Google Unwraps February 2023 Product Reviews Update With Language Support

Feb 22, 2023 - 7:51 am 177 by
Filed Under Google Updates

Google Product Reviews Update

Google, at about 5pm ET last night on February 21, 2023, has unleashed the sixth product reviews update. This is named the February 2023 product reviews update and it expands to several more languages in addition to just English.

Like most other updates, Google says this will take about two weeks to rollout.

The languages now supported include English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Russian, Dutch, Portuguese, and Polish.

Google wrote on Twitter, "Today we released the February 2023 product reviews update, which applies to these languages globally: English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Russian, Dutch, Portuguese, Polish. It'll take ~2 weeks to fully roll out."

Google linked to this product reviews update page which was updated to say it covers more than English and some other changes to the document.

The new content is on the left and the old content is on the right (click to enlarge):

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Google Product Reviews Update Quick Facts

Here are the most important things that we know right now in short form:

  • Name: Google February 2023 Product Reviews Update
  • Launched: February 21, 2023 at around 5pm ET
  • Rollout: Two weeks - completed on March 7, 2023
  • Targets: It looks at product review content
  • Penalty: It is not a penalty, it promotes or rewards "insightful analysis and original research."
  • Not a core update: Many are going to say this is a core update, it is not.
  • Several languages: English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Russian, Dutch, Portuguese, Polish.
  • Impact: Google would not tell me what percentage of queries or searches were impacted by this update.
  • Discover: This update can impact your performance in Google Discover, Google previously said.
  • Recover: If you were hit by this, then you will need to look at your content and see if you can do better with Google's advice below
  • Refreshes: Google will do periodic refreshes to this algorithm but may not communicate those updates in the future. This may be the first refresh that Google has done, it is the first refresh Google communicated about.

Did We See Signs Of This Coming

We have seen a lot of unconfirmed Google search ranking updates in the past several weeks, many that seemed to have impacted product reviews sites throughout these tremors.

Glenn Gabe thinks maybe this was the case...

Here are those updates we covered:

It was super volatile the days and weeks leading up to this confirmed Google update.

What We're Seeing Now

I believe we are seeing some early signs of this update, early signs. I am seeing some super limited chatter right now at WebmasterWorld and some other chatter here and in other areas. Here is some of that chatter, I might update it throughout the day or do a new story when the chatter picks up more:

Still seeing low USA traffic here, although most of the rest of the world is higher today. USA traffic is -21% from an average Tuesday so far at 6:30pm. Traffic dropped off a cliff at 2pm and stayed down. Most likely an overabundance of ads in the US market, but I have noticed that my traffic is mostly down on days when the stock market takes a steep dive.

Very low traffic this morning after one of our best weekends in ages.

Google Discover seems to be like a tap that's either fully on or completely off.

Fluctuation has started again for a few hours...

Today I am seeing unusual traffic, out of my range, other countries or areas where I do not ship my products. It is normal to have some information queries, today it is not normal, because it has multiplied x10.

The product review searches I'm seeing produce results that are mostly ads. Not sure how/why Google justifies rolling out these product review updates when Google's intent is to force users to click ads. My guess is the jobs of those working on these updates will soon be on the same chopping block Google used to chop us out of the economy.

From where it stands now, and before, if you're Amazon you're golden. If your product reviews lead to Amazon with an affiliate link, you are golden as well. If you're an American based business trying to get your products in front of American shoppers then you either must pay big bucks to be above Amazon's ads and organic listings or sell on Amazon yourself. For a company like Google that publicly preaches about diversity, their search results have never been more Amazon biased.

The tracking tools are pretty calm but many still need to update today, so again, I might update this story later on today or do a new post when things heat up more.

Like Semrush is starting to climb now:

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Maybe also Accuranker:

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And also Mozcast:

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RankRanger just at around 7am ET started to show heat:

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And Cognitive SEO now:

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But as you can see, the previous weeks and days were super volatile - as I covered in the section above.

Previous Product Review Updates

Here are the dates for the previous Product Reviews Updates:

Google Product Review Update Advice

Here is the original advice but Google has posted this in a newish help document with the new advice from December 2022, this does not include the specific new points listed above:

  • 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?
  • Provide evidence such as visuals, audio, or other links of your own experience with the product, to support your expertise and reinforce the authenticity of your review.
  • Include links to multiple sellers to give the reader the option to purchase from their merchant of choice.

Here is the updated advice from the March update: (1) Are product review updates relevant to ranked lists and comparison reviews? Yes. Product review updates apply to all forms of review content. The best practices Google shared also apply. However, due to the shorter nature of ranked lists, you may want to demonstrate expertise and reinforce authenticity in a more concise way. Citing pertinent results and including original images from tests you performed with the product can be good ways to do this.

(2) Are there any recommendations for reviews recommending "best" products? If you recommend a product as the best overall or the best for a certain purpose, be sure to share with the reader why you consider that product the best. What sets the product apart from others in the market? Why is the product particularly suited for its recommended purpose? Be sure to include supporting first-hand evidence.

(3) If I create a review that covers multiple products, should I still create reviews for the products individually? It can be effective to write a high quality ranked list of related products in combination with in-depth single-product reviews for each recommended product. If you write both, make sure there is enough useful content in the ranked list for it to stand on its own.

Google also posted this graphic showing that product review lists can be impacted by this as well:

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Google also listed these four points about the criteria Google uses for product reviews:

  • Include helpful in-depth details, like the benefits or drawbacks of a certain item, specifics on how a product performs or how the product differs from previous versions
  • Come from people who have actually used the products, and show what the product is physically like or how it's used
  • Include unique information beyond what the manufacturer provides — like visuals, audio or links to other content detailing the reviewer's experience
  • Cover comparable products, or explain what sets a product apart from its competitors

I have written about every tiny detail of these product reviews update, just do a search on this site for more.

Forum discussion at Twitter, Black Hat World and WebmasterWorld.

Update Feb 23rd early: The tracking tools are now picking up more volatility:

Semrush:

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CognitiveSEO:

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Accuranker:

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Advanced Web Rankings:

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SERPmetrics:

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RankRanger:

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Mozcast:

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Also, Glenn Gabe shared some new charts:

 

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