Today, Google is launching the update to the search algorithm for product reviews, which is designed to evaluate well-researched, detailed content based on short product summaries.
This is not a central algorithm update that affects all search results. This update is aimed specifically at product reviews.
In an announcement, Google said they had designed the product reviews update to reward content that users find most helpful:
“Google Search is always working to find the most useful and helpful information through testing, experimentation, and verification. Because of this, we know that people value product reviews who share in-depth research, rather than thin content simply summarizing a range of products. For this reason, we share an improvement in our ranking systems, which we refer to as a product review update, in order to better reward such content. "
Read on below
Currently, this update only affects search results in English.
Websites that don't post product reviews needn't worry about this update.
Websites that post product reviews should carefully monitor their traffic and look for unusual occurrences.
The algorithm update goes live today, which means website owners may already be seeing fluctuations in traffic and rankings.
Any sudden increase or decrease in search traffic around or around April 8th is likely to indicate that a website was affected by the product reviews update.
Regardless of changes in traffic, website owners should add a note to Google Analytics and other monitoring tools to indicate that the product reviews update went live today.
What if the product reviews update affects my website?
The updated product reviews focus on delivering content to users that offers insightful analysis and original research.
Read on below
With this update, Google Search aims to prioritize product reviews written by experts or enthusiasts who know the subject well.
Website owners who believe they may be affected by updates to product reviews should refer to Google's advice on creating better content.
Try to objectively review the content and ask if your website's product reviews:
- If necessary, express expert knowledge about products?
- Show what the product looks like physically or how it is used with unique content that goes beyond what the manufacturer provided.
- Take quantitative measurements of how a product is performing in different performance categories?
- Explain what sets a product apart from its competitors.
- Cover comparable products to review or explain which products are best for specific uses or circumstances.
- Discuss the pros and cons of a particular product based on research into the product.
- Describe how a product has performed from previous models or versions to provide improvements, fix problems, or otherwise help users make a purchase decision.
- Identify key decision factors for the product category and the product's performance in these areas. For example, a vehicle inspection could determine that fuel economy, safety and handling are important decision-making factors and performance characteristics in these areas.
- Describe the key options for designing a product and how they affect users beyond what is specified by the manufacturer.
The above recommendations are in line with Google's goal of rewarding the most useful product reviews.
Going forward, reviews will find it harder to rank in search results if they only contain brief product summaries.
Reviews with short product summaries are often posted on affiliate websites that focus more on quick commissions than providing actual value to users.
Website owners now need to publish holistic analyzes of products that include comparisons with similar products and comparisons with previous iterations of the same product.
If possible, provide quantitative analysis, such as: For example, the results of speed tests when you're checking a computer and other data that can help consumers make purchasing decisions.
It sounds like Google is paying close attention to whether a review contains information beyond what the manufacturer claims. In other words, don't go to a product page and rewrite what's already on the web.
We'll likely learn more about this algorithm update over time as it continues to roll out.