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Google’s Product Reviews Update - What You Need to Know

Gary Green
Gary Green
October 21, 2021

It is part of the Google Search remit to always try its hardest to ensure that users are shown information that is as helpful and useful as possible. It tries to achieve this through ongoing experimenting, testing and carrying out reviews.

Therefore, Google is aware that people appreciate it when they see product reviews that share research that is in-depth instead of simply thin content which summarises several products. For this reason, Google has made an improvement to its ranking systems, known as the Product Reviews update, which has been designed to reward valuable product review content more effectively.

Although only reviews in English have been involved in the update thus far, it is likely that other languages will be covered soon in an attempt to further aid those who produce rich content within this arena.

Importance Of Content

While the product review update is separate from Google’s regular core updates, advice about creating high-quality content is relevant with regards to product reviews just as much as for creating other types of websites.

The focus overall is on giving users content that gives them original research and insightful analysis, created by enthusiasts and experts who are very familiar with the topic and subject matter.

Content that is highly relevant must be substantially detailed and nuanced in nature, and this applies equally to product review pages as to other types of websites. This, therefore, makes the Product Reviews update virtually identical in terms of what it means for developers as the other core updates.

It also means that pages can undergo the same amount of ranking gain or loss as they would after a core update if pages aren’t properly optimised for the new product review update.

Analysing The Product Review Update

It’s important to determine the kind of content that Google is rewarding when it comes to any type of update and this holds true just as much for this product review update as for any core update.

It’s key to look at the relationships between different pages during any update and to spot any fundamental differences between two pages from the perspective of content if one gains and one loses its rankings after the update is implemented.

Some of the elements that could cause a problem with a page’s ranking after the implementation of the product review update include:

  • Too much marketing language to push sales
  • Content that is too thin and not in-depth enough
  • A lack of guidance to help the buyer make their purchasing decision

With this in mind, some of the elements that you need to make sure have been added to your reviews for them to rank highly include:

  • Actual specifications and relevant content to describe the product and its uses without using strong selling language
  • Adding a buyers’ guide to showcase key features
  • Insightful and deep review content to show how well the product functions in practice

Essentially, it’s important to ensure that your product reviews aren’t simply a list of products with only simple details that could be found on the manufacturer’s own website.

Rather, it must provide all the key details that a prospective buyer might need to know such as its specifications, its functionality, how well it works in a real-life context, and what purchasers need to know before they buy.

The language used must be authoritative and informative without focusing too heavily on the selling aspects, otherwise, the pages are unlikely to rank too well.

For people who create product review content, below you’ll find some extra helpful questions that can be considered when writing reviews.

Top Questions For Product Reviewers

  • Does your review express expertise and knowledge about the product as and when appropriate?
  • Does it show physically what each product is like, how it can be used, and is the content unique beyond that which the manufacturer themselves provide in their own material?
  • Does the review provide any quantitative measurements about the way the product measures up when various performance categories are taken into account?
  • Does it establish the aspects of the product that set it apart from its rivals and competitors?
  • Does the review cover any comparable products which can also be considered, or explain the products that might be most suitable under certain circumstances or for particular uses?
  • Does the review discuss the pros and cons of the product based on viable research?
  • Have you described the ways in which the product has changed from its previous releases or earlier models to address known issues, provide improvements, or help users in any way to make their purchasing decision?
  • Have vital decision-making factors been identified for the product category including how well it performs in each area?
  • Have you described key choices about how the product has been designed as well as its effect on its user beyond anything said already by the manufacturer in their marketing materials?

Protection From Negative Impacts

If a website has seen a negative impact after the product review update what can be done to mitigate the situation?

The primary thing to do is ensure that the content is high-quality, honest and accurate. You must ask yourself if you would trust the details that you present on your website in the way that it is currently presented, and avoid any redundant or duplicate content.

Essentially, the best thing to do is to imagine you were one of your target audience members when creating content as this will ensure that you create content that they are likely to appreciate.

Best practice for this type of content involves providing good product information for consumers including:

  • The exact product name
  • Good-quality photographs
  • SKU numbers

It’s important to avoid over-reliance on sponsored content to get and give backlinks.

Before you look at any technical ways of enhancing product review content, it’s important to take the time to ensure your text gives value to its intended audience, addressing their concerns and answering their questions. This will ensure that they get good value and that Google thus ranks the product review more highly.

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