Google is on a roll (out). Google Helpful Content Update August 2022 finished rolling out earlier this month on September 9. Google September 2022 Core Update started rolling out on 12 September and is yet to finish its course. And yesterday Google announced the rollout of yet another update: September 2022 Product Reviews Update. That makes it 3 major updates, all within a span of roughly 20 days, so to speak. The latest is the fifth update of the series of Product Review Update aimed to tackle low-quality product reviews on English-language websites. The same was announced by Google Search Central in a tweet and updated in its developer blog Google Search Ranking Updates yesterday. The update could take upto 2 weeks to finish rolling out, and the same will be updated in due time. Although its rollout was hinted upon last month, with the release of two other subsequent major updates, one had very conveniently forgotten all about it, somewhat. The last Product Reviews Update concluded on 2 August, 2022. Not that far into the past, is it now?
Today we released the September 2022 product reviews update for English-language product reviews. We'll update our ranking release history page when the rollout is complete: https://t.co/sQ5COfdNcb
— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) September 20, 2022
What is Product Reviews Update?
Official documentation on Google Search Central Blog 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.”
While it is different from Core Updates, the focus should still be on producing high quality content in the form of reviews on your website for your products. The reviews you publish should allow visitors to make an informed decision by providing them insightful analysis and original research. It should be written by experts or enthusiasts who understand the topic well.
Are Product Reviews Update and Helpful Content Update interconnected?
While Google didn’t give away any new information or guidance on September 2022 Product Reviews Update, it wouldn’t be outright outrageous to assume that the Helpful Content Update might have a role to play in how the latest Product Reviews Update impacts your website. It’s because Google clearly stated, “Sites identified by this update may find the signal applied to them over a period of months. Our classifier for this update runs continuously, allowing it to monitor newly-launched sites and existing ones. As it determines that the unhelpful content has not returned in the long-term, the classification will no longer apply.”
This could mean that the ranking signal introduced with Helpful Content Update is likely to get stronger with Product Reviews Update and websites that are found guilty of harbouring unhelpful content (read reviews) written primarily for search engines. And this could very well lead to your website showing greater fluctuations during the update and possibly lose it current SERP standings and traffic. It is also a possibility that websites that didn’t feel the tremors during the last four product reviews updates might not be so lucky this time around. However, all this is just conjecture at this moment and the actual impact might still be different than what the experts suggest. We wait; we watch.
What is Google’s advice for creators regarding September 2022 Product Reviews Update?
While this is not new, the advice remains the same. Create high-quality reviews keeping in mind, including but not limited to:
- User’s perspective
- Demonstrating expertise
- Audio-Visual evidence or references through links
- USP of the product
- Quantitative and qualitative comparisons with competitors’ products
- Highlighting benefits but also drawbacks
For a full-length article on tips on writing high-quality product reviews, refer to Google’s official blog on the same. Meanwhile, watch this space for more. We will update you when the September 2022 Product Reviews Update finishes rollout, and will continue to update as and when there is an interesting discussion ripening around it. Stay tuned.