Google has released a new quality algorithm update that promotes outstanding product reviews.
Google announced a new Search algorithm update it is calling the Google product reviews update. This update is “designed to better reward” product reviews that “share in-depth research, rather than thin content that simply summarizes a bunch of products,” a spokesperson told Search Engine Land. Reviews that are written in a way that has “insightful analysis and original research” will be rewarded, especially “content written by experts or enthusiasts who know the topic well,” Google said.
Google product reviews update
The Google product reviews update aims to promote review content that is above and beyond much of the templated information you see on the web. Google said it will promote these types of product reviews in its search results rankings.
Google is not directly punishing lower quality product reviews that have “thin content that simply summarizes a bunch of products.” However, if you provide such content and find your rankings demoted because other content is promoted above yours, it will definitely feel like a penalty. Technically, according to Google, this is not a penalty against your content, Google is just rewarding sites with more insightful review content with rankings above yours.
Technically, this update should only impact product review content and not other types of content.
Not a core update. Google also said this is not a core update. This is a standalone update they’re calling the Google product reviews update. This is separate from Google’s regular core updates, the company told us. Nonetheless, Google did add that the advice it originally provided for core updates, “about producing quality content for those is also relevant here.” In addition to that advice, Google provided additional guidance specific to this update.
Advice on the Google product reviews update. 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,” Google said about this update. That is similar advice to the core update recommendations mentioned above, but here is a list of “additional useful questions to consider in terms of product reviews.” Google recommends your product reviews cover these areas and answer these questions. Do your product reviews…
- 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?
Google also linked to its blog post from earlier this year named providing better product information for shoppers.
This update is live now. Google said the update is live now for English-language reviews globally.
Why we care. If your website offers product review content, you will want to check your rankings to see if you were impacted. Did your Google organic traffic improve, decline or stay the same?
Long term, you are going to want to ensure that going forward, that you put a lot more detail and effort into your product review content so that it is unique and stands out from the competition on the web.
Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry’s personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here.