At the start of April, Google announced the release of a new algorithm update specifically targeting product reviews. The aim of this update is to improve the quality of content available and help define the most “useful and helpful information possible”, to quote the Google Search Central Blog.
The update is designed to elevate product reviews which go above and beyond basic templated content, offering rich and in-depth information, helping to ensure they position above thin or poor-quality reviews.
The update started on a trial rollout in the English language only, with the majority of the effect being felt in the first few days. The update will not affect as many sites as a core update would because it focuses specifically on product reviews. However it will have impacted a large number of product-based sites. The initial trial rollout is due to finish on April 22nd.
Summary of the Google Product Reviews Update
The Google Product Review Update is aimed more at affiliate content as opposed to that found on eCommerce sites. For example:
The update looks at product review content and rewards insight and originality as opposed to penalising lower quality reviews. SEO Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan has suggested that service reviews may also benefit – and therefore presumably could be affected negatively too.
It can impact performance in Search and Discover, though so far appears less impactful than the December Core Update.
Google are likely to refresh the product review algorithm from time to time but it is unlikely to be announced.
What Are The Effects Of The Product Reviews Update?
Product and service reviews which have felt the effect of this update are likely to see a decrease in visibility in Google Search and Discover, experiencing decreased ranking positions and impressions.
How Can I Fix Ranking Drops Caused By The Update?
If you think your website may have been impacted by the update, it is worth revisiting your content and analysing the quality and performance of your product and service reviews.
Google have helpfully outlined nine areas of interest for website owners to revisit:
• 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?
How Can Innovation Visual Help?
As soon as the update was announced, Innovation Visual immediately reviewed any potential issues with existing clients and moved to ensure minimal impact on results. Moving forward, we are creating processes based on what we have learned to ensure we are able to deal with any further impacts effectively and immediately.
If you are concerned about your review performance after the update, we can help you address the issues and improve your visibility online. We can also advise you on best practice for bigger picture Google Search algorithm impact management.
You can reach us via IVybot, our chatbot, by calling on 0333 772 0509 or completing the form on our contact page.