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Schema - What constitutes rich snippet spam?
walker1234




msg:4669490
 3:32 pm on May 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

We're looking to add aggregate rating schema to our website however the reviews are all located on a 3rd party. If we were to add the agg rating schema to the site without the reviews present would it be 'rich snippet spam'?

do you have to have all of the reviews located on the page marked up with the aggregate rating code?

or can it just be referenced on another page on the site or even an external domain?

All of the google support on this matter is really vague, it would be great for some clarity!

thanks,

 

JD_Toims




msg:4669546
 5:46 pm on May 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure how anyone could spam with schema markup -- If something is on a page and someone uses schema.org markup correctly all they're doing is helping search engines understand what it is. If they don't use the markup correctly, all they're doing is confusing the search engines -- Even if it's wrong I don't see how they could see it's use as spam.

If you have ratings on your page(s) and markup them up as ratings, all you're doing is making sure the search engines know they're ratings rather than numbers they have to figure out how to interpret on their own -- I don't see anyway that could be interpreted as spam or manipulative.

not2easy




msg:4669549
 5:57 pm on May 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

Hello walker 1234, welcome to the Forums. I had to look this up about two weeks ago, so I had these notes handy. According to Google's Webmaster Guidelines:
Quality guidelines

While rich snippets are generated algorithmically, we do reserve the right to take manual action (e.g., disable rich snippets for a specific site) in cases where we see abuse, deception, or other actions that hurt the search experience for our users. In particular, you should avoid:

Marking up content that is in no way visible to users.
Marking up irrelevant or misleading content, such as fake reviews or content unrelated to the focus of a page.

These quality guidelines cover the most common forms of deceptive or manipulative rich snippet behavior, but Google may respond negatively to other misleading practices not listed here. It's not safe to assume that Google approves of a specific deceptive technique just because it isn't included on this page. We strongly advise that webmasters focus on providing a great user experience rather than on looking for loopholes.
Troubleshooting

If rich snippets are not appearing for your pages in Google’s search results, check that you’ve done each of the following things:

Implemented markup in accordance with the above guidelines
Successfully tested using the structured data testing tool (http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets)
Reviewed our troubleshooting guide (https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/answer.py?answer=1093493)

I hope that helps to give you some answers.

JD_Toims




msg:4669550
 6:08 pm on May 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

WOW, apparently everything is seen as manipulative by Google these days.
-- Shakes head and wonders when it will be seen as manipulative to even have webpage.

<MiniRant>

I really don't understand the whole "fear mongering" thing they seem to have going on -- If the content isn't visible, they should just disregard it whether it's marked up or not -- If the ratings are fake what difference would it make if they're marked up or not, especially since Google's pretty good at detecting what things are without the markup, and how on earth do they know if the ratings are fake or not? -- If the content is off-topic or misleading, refraining from marking it up doesn't make it any better as a result for their end user, so they should get their algo better if it ranks with or without the markup.

</MiniRant>

EditorialGuy




msg:4669560
 7:17 pm on May 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

WOW, apparently everything is seen as manipulative by Google these days.


You mean, like "Marking up content that is in no way visible to users" or "Marking up irrelevant or misleading content, such as fake reviews or content unrelated to the focus of a page"? Yes, I guess those actions might be seen as manipulative. Surely you aren't suggesting that they aren't?

If the content isn't visible, they should just disregard it whether it's marked up or not -- If the ratings are fake what difference would it make if they're marked up or not, especially since Google's pretty good at detecting what things are without the markup, and how on earth do they know if the ratings are fake or not?


Because deterrents discourage bad behavior--and even when they don't, so what? If Google wants to ban cheats and jerks from its SERPs (as it has a right to do), how does does that hurt honest site owners or users?

JD_Toims




msg:4669565
 7:19 pm on May 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

The schema.org markup isn't manipulative, the content is.

