Google has today announced via the Search Central Blog that their Product Reviews Update has now gone live.
This update focuses on improving the rankings of in-depth reviews rather than thin content that simply summarises the information you could gather from a product’s web page.
Google states “Google Search is always working to show the most useful and helpful information possible, through testing, experimenting, and review processes. From this, we know people appreciate product reviews that share in-depth research, rather than thin content that simply summarizes a bunch of products. That’s why we’re sharing an improvement to our ranking systems, which we call the product reviews update, that’s designed to better reward such content.”
The update went live today and is currently only affecting English search results.
Google comments that despite this being separate from their core updates, the advice they provide about producing high-quality content is still relevant in this case. They indicate that well-researched content from experts is what they are looking for.
If you are a publisher of reviews, you will likely ask yourself whether Google considers your content in-depth and well researched. Google provided a series of questions to ask yourself about your content to see if it fits Google’s criteria for high-quality 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?
This list is a pretty good starting point to check your own product reviews.
I recommend also going and looking at other reviews that rank well on Google, which you consider to be original and high-quality. Look at how they have structured the review and identify sections that you should include in your own product reviews. Do some keyword research, see what information people are searching for regarding products, and include that type of information in your own content.
Google has also given us some additional advice regarding product reviews:
- Use the exact product name throughout the review
- Use product structured data
- Use valid and unique Global Trade Item Number (GTINs™)
All of the above advice should give you something to work with when assessing your own product reviews.
Monitor your analytics. If you notice a significant drop in traffic to your product reviews from today, Google has likely deemed your products reviews to be of a low quality. If this is the case, hopefully, you will be able to fix the issues using the tips above.