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In true Google fashion, the search engine giant has now come up with an update for its rich results guidelines. These updated guidelines are meant to better align rich results content with overall Google merchant guidelines.

The new guidelines deny rich results for products that are widely prohibited and known to facilitate harm in any way. For example, products that fall into categories like weapons, fireworks, recreational drugs, tobacco, and gambling.

The guidelines now have an additional section

Google rich results content guidelines, which have already come into effect, have been updated to add the following 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.”

The new policy applies to all forms of markup

According to Google, the new guideline policies will apply to rich result markups in all forms, be it star ratings, prices, information regarding a product’s availability, or other factors. This, in turn, will impact the prohibited products’ structured data markup.

How does this affect your business?

If your business sells products that fall into any of the above-mentioned prohibited categories, this update definitely applies to you. All you can do right now is remove the structured data markup from your product pages, because Google will not show rich results for them.

Although the search engine will not issue any manual action, the removal of rich results in itself will act as a penalty against violating the rich results content guidelines.