Google Product Reviews Update: A New Search Algorithm Update Hits The Shelves

Apr 9, 2021 • 7:21 am | comments (13) by twitter | Filed Under Google Search Algorithm Updates
 

Google has announced a new search ranking quality algorithm update to its search engine it is called the product reviews update. This update is aimed at rewarding high-level product review content, above thinner product review content. Google said "we know people appreciate product reviews that share in-depth research, rather than thin content that simply summarizes a bunch of products. That's why we're sharing an improvement to our ranking systems, which we call the product reviews update, that's designed to better reward such content."

This is not a core update and is only aimed at product review types of content.

This launched yesterday at around 1pm ET, around the time Google announced this new update. I also covered this update news yesterday when the news broke at Search Engine Land.

Google Product Reviews Update Quick Facts

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

  • Name: Google Product Reviews Update
  • Launched: April 8, 2021 at around 1pm ET
  • Rollout: It will take about two weeks to fully rollout
  • 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.
  • English Only: This is only looking at English-language content right now, this is a global launch but only for English content at this point.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Google wrote "we know people appreciate product reviews that share in-depth research, rather than thin content that simply summarizes a bunch of products. That's why we're sharing an improvement to our ranking systems, which we call the product reviews update, that's designed to better reward such content." Google added that the "the focus overall is on providing users with content that provides insightful analysis and original research, content written by experts or enthusiasts who know the topic well."

Danny Sullivan from Google added that this update will take about two weeks to fully rollout:

One clarification is that this update is focused specifically on product reviews but it can also potentially impact service reviews, Danny Sullivan of Google said later on.

In addition, this will impact both "single reviews or round-ups" reviews according to Danny:

Also, this is a broader update, meaning overall site:

These updates are periodically refreshed and Google might not communicate those refreshes:

Google does not have a timeline for when this will rollout to other languages, but when it does, Google will likely give us a heads up:

John Mueller of Google answered in a video, which was summarized by Glenn Gabe, on the product reviews for e-commerce product pages versus long form affiliate product style review content.

Also, right now, John said that this is a separate algorithm and over time he can see this being integrated into the overall algorithm. Kind of like how maybe Panda and Penguin are integrated now.

Also, this update can impact if these product reviews show up in Google Discover:

How To Recover From The Google Product Reviews Update

Google said that "this is separate from our regular core updates" you can still learn a lot from Google's original core update advice for this update as well. But Google gave addition guidance here on what to do with your product review content if they no longer rank as well as they use to. Google said ask yourself, does your review content:

  • 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?

Those are the questions you need to think about when reviewing your product review content and updating what you have to perform well in this category.

Note, a month ago, Google kind of teased this was coming and now we are here.

Industry Reaction

Here are some industry reaction quotes and tweets:

It is too soon to tell if this is a "big" update or not but I will be tracking the chatter over the next several days and report back to you all.

Forum discussion at Twitter & WebmasterWorld.

Update: Here is what SEOs are seeing early on in terms of ranking changes.

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