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Google has recently amended the guidelines for the reviews schema to control and eliminate schema reviews that are deemed to be vulgar and contain profanity.
The updated Google Reviews Schema webpage specifically states that “Profanity and vulgar language are prohibited. Do not include reviews that contain vulgar or profane language.”
What this means is that if any of your schema reviews for Google that you marked up as well as some of your reviews itself contain vulgar language or profanity, then it would be for the best if you prune those reviews from your webpage or at most, remove your schema itself.
Reviews are mostly uncontrolled “content” that is submitted to your website by your users which means that you have little to no control on what people decide to write about your website. The best way to go about this is that you need to ensure that you are fully capable of adapting and making full use of your website’s quality control in order to fully ensure that neither old or new reviews on your website are violating this new guideline.
In simpler terms, you can’t decide what people think of your website and definitely can’t decide what people think of your website and some of them will even write vulgar things either consciously or not. The only way you can really combat this is by being stringent in the way you control what review gets published or not. In other words, all you have to do is practice constant vigilance and your website should be fine.
If you decide to keep reviews that violate Google’s update guidelines for Reviews Schema, then bear in mind that Google has reserved the right to forcefully remove your snippets from their SERP – and that’s not something that you would want for your website. There’s a way to recover from that but it’s going to take a lot of hard work that can instead be devoted into maintaining your website as wel as improving it to further comply with Google’s ever changing standards.
Being a good SEO practitioner means that you devote a lot of your time into making your website as good as possible for your users. It’s not merely your duty or a part of your job description, it is instead your obligation to make your website as accessible as possible. The reason for this is because most SEO specialists do not consider SEO as their career and instead, most of them including me consider SEO as a passion that we pursue to perfect. Practicing good SEO is a way for you to earn good money for your business as well as a service for your customers.
This is where the reviews come into play. I personally love hearing what people think about what I do for their websites. I love hearing feedback not because I want to earn more money but it’s because I want to become the best at what I do – and that’s SEO. Reading people’s reviews is a good way for you to improve as a specialist as well as a means for you to know what makes people happy – or unhappy about your website. If you can harness both the good and the bad and make them both into a force for good for your website, then that makes you a winner in both customer service as well as SEO.
Of course, not every review will tell you what they think nicely. Some of them will curse you while others will simply try to make you feel bad. I’m all for constructive criticism but pointless vulgarity is not something that should be tolerated. Google has now given you a valid reason to remove vulgar or profane reviews. All that’s left is for you to do remove them from your website.
Have you ever experienced any vulgar or profane reviews? Do you have any good reviews that made you happy as an SEO specialist? Let talk about it in the comments below.