The March 2022 Google Product Reviews Update Explained
May 5th 2022 | By Emma Grant
If your website offers product reviews, then you’ll be interested in the Google Product Reviews Update which has recently finished rolling out.
Whilst not a core update, the Product Reviews Update is crucial nonetheless for businesses that rely on product reviews to bolster online sales.
The update was originally launched in April 2021, with a view to building on Google’s work to identify high quality product reviews. A second review followed in December 2021, with the third announced in March this year. The aim, Google says, is to get sound purchasing advice in front of users by pushing higher quality product reviews to the top of the search results.
Google said that user feedback revealed that people prefer detailed reviews that include evidence of products actually being tested.
Over the past year, the search engine has updated how search ranks product reviews, to prioritise in-depth and authentic content based on that feedback, as well as Google’s internal testing and evaluation processes.
This most recent update builds on all the previous work done to identify high quality product reviews, and it would appear that the rankings of English language product reviews have already started to be impacted.
What does the Product Review Update mean for my website rankings?
The aim of the Google Product Reviews Update is to showcase review content that goes above and beyond the template-style information that many reviews are made up of. ‘Thin content that simply summarises a bunch of products,’ as Google puts it.
Google isn’t intending to directly punish these lower quality reviews, but it could be that such content is demoted because better reviews are promoted above it. The update is only supposed to impact product review content rather than other types of content.
What can I do to improve my product review rankings?
If you want your product reviews to stand out from the competition and rank above the rest, then you will need to make sure they are well detailed and unique, rather than following a templated structure.
Google says that 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.’
Various recommendations were provided when the update first came about, with Google saying that reviews should:
- Express expert knowledge about products where applicable
- Show what the product is like physically, or how it is used, with unique content beyond what’s provided by the manufacturer
- Show 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
- 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
- Describe key choices about how a product has been designed and its effect on the users, beyond what the manufacturer says
- Provide evidence, such as images or video, of the reviewer’s own experience with the product, to support their expertise and reinforce the authenticity of the review
With the latest update, Google has added new advice, saying that reviews should:
- Be relevant to ranked lists and comparison reviews and ideally demonstrate expertise and reinforce authority concisely – this could mean, for example, including relevant results, plus original images from product tests
- When recommending a ‘best overall product’ for a certain purpose, clearly set out why that product is considered the best, what sets it apart from others, and include evidence to show why the product is particularly suited for purpose
For reviews that cover multiple products in a ranked list style, it is suggested that each product on the list is also backed up with a detailed review of its own.
There are some helpful best practices published by Google setting out how to write high quality product reviews.
Looking to keep ahead of the latest Google updates?
The Product Reviews Update is one of many algorithm updates that Google releases on a regular basis. Keeping up with the latest updates is vital if you are going to maintain your rankings and stay ahead of the competition in the search results.
Here at Figment, we make a point of staying on top of Google’s latest updates, so that we can ensure our clients’ businesses have the best chance of being found online.