Recent news about the dramatic fall in the number of review stars on SERPs has been confirmed as a glitch by John Meuller, the Webmaster Trends Analyst for Google. Initially, people were speculating on a wide range of causes, including changes made purposefully by the search giant to re-balance things and alter where these informative rich snippets show up.
The Importance of Review Stars in Rich Snippets
Websites from the large to the small were affected by this glitch, which took away the ability for some sites to provide searchers with these valuable snippets of information. Review stars are often added to SERPs in conjunction with corresponding mark-up text from a webpage. They provide a helpful, quick visual overview of the content before users decide to click on a link.
Ratings are known to influence behaviour massively, instilling confidence in customers to purchase a product or sign-up to a service. We’ve all become accustomed to these little gold stars on sites like Amazon, Yelp and IMDB, so it’s no surprise that a significant drop in their presence on SERPs has caused a commotion online.
Spotting Review Stars Problem and Fixing It
Google metrics website MozCast reported a 10% drop in review stars appearing in search results over the course of a few days. The figures normally sit around 30%, but they dropped to around 20% during this event. Upon discovering the bug, the development team at Google checked the data to ensure it wasn’t within normal parameters, as these kind of statistics “come and go depending on changes on our side,” according to Meuller during a webmaster office hours conference
After fixing the problem, the percentage of queries rapidly climbed back up to normal levels, as indicated by the MozCast tracking statistics. However, many site owners will have been negatively affected by this glitch, which has resulted in reduced traffic and click-through rates.
Has your site been hit by this problem? If so, have you experienced an improvement since the fix?