Google is always looking for ways to improve their user experience.
You have probably noticed some odd looking search results pages at times when using the search engine? This is most likely to be testing of new data. Whilst I am not always convinced that new features in the SERPs are good, it is definitely good that there is an appetite to test new features that are designed to improve the quality of information that is shown in the SERPs.
One such improvement was announced last week with the arrival of ‘pros and cons’ structured data:
New in structured data: you can now tell Google about the pros and cons of a product with markup. Learn more: https://t.co/9wcULoBGGQ
— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) August 5, 2022
There is no doubt that product reviews are an incredibly powerful / influential force that can have a significant impact on a potential purchaser’s product research. Whilst reviews are often distilled down to a star rating, listing various pros and cons is a helpful analysis and, in my humble opinion, often gives a more balanced review.
Google has obviously recognised the value of listing pros and cons, so is making it much easier to mark up your product data to include such information in product review snippets.
You can see an example of how to implement JSON-LD encoded structured data for a cheese knife at https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2022/08/pros-and-cons-structured-data. There are two things that strike me when reading that page:
- I am intrigued by what ‘advanced features’ a cheese knife can have? This particular cheese knife has a lack of advanced features marked up as a con :-)
- Google makes it very clear that they are going to start automatically identifying pros and cons, even if you don’t mark up your data. Whilst this should be relatively straight forward, by analysing review content, I fear we may be seeing some highly amusing pros and cons that have been auto-generated in the coming months. I will watch with interest.
For the time being, only editorial product review pages will be eligible for this enhancement, so it is not applicable to merchant product pages or customer product reviews but I would expect it to be expanded in the future if it proves successful.
Cheese knife jokes aside, I am pleased to see this as I do think that it will add helpful information to rich snippets and provide a more balanced view of a product.