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Google releases March 2022 product reviews update


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Google began rolling out the third version of its products reviews update on March 23, 2022. The product reviews update is a search ranking algorithm update targeted at ranking product review-related content on the internet that is most helpful and useful to searchers. 

Google says its first updates were designed to, among other things, help ensure reviews come from people who demonstrate expert knowledge and first-hand research about products. The first product reviews update was launched on April 8, 2021, and the second was launched on December 1, 2021. 

Google also said its most recent update builds on this work to make sure that product reviews in Search meet certain criteria, such as:

  • Include helpful in-depth details, like the benefits or drawbacks of a certain item, specifics on how a product performs or how the product differs from previous versions
  • Come from people who have actually used the products, and show what the product is physically like or how it’s used
  • Include unique information beyond what the manufacturer provides — like visuals, audio or links to other content detailing the reviewer’s experience
  • Cover comparable products, or explain what sets a product apart from its competitors

The Google product reviews update is trying to promote review content that is above and beyond much of the templated information you see elsewhere. Google will try to promote such product reviews in its search results rankings.

Google will not directly punish lower quality product reviews that have “thin content that simply summarizes a bunch of products.” Google will reward the websites with more insightful review content with higher rankings.

The update only impacts product review content and not other types of content. With the third release of the product reviews update, Google said the update builds on the work of the first two product review updates to enhance Google’s ability to identify high-quality product reviews. 

The rollout would happen over the next few weeks. A majority of the ranking volatility is expected to occur in the earlier stages of the rollout.

Google said the update could impact those who create product reviews in any language, but the initial rollout would be English-language product reviews. The company stated they have seen positive effects from the update in the past and plan to open up product review support for more languages in the future.

Google said 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. A list of additional useful questions to consider in terms of product reviews includes:

  • 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?
  • Provide evidence such as visuals, audio, or other links of your own experience with the product, to support your expertise and reinforce the authenticity of your review.
  • Include links to multiple sellers to give the reader the option to purchase from their merchant of choice.

Google linked to an earlier blog post entitled, “Write high-quality product reviews.” The company added three new points of new advice for this third release of the products reviews update:

  • Product review updates are relevant to ranked lists and comparison reviews. Product review updates apply to all forms of review content. 
  • If a person recommends a product as the best overall or the best for a certain purpose, they have to be sure to share with the reader why they consider that product the best. State what sets the product apart from others in the market and why the product is particularly suited for its recommended purpose.
  • When you create a review that covers multiple products, you can also create reviews for the products individually. It may be most effective to write a high-quality ranked list of related products in combination with in-depth single-product reviews for each recommended product.

Google has said that product reviews updates are not the same as core updates. This most recent update is a standalone update separate from Google’s regular core updates. 

If a website offers product review content, it will want to check rankings to see if they were impacted. Check to see if Google organic traffic improved, declined, or stayed the same.

Ultimately, you will want to be sure that you put a lot more detail and effort into product review content so that it is unique and stands out from the competition. Many impacted by previous core updates could be rewarded by this March 2022 product reviews update.

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