Starmageddon Has Landed – Google Update Sparks Twitter Frenzy
An update by any other name would smell just as sweet. Ok, maybe not so much if you’re one of the many that have been impacted by Google’s recent update regarding review rich results. Not long after Google announced the September 2019 Review Rich Results Update last week, members of the SEO community took to Twitter to offer up amusing, alternative names for the recent update. From Schemapocalypse to Reviewquake, many names have floated around the Twittersphere, but the one that has caught on the most has been ‘Starmageddon.’ https://twitter.com/Optimisey/status/1174333904586780679
What’s in a Name?
The aptly titled unofficial name, Starmageddon, reflects the frustration being felt by SEOs after Google announced that it would restrict review stars in SERPs for specific schemas, and stop displaying reviews that came directly from a business’s own website. The schema types specifically affected are LocalBusiness and Organization. The goal of the update is to make review rich results more helpful and meaningful for users searching for products or services. Prior to the update, local businesses had been able to push average star ratings from reviews about their businesses that lived on their own websites to their organic SERP results. However, in the official announcement on Google’s Webmaster Central Blog, Google declared that this was now considered ‘self-serving’ and would no longer be allowed as it’s not in the best interest of users. https://twitter.com/lilyraynyc/status/1177064500593381376 Google’s reasoning for this is that businesses themselves are adding the review markup about their business to their own site, rather than having it appear organically through a third party. Since the change was made, SERP review stars began disappearing from listings for many local businesses, sparking a 14% drop in Google review stars. According to Moz.com, the drop occurred within 48 hours after the update was announced.
Unfortunately for those rooting for Google to rename the update to ‘Starmageddon,’ it doesn’t appear as if Google will be getting on board any time soon. Google’s Public Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, issued a reminder via Twitter that despite how fitting and amusing Starmageddon may be, the name of the update is in fact September 2019 Review Rich Results Update. https://twitter.com/dannysullivan/status/1174357331775127552 There was a touch of irony to Sullivan’s comment, considering he himself had been credited with naming Google’s 2015 mobile algorithm update, ‘Mobilegeddon.’ So, whether you love it or hate it, it appears that Starmageddon is here to stay. For more information regarding this update, refer back to Google’s announcement post on the Webmaster Central Blog.