Google revealed its sixth product reviews update on February 21, 2023. The product reviews system update took 14 days to fully roll out and wrapped up on March 7. It fine-tunes the way Google ranks and displays product quality reviews on search engine results pages (SERPs), providing users with more helpful and trustworthy product quality reviews.
As the latest Google algorithm updates continue to disrupt the search engine optimization (SEO) world, businesses must stay abreast of the latest changes to remain competitive. In this article, we explore the latest Google product reviews update, its impact on search rankings and how businesses can quickly adapt to these developments.
First, What Are Google Algorithm Updates?
“What are Google algorithm updates?” is a question businesses commonly ask.
Search engines evolve rapidly to deliver better user experiences or accommodate industry trends. Google search engine algorithm updates are typically focused on E-A-T or Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. These Google search engine algorithm updates can cause rankings to shift, leaving a huge impact on your website’s traffic.
As the list of Google algorithm updates continues to grow, brands must keep a close eye on these changes and be prepared to fine-tune their strategies accordingly.
What Is the Products Review Update, and How Does It Work?
Google product reviews update was first launched in April 2021, not as a core update but as an ongoing effort to improve product reviews in search results. Since then, Google has launched several product reviews system updates.
Below is the list of Google algorithm updates focusing on product review content:
Google’s product reviews system is designed to prioritize product reviews that feature detailed and insightful analysis rather than thin, templated content that simply “summarizes a bunch of products.”
Unlike past Google search algorithm updates, this product reviews update is more extensive. It impacts more languages, namely:
Keeping a close eye on the growing list of Google algorithm updates is essential to succeed online. A skilled SEO team can help assess your site, conduct a Google search ranking check and develop product review strategies aligning with Google updates 2023.
Guidelines for Creating High-Quality Google Product Reviews
• Google product reviews must demonstrate the reviewer’s expertise by providing first-hand supporting evidence in the form of visuals, audio or links.
• Quantitative measurements must be used to show how the product performs in various categories of performance.
• The product’s unique value propositions must be thoroughly explained.
• Quality and originality of Google product reviews are more important than their length.
The product reviews system primarily assesses product feedback on a page-level basis. But a site-wide evaluation may be required for websites featuring a significant volume of product review content.
However, the Google product reviews update is not only limited to the content of the reviews themselves. The latest Google algorithm updates also factor in the overall quality and trustworthiness of the websites hosting the reviews. This means that product reviews on websites with original, valuable and credible content are more likely to rank higher on SERPs.
That said, the latest Google algorithm updates will not directly penalize lower-quality product reviews with thin content. Technically, it’s just rewarding sites with more insightful reviews. But if your rankings drop because Google algorithm updates favor your competitors’ product reviews, the impact will almost feel like a penalty.
Measuring the Volatility Caused by Google Product Reviews Algorithm Update
The Google product reviews update was found to be extremely impactful, causing a lot of volatility in search rankings from February to early March.
“Right now, it’s still impossible to determine the difference between the past and the recent updates. But one thing is certain: the February 2023 update was more volatile than the July 2022 and September 2022 update. It impacted a lot of rankings, especially in the first ten results,” said Ronnel Viloria, Lead SEO Strategist at Thrive Internet Marketing Agency.
According to Mordy Obersterin from Semrush and Wix, the February 2023 update resulted in a volatility increase that was 156% more significant than the July 2022 Google algorithm updates based on U.S. desktop search data.
The Semrush Sensor’s scale showed that volatility rose to a 2.7 from a 1.8 baseline prior to the July 2022 update. On the other hand, the February 2023 Google algorithm updates had a baseline of 3.1 which went up to 5.4.
Semrush data revealed significant keyword ranking changes in various industries following Google updates 2023. For example, Beauty and Fitness, Shopping and Hobbies and Leisure witnessed a 6.7%, 7.3% and 6.8% increase, respectively, in URLs moving up to the top 10 search results from not ranking in the top 20.
To ensure your website is optimized for any product reviews algorithm update, always consult Google’s product reviews guidelines. Google also notes that using structured data may help its crawler better identify product reviews and index websites.
Tips for Generating More High-Quality Reviews
Google algorithm updates are done to boost the accuracy and relevance of search results. Businesses that rely on SEO to drive traffic to their websites need to be vigilant about Google updates 2023 and quickly adjust their strategy as needed.
To stay on top of the latest Google search algorithm updates, website owners should ensure that their product reviews provide clear, detailed and credible information.
Here are a few ways to get more high-quality product reviews:
1. Offer Rewards in Exchange for Reviews
Nearly 73% of consumers say they’d be driven to write a review if they were offered an incentive (Power Reviews).
You can provide free products, early access to a product, exclusive discounts, loyalty points or free shipping vouchers. By giving free or discounted shipping to customers, you get to increase product content and customer loyalty.
2. Send Personalized Post Purchase Emails
Ideally, you’ll want customers to leave product reviews voluntarily. But in reality, most consumers need a gentle reminder in the form of a post purchase email.
A well-timed, personalized thank you email can make customers trust your brand even more. Try different engaging titles or headlines and optimize the design of your post-purchase emails to grab the recipient’s attention and encourage them to leave a review.
3. Optimize Review Forms for Mobile
In 2022, over 60% of the global internet population used a mobile device to go online (Statista). Taking advantage of mobile traffic is one way to generate more product reviews.
Product review forms must be fully responsive on any computer, tablet, or smartphone to ensure that customers won’t simply leave due to inconvenience.
4. Collect Image and Video Reviews
The latest Google product review update favors reviews that include “visuals, audio, or other links of your own experience with the product” to support the reviewer’s expertise and prove the authenticity of the review.
According to a new study by Intent Lab, the majority of consumers put more importance on visual information than text information when shopping.
As more people prefer reviews with images, allowing reviewers to submit photos and videos not only increases your unique content. It also helps reinforce customer trust and boost conversion rates.
5. Share Reviews on Social Media Channels
Social media platforms are some of the best places to share customer feedback.
You can either repost customer testimonials or create engaging posts that highlight a direct quote. This shows customers that you value their opinions. At the same time, being transparent is a great way to earn the trust of ideal prospects.
Sharing customer reviews on social media proves your brand’s credibility and nudges other customers to leave their own reviews.
6. Use Structured Data Markup
Implementing schema markup helps search engines better understand the context and meaning of the review. Structured data identifies specific details, such as product name, price and review rating. This enables search engines to easily crawl and index the content.
Let Thrive Help Position Your Brand in Front of the Right Audience
Consumers rely on product reviews to make well-informed purchase decisions. By increasing the quantity and quality of your product reviews, you’re setting your business up for higher search rankings and sustainable success.
Let Thrive help you survive Google search engine algorithm updates and stay ahead of the competition. We can perform an in-depth site audit and Google search ranking check to formulate the best approach for your SEO. Our full suite of SEO solutions include keyword research, link building, content creation, on-page and off-page optimization and local SEO services.
Meanwhile, our sister company Rize Reviews provides review generation and monitoring services to strengthen your company’s visibility and online reputation.
Contact us to learn how Thrive’s content creation and local SEO services can help you quickly adapt to Google search algorithm updates.