EditorialGuy




msg:4669571
 7:26 pm on May 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

But the act of marking up the manipulative content is also manipulative, at least in Google's eyes. It's just another nail in the site owner's coffin.

CaptainSalad2




msg:4669584
 8:10 pm on May 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

Because deterrents discourage bad behavior


I would love you to tell my wife (teacher) this; I believe every school in the western world has stopped using deterrents because its a proven fact that rewarding positive human behaviour is much more effective as a preventative measure than dishing out punishments. ;)

goodroi




msg:4669612
 10:01 pm on May 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the sidebars but let's focus back on the real question,
What constitutes rich snippet spam?

To be honest I doubt Google has fully figured out rich snippets and spam. Sure, the obvious stuff is easy to spot but this is relatively new and I think Google is intentionally being vague while they figure out how they want to handle this. You can probably get away with alot of rich snippet abuse or grey area activity now and maybe for a few years. Eventually Google will build ways to filter and screen it. When that happens you don't want to be on the wrong side of the filter so you might want to take a more conservative approach today to protect yourself tomorrow.

If you look at link building, it took Google a long time to figure out different techniques and how to filter them out and as the years go on, Google discourages more and more link building techniques that they were ok with (or at least not actively punishing) in the past.

CaptainSalad2




msg:4669671
 7:34 am on May 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

In terms of rich snippets, (talking about the star ratings) I only see them awarded to extreme high authority sites, I guess other sites were gaming the system and G assumes the higher authority the site the less chance they will (need to?) mess about? The star ratings are classed as rich snippets correct?

roshaoar




msg:4669708
 10:50 am on May 9, 2014 (gmt 0)

Can I ask, how to determine if a site is extremily high authority?

bhavukdz




msg:4669973
 3:04 pm on May 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

Is it possible to tag dynamic properties on a page?

goodroi




msg:4670182
 11:54 pm on May 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

how to determine if a site is extremily high authority?

If you are asking, your site isn't one.
If you have lost count how many times the major tv networks & newspapers keep mentioning your website, you might be an authority.

netmeg




msg:4670346
 11:52 pm on May 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

Oddly I just noticed that all my sites are showing the star ratings for my events for the first time ever. We first put the code in for people to rate them three years ago, but they never showed up in Google until... today, as far as I can tell.

roshaoar




msg:4670753
 3:10 pm on May 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Goodroi, that's kind of patronising and unhelpful "If you are asking, your site isn't one". As a matter of fact my site is, I think, and I'm still asking! Google doesn't give you a shiny badge.

Fwiw, it's been #1 for my niche in-industry since a month after it was launched which was only 6 months ago. It has sitelinks, author G+ markup thumbnails, star ratings, been in the media offline and onlne a couple of dozen times and was a webby nominee a few weeks ago. Great organic result returns too, not a lot of traffic but it's a very niche subject. Doesn't get much better. But no "shiny badge". Hence asking.

netmeg




msg:4670758
 3:47 pm on May 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Well like I said, it took three years for mine to show up, and I have no idea why they finally did (for all I know, my developer may have fixed something when we did some work under the hood this year, or Google may have just flipped one of their own switches somewhere)

My niches are tiny, but I'm definitely the authority, and have been all along. Nothing along those lines changed this year.

goodroi




msg:4670999
 11:46 am on May 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

@roshaoar You are correct that Google does not publicly hand out shiny badges. Being an "authority site" in Google's eyes is not simple and can be relative to different situations and different timing.

Many webmasters think their website is the best regardless of reality because they are biased. I have come across many self proclaimed "authority websites" that are lacking in content, usability and other areas.

IMHO a simple sign of authority is that other people call you an authority and promote your website without being asked. If you are the only one promoting your website, then your visitors probably were not impressed enough.

Getting back to the focus of this thread - I would suggest webmasters work harder on improving all of their metrics to increase the chance that they will meet whatever minimum standard Google decides to use today or tomorrow for allowing rich snippets to show.

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