Google has updated its rich results content guidelines to align better with the overall Google merchant guidelines thus disallowing rich results for products that are widely prohibited or regulated, or that can facilitate serious harm to self or others.
These include, but are not limited to, weapons, recreational drugs, tobacco & vaping products and gambling-related products.
New rich results guidelines. Google has updated the rich results product content guidelines to add this section:
Don’t mark up content that promotes widely prohibited or regulated goods, services, or information that may facilitate serious and/or immediate or long term harm to self or others. This includes content related to firearms & weapons, recreational drugs, tobacco & vaping products and gambling-related products.
Application. Google said this policy applies to all forms of rich result markup, including star ratings, prices, or availability information and more. This can impact products with rich result structured data markup that are widely prohibited or regulated, or that can facilitate serious harm to self or others. “This could include goods like fireworks, recreational drugs, and other products that can pose acute threats of physical harm,” a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land.
Effective immediately. Google told us this policy goes into affect today, at the time this story has published.
Why we care. If you sell any of these types of products, you will probably want to remove the structured data markup from those pages. If you do not remove the markup, either way, Google will not show rich results for these product categories.
We did ask Google if you will receive some sort of manual action within Google Search Console and Google said it will not issue manual actions, instead Google will simply just remove the rich results for these types of search results. So no manual action will be given but technically the removal of these rich results is the penalty one would receive for violating the rich results content guidelines.