On April 8, 2021, Google rolled out the Google Product Reviews update, aimed at rewarding product reviews that offer in-depth research and comparison, rather than thin content that only summarizes.
Before we dive any further, it should be noted that this update is not a core update, like the one that was released last December, but it is an important one nevertheless.
For this update, Google is looking at how aligned the content of the site is to its overall objective – in this case, reviews.
Building on Google’s E-A-T guidelines – Expertise, Authority, Trust, product review pages should make sure they are focusing on the following;
- Information from experts/expert knowledge
- Informative content as opposed to ‘sales’ content
- Quality images showing the real product, as opposed to stock photography
- Quantitative information showing how the product performs against similar products
1) Content should be written to inform
We’ve known for a while now that Google is getting smarter at understanding the intent behind content and this latest update develops that even further. From what we can see, the Google Product Reviews update can now identify content designed at pushing affiliate links, even if the content itself is well-written.
For many sites, the review content can include a lot of apparently quality information and seem top quality, but Google can now recognise the difference between content that is written to inform and content that is written for sales.
Review pages that offer more informative content alongside their reviews also perform better. Offering tips on what to look for when buying a particular product is a good example.
It’s worth noting that tables of reviews or comparisons can be used for Featured Snippets so it’s a good idea to have one to try and grab that Position Zero.
2) Structure your page
Probably a no-brainer for most of you, but the page structure needs to be clear if you want the best results.
Keep the review part in one place. Too many review pages are getting penalised because they split their review out, typically with a short intro at the top and then a ‘read more’ style link to take you further down to more information.
This spacing is unnecessary, even if you have a lot of content. While a page might be very substantial, it needs to be substantial in the right places.
Keep each section clear; review, comparison tables, reviews for similar products, etc… – any additional information should be set out in its own area of the page.
The key to structuring your page for the Google Product Reviews update is to remember that review content should always focus on informing the reader first and foremost, and specs, comparisons, and discounts, should always be secondary.
You can help improve your review content by looking at adding:
- A buying guide – be helpful and give your readers objective information so they can make an informed decision
- Product specs – a clearly set out table works beautifully
- Deep review content that covers everything a potential customer might want to know
Google seems to really like the idea of a buying guide being on review pages.
3) It’s not about you
We’ve been saying this for a while now, but no matter how amazing you think your product or service is, you must remember – it’s not about you!
Putting together reviews is the same – quite a few websites add a lot of content focusing on their metrics and the various ways they calculate their reviews. While this is nice background information to have, it doesn’t help the customer make a decision about which product to buy.
Keep your content focused on how you can help the consumer. Comparison tables should be clear and easy to read, content should be about the aspects of the product in relation to similar products, images should highlight the unique features, etc…
Write for the consumer and you’ll find your reviews pages meeting the expectations of the Google Product Reviews update and overall your website will be doing much better.
Google Product Reviews Update
The Google Product Reviews Update may not have been the biggest change that Google has rolled out recently, but it could be a big deal if product reviews are a substantial part of your business.
If you want some help to get your content up to scratch, contact us and let us help you get your reviews content sorted.