requirements for Google showing your rich snippets in the search results it is useful to take a look at the wording Ait used in response to a question on Twitter as to why Rich Snippets are not showing.

It is useful to summarize the findings first, as the translations of Ait’s conversation are not the best:

  • Rich Snippets display in the SERPs depending on the Quality and Relevance of the page.
  • If satisfactory, it can take 24 hours for the Rich Snippets to appear.
  • The Quality of the page is compared to other websites that appear for that search query, as they try not to clutter the search results with Rich Snippets. Therefore, there is no guarantee your rich snippets will appear for all queries.

From our own experience, we know that websites affected by a Google Panda Penalty will lose their Rich Snippets showing in the SERPs. We suspect, therefore, that the quality of the site is also a factor rather than just the page quality. Furthermore, it is now essential to make sure your content is better than your competition as limitations on the number of Rich Snippets showing for any search query seems to now be a factor.

You can see the full conversation and translations using “Google Translate” below:

Kevin: Any idea of the time (according to your exp.) Avg. for displaying Rich Snippets in the SERPs?

Ait: It’s more a question of quality and relevance page snippets [Romich] that time

Ait: Kevin_Monier If the page is considered qualitative and that the algorithm determines that the rich snippets will improve UX, can take less than 24 hours

Kevin: I thank you Zineb well that in mind, but also the pages well meet both criteria. : /

Ait: Kevin_Monier Apparently not too :( be aware that the display of the Rich Snippets depends on the website request. Eg, will not work.

Ait: Finally, we try not to over " cluttering " the SERPs with too many websites with RS. So, your criteria are to assess compared to other websites displayed for the same query.

Kevin: Hello, yes, I know that indeed some abuse the microdata, but I think on our pages are relevant queries.

Ait: Must let the algorithm and wait while continuing to optimize the content. The SERPs fluctuate.

MozCast Review Snippet Statistics

Just one day after Zineb’s Twitter conversation, Dr. Pete Meyers at Moz noticed a drop in Review Snippets showing in the SERPs:

You will see below a copy of the Review Rich Snippet data showing the falls continuing for a further day:

MozCast review snippets.

It is not clear whether the two events are related, but it is possible that the discussion prompted testing by Google.