Google’s March 2022 product reviews update is now well underway, which according to the search giant could have a significant impact on “product reviews across many sites”. Interestingly, however, there have been comparatively few reports to date of the update having any major impact on search rankings in any specific niche or sector.
Whatever Google’s product review update is doing, it appears to be doing it surprisingly subtly in the background.
According to Google, the update is being implemented to ensure high-level product review content is suitably rewarded, while giving a backseat to short, vague and less useful product reviews. Given the prevalence of product reviews doing the rounds online, you would expect the effects of this update to be fairly significant.
Google said that the latest update to its search algorithm “builds on work to enhance our ability to identify high quality product reviews” and “will make it easier for us to get sound purchasing advice in front of users, and to reward creators who are earnest in being helpful.”
Even so, no real shock waves are yet being felt (or at least being reported) by the SEO community, with respect to this seemingly huge product reviews update.
Google Releases Basic FAQ for SEOs and Webmasters
To help clarify what the update is all about, Google published a brief FAQ examining three important points:
Are product review updates relevant to ranked lists and comparison reviews?
Yes. Product review updates apply to all forms of review content. The best practices Google shared also apply. However, due to the shorter nature of ranked lists, you may want to demonstrate expertise and reinforce authenticity in a more concise way. Citing pertinent results and including original images from tests you performed with the product can be good ways to do this.
Are there any recommendations for reviews recommending “best” products?
If you recommend a product as the best overall or the best for a certain purpose, be sure to share with the reader why you consider that product the best. What sets the product apart from others in the market? Why is the product particularly suited for its recommended purpose? Be sure to include supporting first-hand evidence.
If I create a review that covers multiple products, should I still create reviews for the products individually?
It can be effective to write a high quality ranked list of related products in combination with in-depth single-product reviews for each recommended product. If you write both, make sure there is enough useful content in the ranked list for it to stand on its own.
They also provided a series of guidelines for those looking to write and publish more helpful reviews, in accordance with Google’s new criteria:
- 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
- Publish reviews 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