In April 2021, Google announced a products review update for Google Search focused on rewarding in-depth research. They stated that the update’s
overall focus is on providing users with content that provides insightful analysis and original research, and is written by experts or enthusiasts who know the topic well. Coupled with the announcement was a list of guidance for reviewers to consider.
Initial reviews guidance from Google
- Communicate expertise as it relates to the product being reviewed.
- Help the reader better understand what the product is like in real life through pictures and video.
- When relevant, include comparison and performance data to help the reader understand a product’s unique value in the marketplace.
- Include detailed information about the pros and cons of the product and how it may have improved over time.
- Provide key decision-making criteria for why someone might want this product versus a competing product.
A second reviews update
Later in December 2021, Google announced another update to their ranking systems for reviews. They stated,
if you have made positive changes to your content, you may see that improvement reflected as part of this latest release. They also provided two new best practices that would take effect in a future update.
The first best practice was a carryover from the April 2021 announcement. They recommended using unique audio, video, and links to support expertise and reinforce authenticity.
The second best practice was new. Google suggested that reviewers list and link to multiple merchants to provide purchasing choices to readers. For affiliate marketers, it means they’ll need to have a relationship with competing merchants to fulfill the new best practice signal from Google.
The March 2022 Google product reviews update
In late March 2022, Google announced another significant update to its product reviews ranking systems. They stated the new update
builds on [the past year’s] work to enhance [its] ability to identify high-quality product reviews. They also answered a few frequently asked questions about the review updates in the announcement.
- Product review updates apply to all forms of review content, including ranked lists and comparison reviews.
- Reviews stating a product is the best should include supporting first-hand evidence.
- Reviews that include multiple products should also consider publishing individual reviews for each product.
The latest reviews update is expected to roll out over three weeks. Google also mentioned that the update only affects the English-language ecosystem, but they plan to apply it to other languages.