Google April 2023 Reviews Update - What We're Seeing...

Apr 17, 2023 - 7:51 am 74 by
Filed Under Google Updates

Google Reviews Update

On April 12th at noon, while I was offline, Google released the April 2023 reviews update that expanded the product reviews update to go beyond just products and also impacted services and things. It has been just under a week since it launched, and so far, while the sites that did see an impact saw a significant impact, I am not seeing massive widespread impacts like you would see from a core update.

Glenn Gabe covered what changed with this update and some of what he saw within 24-hours of launch over here. So read that first, if you missed it. Let's dig a bit into how big this update was so far, note - it is not done rolling out.

What SEOs Are Seeing

Let's first start with examples of specific sites hit by this update from Glenn and others on Twitter. As you can see, if you were hit, it had a massive impact on your visibility:

As Glenn noted, Semrush did a database upgrade of some sort, and if you are looking at Semrush data, you need to keep that in mind. Doing a database update that can impact these charts while Google is rolling out an update is not the best timing for Semrush.

Here is some of the chatter at WebmasterWorld, Black Hat World and the comments area here after April 12th:

Something is again cooking up in SERP with ranking fluctuations today, Am I the only one seeing this?

I'm also seeing some ranking changes across multiple websites. Not sure if it's an update or just a random shakeup.

Big drops yesterday and today it starts with -33%. Amazon is now #1 or #2 for nearly all searches in our vertical. Then 2-3 price compare engines followed by big resellers. All this sites are pure affiliate with no extra bonus for the user.

Oh! Did someone switch of the USA yesterday ?.?.? I was having a good, steady day until 20.00 UK time and then traffic (USA) went to a crawl and 13 hours later I am waiting for it to re-start.

My logs indicate US traffic was halved v average.

Since the last update I have watched a horde of new domains getting high positions in my verticals. They invariably have little to recommend them apart from many obviously bought links.

I have never believed a word Google says about 'improving' their SERPs and I see no reason to do so now.

I perform some review type searches and the results are also loaded with ads for Amazon. Are there any searchers even looking beyond the ads to see these review sites? Then I scroll deep down to find and visit the review sites and they also link to Amazon. Google needs to stop already. We all know many of Amazon reviews are paid/fake. But Google doesn't mind because Google also displays ads for these paid Amazon review services.

Today we got hit again -30%. That means -60% to previous core update traffic. And it seems 50% from remaining traffic are bots.

It had recovered since Tuesday, but today both UK and USA traffic are -30%. I don't have any product reviews, only Google business reviews so I doubt the latest update had any effect on me. My guess is it's just spring break. We also have unseasonably warm summer-like weather here already...people are out

As expected from historical data, a very poor week at about 50%. Let's see if it bounces back next week.

This update seems to hit one of my site having review schema of my own product/service. I am not aware of review sites. but if you are having single review displayed on your product/service page, and/or having review schema with single or multiple reviews that can affect the ranking of that page with this update.

G is playing with the serp like a toy, it's shuffling again...

So first, we had throttling of traffic from Google

Now its traffic is being stopped for 6-12+ hours at a time from Google.

I bet Q1 figures aren't going to be good when released, hence they are taking all traffic for themselves

I'm getting that now, G traffic just dropped off the face of the earth about 6 hours ago - so 15 hours after you posted this! Its been down around 45% most of April, but the last few hours its practically non-existent!

My unique views got crushed today. Down roughly 40%.

Total death today being that it started dying on the 12th.

As expected from historical data, a very poor week at about 50%. Let's see if it bounces back next week.

Google Tracking Tools

Here are what the tools are showing, in aggregate, remember it first started to roll out on April 12th mid-day:


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Cognitive SEO:

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Advanced Web Ranking:

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So, it seems like this update did do damage but not as widespread as many some other Google updates.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld and Black Hat World.

April 20th Tremors

Update: April 20th, there were some tremors on the 19th according to the SEO community.

Glenn Gabe posted:

Here is more chatter in the WebmasterWorld forums:

Something is happening, it looks like another update is being rolled out...

Yes I'll second that, a fair bit of movement here in the UK - in my vertical at least.

We saw a bit of movement yesterday but today nearly all positions are back to where they were before the core update..

Regarding a possible update today, I'm also seeing movement. Plus the Semrush Sensor has spiked

Huge drop since yesterday. The december update ranked several keywords on my site. I have nothing to complain about. There were 4 months of very high traffic. But since april 19th, everything is going down. Something big is going on...

I'm also seeing a drop since last night. Can't really see any similarities between the pages that have dropped but my guess is the "people also asked" segment in the SERPs has gotten a boost, which means lower traffic for text links.

Another big drop since yesterday. It seems it won't stop until demote the entire website.

Yesterday evening UK time I did a couple of hours of USA SERPs checking for about 100 keywords using Win 10, a squeaky clean Chrome and SurfShark VPN. What did I find and I obviously realise that Joe Public does not have a clean, geek set-up.

Here are screenshots of some of the tracking tools showing big movement with this April 20th or so tremor:


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Advanced Web Rankings:

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