Digital Marketing

Google Rolls Out the New Product Reviews Search Algorithm Update

The search giant Google introduced a new search algorithm update called product reviews update. According to Google, the update is designed to “better reward” well-researched, in-depth content by ranking them over simple brief product summaries.

Just to clear things up, this is a standalone update, not a regular core search algorithm update, meaning it won’t impact all search results. This update targets product reviews in particular.

In its latest announcement, Google said that it is constantly working to present the searchers with the most helpful and valuable information possible via experimenting, testing, and review processes. The company knows that users value product reviews that share well-researched, in-depth content instead of thin content that simply puts forward a summary of a set of products. That’s why Google is improving its ranking systems with the new product reviews update, which is designed to reward such content better.

Nevertheless, this search algorithm update only impacts English-language reviews currently.

There’s nothing to be concerned about regarding this update for websites that don’t post product reviews.

On the other hand, websites that publish product reviews need to carefully monitor their traffic and rankings and keep an eye out for anything unusual.

The product reviews update is live in search results now, meaning site owners might start seeing fluctuations in their rankings and traffic already.

Any abrupt increase or drop in search rankings or traffic will probably indicate that the website was affected by the product reviews update.

Irrespective of any shifts in the rankings or traffic, website owners should add an annotation in Google Analytics and other monitoring tools to signal that the product reviews update went live.

What to Do If the Product Reviews Update Affected My Website?

The product reviews update focuses on presenting users with content that provides “insightful analysis and original research,” Google says.

With this search algorithm update, the goal of Google Search is to prioritize the content written by experts or enthusiasts who know the topic inside out in the search results.

Site owners who feel that their websites have been affected by this new update should take Google’s advice on producing and publishing better content.

Try and review your product reviews content impartially and ask yourself if they:

  • Express expert knowledge about products where appropriate?
  • Show what the product is like physically, or how it is used, with unique content beyond what’s provided by the manufacturer?
  • Provide quantitative measurements about how a product measures up in various categories of performance?
  • Explain what sets a product apart from its competitors?
  • Cover comparable products to consider, or explain which products might be best for certain uses or circumstances?
  • Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of a particular product based on research into it?
  • Describe how a product has evolved from previous models or releases to provide improvements, address issues, or otherwise help users in making a purchase decision?
  • Identify key decision-making factors for the product’s category and how the product performs in those areas? For example, a car review might determine that fuel, economy, safety, and handling are key decision-making factors and rate performance in those areas.
  • Describe key choices in how a product has been designed and their effect on the users beyond what the manufacturer says?

All these suggestions mentioned above are in harmony with Google’s objective of better rewarding the most helpful product reviews.

With the rollout of this update, product reviews will struggle to rank in Google SERPs if they only summarize the products going forward.

Usually, reviews that present a summary of products are observed on affiliate websites that aim to make quick commissions instead of offering any real value to people.

From now on, site owners will be required to publish complete analyses of products, including their comparisons to other similar products and comparisons to older iterations of the same product.

Whenever possible, offer quantitative analysis like the results of speed tests if you are reviewing a PC, for example, along with other relevant data that can help customers make a better-informed purchase decision.

It looks like the search giant will be mindful of whether a product review provides information that goes beyond the data given by the manufacturer or not. To put it another way, don’t just visit a product page and rewrite what is already present out there.

Wrapping It Up

Google has launched a new search algorithm update called product reviews update, which is focused on ranking reviews that provide insightful analysis and original research over the ones that merely summarize a set of products. With this update, Google aims to reward such content better as it offers more actual value to the users and helps them make more informed purchase decisions. The update went live in search results on April 8, 2021. However, it will only impact English-language reviews in SERPs for the time being. If site owners see an abrupt rise or drop in their rankings or traffic, it’s probably due to this update. Websites that publish product reviews should take Google’s advice and start creating better content. If you feel your site has been affected by this update, you can ask yourself the questions recommended by Google mentioned earlier. Try to offer as much holistic and quantitative analysis of products as possible instead of rewriting the information provided by the product manufacturer on the web. For now, this is all we’ve got. We will probably learn more about this product review update over time as Google continues to roll it out more widely.