The Google Product Reviews update went live on the 8th of April 2021. The update is designed to improve search results quality by boosting sites that provide product reviews with extensive research.
It is important to note that this is not a core update, however, the wide-reaching effects for businesses operating in the e-commerce sector is likely to be significant. At this stage, the update is only targeted at English-language sites. It is expected that other languages will follow in the coming months, however, there has been no confirmation from Google at this early stage.
Google announced that the purpose of the update was to improve the user experience by improving the visibility of sites that provide an enhanced on-site experience around product reviews.
“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.”
I Can See the Impact of the Product Reviews Update – What Now?
If your product pages are all over the place, give the update a few days to settle down before making any significant changes. If you noticed large fluctuations to your site traffic around April 8th, it is likely that your website was impacted by the changes.
Once the results have settled, here are some things that you can focus on improving on your product pages.
- Take high-quality, original photos of the product that you are selling – try to avoid using stock or manufacturer images where possible
- Provide accurate product dimensions and measurements. Again, take your own measurements and do not rely on the dimensions provided by the manufacturer
- Provide context around how this product compares to other products in your range. If the shoe size is notoriously small or large, then provide a key that advises users to order half a size up or down.
- Competitor comparisons – how does your product compare to competitors?
- Features and benefits of your product against other products in the market
- Provide context around who this product would be suitable for and how it compares to other options in the market.
- Describe the key choices in how a product has been designed and how this will affect the user experience
For large e-commerce websites, implementing these kinds of changes will be extremely difficult. That being said, Google will continue to embrace changes that provide the best user experience. Use this update as an opportunity to review your online strategy and make sure that you are providing the best possible experience for your users.
What to Do If You’ve Been Negatively Affected by the Product Reviews Update
If you are one of the thousands of e-commerce site owners or managers that have woken up to significant fluctuations in your search results, don’t panic just yet. Google is notorious for rolling out significant updates and then recanting or reeling in the impact of those updates. This is not to say that the Google product reviews update will be changed or reviewed, more to warn that the biggest effects are usually experienced in the first few days.
If your website has been dramatically affected, speak to an SEO consultant or SEO agency that can provide you with advice.