Impact of Google’s Pros and Cons Update on Product Review Sites

Google has updated its structured data documentation for editorial product review web pages. There are now new structured data pros and cons that make sites eligible for improved search.

This change to Google’s structured data for product reviews may have a significant impact on product review websites.

Only editorial product review sites can have an improved listing in search results when using these new structured data properties.

Merchants are not eligible for improved pros and cons in search, nor are customer product review pages.

This means that this structured data update affects product review websites, including affiliate product review sites, which do not sell the products themselves but focus on product reviews.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of structured data?

Pros and cons structured data is used by Google to identify specific information in product reviews and display it in search results.

The structured data that Google uses for pros and cons is based on the positiveNotes and negativeNotes Schema.org structured data properties.

What’s interesting about these structured data properties is that they’re not yet fully integrated into Schema.org.

According to the official Schema.org page for these types of structured data:

“This term is proposed for full integration into Schema.org, pending feedback on application and website implementation and adoption.”

Eligible Languages ​​for Product Review Advantages and Disadvantages

Websites in the following ten languages ​​can be viewed with the new search enhancement:

  1. Dutch
  2. English
  3. French
  4. German
  5. Italian
  6. Japanese
  7. Polish
  8. Portuguese
  9. Spanish
  10. Turkish

Guidelines

Google has released new guidelines that, in addition to limiting eligibility for a pro/con enhancement in search, also state that at least two pro or con statements must be made.

This means that it can be composed of at least two advantages, two disadvantages or one of each (one pro and one con).

According to the new documentation:

“Currently, only editorial product review pages are eligible for the appearance of pros and cons in search, not merchant product pages or customer product reviews.

There must be at least two product statements. It can be any combination of positive and/or negative statements (for example, ItemList markup with two positive statements is valid).

The pros and cons should be visible to users on the page. »

Advantages and disadvantages Structured data takes precedence

Google noted that editorially-reviewed webpages that don’t use the new structured data may still be eligible for a search enhancement if Google can figure it out from the text of the webpage.

However, Google will prioritize editorial review pages with structured data.

The announcement stated:

“If you don’t provide structured data, Google may try to automatically identify the pros and cons listed on the webpage.

Google will prioritize structured data provided by you over automatically extracted data. »

Is it difficult to add new structured data?

If you are using a plugin, whoever maintains it should add the new structured data.

This shouldn’t be difficult if the plugin differentiates between reviews for editorial review sites and reviews in the context of a merchant.

What’s involved is pretty much limited to adding pros and cons to a product review and then adding the positiveNote and negativeNote structured data to the product review website.

If you’re adding the new Pros and Cons structured data, it’s a pretty straightforward process that just involves adding the positiveNote and/or negativeNote structured data properties to any existing product review structured data.

Screenshot of positiveNote structured data

        "positiveNotes": {
            "@type": "ItemList",
            "itemListElement": [
              {
                "@type": "ListItem",
                "position": 1,
                "name": "Consistent results"
              },
              {
                "@type": "ListItem",
                "position": 2,
                "name": "Still sharp after many uses"
              }
            ]
          }

Screenshot of negativeNote structured data

          "negativeNotes": {
            "@type": "ItemList",
            "itemListElement": [
              {
                "@type": "ListItem",
                "position": 1,
                "name": "No child protection"
              },
              {
                "@type": "ListItem",
                "position": 2,
                "name": "Lacking advanced features"
              }
            ]
          }

List items in structured data

It is important to pay attention to the list item in structured data. The ListItem is a reference to the Pro or the Con.

Good pros and cons structured data will have at least two ListItem types in the structured data.

This means that structured data can contain:

  • One for and one against
  • Or it may contain two advantages and no disadvantages
  • Or it may contain two disadvantages and no advantages

Important: Not for use with customer product reviews

This structured data is specifically for product review websites, i.e. editorial product review websites.

Google explicitly mentions that customer product reviews are not eligible.

While Google doesn’t explicitly say this shouldn’t be used with UGC product reviews, that’s likely what Google means.

Newly Updated Product Review Structured Data Impacts Publishers

The updated structured data will result in what Google calls search improvements. This means that it will result in SERP snippets that can increase click-through rates.

Screenshot of the new snippet

Product review websites, what Google calls editorial product review sitesshould consider adding pros and cons structured data to their web pages to qualify for search enhancements.

It’s not necessary to do this, but it’s still worth getting every advantage available in the way search snippets are displayed to maximize search traffic.


Quote

Read Google’s announcement

New to Structured Data: Pros and Cons

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Thapana_Studio