In December 2021, Google announced a new Product Review Update designed to promote high-quality and reliable product reviews. According to Google, this update would take approximately 3 weeks to roll out. So businesses can expect ranking updates around Christmas and the New Year.
This update adds to the guidelines that were shared back in April 2021 by Google.
Here’s what Google Search Central posted on Twitter:
Our December 2021 product reviews update is now rolling out for English-language pages. It will take about three weeks to complete. We have also extended our advice for product review creators: https://t.co/N4rjJWoaqE— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) December 1, 2021
Google introduced this new algorithm update after getting feedback from users on what type of content is deemed to be trustworthy. There are plenty of websites that just have affiliate links to products on different websites and don’t provide any insightful analysis or research.
The aim of this update is to encourage the owners of such websites to improve the quality of the content on their sites by providing in-depth product reviews.
This tweet by Alan Kent tells us which sites can be affected by this algorithm update:
Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products. Think of sites like "best TVs under $200".com. Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.— Alan Kent (@akent99) December 1, 2021
Product Review Guidelines
Guidelines shared in April 2021
Some of the important product review guidelines shared by Google in the April 2021 update were:
- Reviews should display expert knowledge about the product.
- Display how the product is physically and provide information beyond what is provided by the manufacturer.
- Show in quantitative terms how the product measures up in different categories of performance.
- Based on research, show what are the pros and cons of using the product.
- Identify key decision-making factors in the product category and how the product performs on those factors.
Guidelines shared in December 2021
In December 2021, Google added two more criteria to the aforementioned guidelines:
- Provide visuals, audios or links of own experience with the product to support the writer’s expertise.
- Include links to multiple sellers to provide users with multiple options to purchase the product.
Learning from the best
Let us look at a product review of Lenovo Chromebook Duet on PC Mag. PC Mag is one of the most widely followed product review sites in 2021. They ranked on the first page of Google for this Chromebook’s review, so they must be doing something right, right?
It’s great to go through the blog and see how the writer has adhered to each of the guidelines:
Guideline 1 & 2: The review should display expert knowledge about the product and should provide information beyond what is provided by the manufacturer.
The 1500+ words article talks about the battery life, performance, size, display etc of the product. Not only this, but the writer also compares the tablet with two other competitors available in the same price range.
Guideline 3: Show in quantitative terms how the product measures up in different categories of performance.
Eric Grevstad, the author of the product review has conducted an in-depth analysis of the tablet and through various graphs, such as the one below shows how the product performs in the category as compared to its competitors.
Guideline 4: Based on research, show the pros and cons of using the product.
Based on his research, the author summarizes the pros and cons of the product and displays them at the beginning of the article.
Guideline 5: Identify key decision-making criteria and show how the product performs in those criteria.
As shown above, the author selects important criteria like battery life, display, processor performance etc and shows how the Lenovo Chromebook Duet performs on each of these.
Guideline 6 (Google’s Product Review Update 2021): Provide visuals, audios or links of own experience with the product to support the writer’s expertise.
Throughout the article, you’ll find pictures and visuals of the author’s own experience with the Chromebook. He also provides results of the tests that he ran to measure the performance of the tablet compared to others.
Guideline 7 (Google’s Product Review Update 2021): Provide links to multiple sellers
PC Mag provides links to multiple sources – Lenovo and Amazon in this case. The reader can select any of these to purchase the product.
It’s evident that one of the top-ranking websites on Google adheres to all of the guidelines laid down by Google in its Product Review Update. If you have a product review website then you should definitely look at any of the top-ranking websites in your niche and I’m sure you’ll see a similar structure in their articles.
Want to stay up-to-date with the latest Google Algorithm updates or check if your website has been affected by them?
Check out our SERP Volatility Monitor.