Google rolled out a third product review algorithm update, aimed to promote higher quality product reviews in the search results. Its primary focus is to elevate the rankings of product review content that demonstrate expertise, accurate and helpful information. In other words, Google’s objective is to provide transparent and first-hand product reviews above and beyond what is provided by the manufacturer. Let’s break down what this update means, how it can impact your website and the guidelines for Google’s latest product review update.
Why is Google Focused on Product Reviews?
Why is Google so intent on this specific change to their ranking systems as it relates to product reviews? In Google’s increasing effort to provide useful and relevant information to its users, it seems only logical that unbiased and helpful product reviews would also be important. Google itself states that they’ve learned through extensive user testing that:
“People appreciate product reviews that share in-depth research, rather than thin content that simply summaries a bunch of products.”
It’s clear they received enough user feedback that their algorithms lacked in sharing high-quality product reviews. In addition, the increase of affiliate blogs Google is crawling and indexing would likely increase the low-quality affiliate content. So an update was in order.
Google’s Product Reviews Update
The Google product reviews update aims to promote reviewed content that is above and beyond much of the generalized information on the internet. Google also stated it will promote these types of product reviews in its search rankings.
They won’t directly punish lower quality products reviews that contain “thin content.” However, If you provide low-quality content, your rankings will take a demotion over the other higher-quality product reviews. When positioned that way, it certainly can feel like a punishment. According to Google, it’s not necessarily a penalty against your content, but rather its way of rewarding sites above yours with more insightful and informative content.
Why We Should Care about Google’s Product Review Update
If your website offers product review content, you may want to double-check your rankings. Did your traffic through Google improve, decline, or remain the same? Regardless of how you were impacted, it’s worth making the effort to provide a lot more detail into your product review content so it’s unique and stands out from your competitors.
Google has also given advice on what to consider if your site’s been negatively impacted by this product reviews update. One is to provide more multimedia around your products reviews such as visuals, demos, audio, or other links of your own experience. The second is to provide links to multiple sellers, not just one. This gives the reader the option to purchase from their merchant of choice.
Google’s Guideline to Product Reviews
In this update, Google did provide recommended criteria to follow when creating product reviews:
- Include helpful in-depth details like benefits or drawbacks of that product
- Specifics on how a product performs or how the product differs from the previous version
- Product content that is based on people that have physically used the products
- Share first-hand evidence to support user claims
- Include unique information that is beyond what the manufacturer provides – such as images, videos, or links to other content that gives more in-depth details about the product and supports the authenticity of the review
- Share comparable products, or explain what sets one product apart from its competitors
- Detail what the product is best suited for and why, and if it’s accurate with the manufacturer’s specifications.
Google also provides advice on how to publish your content. It’s important to demonstrate expertise and authenticity in a very concise way. Don’t repeat the same points or get redundant. The key is to make sure written product reviews meet Google’s quality threshold. Only cite pertinent results, including original images, to demonstrate your interaction with the product. Be sure to include enough useful information for your content review to stand on its own.
Google is becoming more and more sophisticated with its algorithms in determining what content provides real value. It’s important for users to get a sense of products from real users beyond manufactured content. With the increasing focus of E-A-T (expertise, authority, and trust), accurate product reviews are just another extension of their standard.
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