Use Original Photos to Reap SEO Benefits of Product Reviews

2 min read

During Google’s Office-hours Hangout session on February 4, 2022, John Mueller from Google provided valuable insights on leveraging the benefits of the Google Product Reviews Algorithm Update, which had been finalized the previous year. John’s advice centered on incorporating original images when posting product reviews on your website. This guidance was in response to a viewer’s query about whether using edited versions of existing photos had any advantages or if using authentic, original photographs exclusively was preferable.

Google recommends using Unique Photos

The Google Product Reviews Algorithm Update implemented not too long ago, focuses on recognizing and promoting product reviews that provide in-depth, firsthand research from the content creator. During the discussion, a viewer inquired whether modifying existing online images would suffice for Google to consider them as unique content for product reviews or if the reviewer should have uploaded their original photographs. In response, John explained that Google cannot distinguish between edited and authentic images. However, he emphasized that such details would be considered during manual evaluations conducted by Google’s Quality Rater Team for product reviews. Here’s his response:

“I think the guidelines that we have for reviews, or the recommendations that we have, should really be focused on unique photos that you create of these products, so not artificial review photos. I don’t think our systems would automatically recognize that, but it’s probably something that we would look at, at least on a manual basis, from time to time.

So looking at the recommendations that we have, with regards to reviews, it feels like it’s not really in line with what we’re trying to do there, where we’re trying to really bubble up reviews, where we can tell that someone is actually testing this product in real life.”

Stock Photos vs. Original Photos: Key Takeaway

The most effective approach to benefit from Google’s Product Reviews Algorithm Update is by featuring reviews authored by individuals who have personally tested the product. In this regard, including original photographs in your thoughts is highly advisable. However, Google cannot distinguish between authentic and edited images, so achieving website rankings for product reviews accompanied by stock photos is technically possible. Nevertheless, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should follow suit. It’s prudent to adhere to Google’s recommendations, as they represent your best course of action. The landscape of product reviews may evolve in unpredictable ways, potentially rendering thoughts with stock photos less competitive than those with authentic images. For a comprehensive understanding, you can view John Mueller’s complete response to the question starting at the 52:50 minute mark, and consider staying tuned for additional valuable insights throughout the discussion.

Source: Search Engine Journal