Google Product Reviews Update - How To Optimise Your Site.
Friday, August 25, 2023
Earlier this year, Google released another algorithm update, known as the ‘Google Product Reviews update’. This update goes beyond previous updates when Google strictly looked at product reviews. Google’s review system now evaluates all review types, such as services, destinations, media types and more.
So what is different? Hopefully, you are familiar with E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust) in Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines as a means of assessing the quality of web content. Ultimately, Google is looking for brands to:
Showcase their expertise by providing accurate and reliable information
Be seen as an authoritative body by providing high-quality content that is credible.
Establish a sense of trust with their audience.
The latest Google Reviews update has essentially added an additional ‘E’ meaning experience. Google has a larger focus on experience signals within reviews, meaning they must showcase direct knowledge of the product or service in question. You can achieve 'experience' components in reviews by implementing:
Images and visuals
Reliable and authoritative links
Statistics and data
Google is also looking for reviews from reliable sources, whether this be employees with relevant credentials or qualifications or real-life customers who have used your product or service.
So, who does the Product Reviews Update affect?
Any business, no matter the industry, if your website publishes any type of review content, this update is for you. All brands should optimise reviews on their site and ensure they are unique, detailed and stand out from the competition. Later in this article, we’ll showcase some of Google’s guidelines from the update and provide useful tips for creating high-quality reviews.
Why is this important?
The latest product review update will affect how review-based content is indexed and ranked. Google will reward sites that prioritise product reviews that provide customers with more insights so they can make more informed purchasing decisions.
How to generate more high-quality reviews
This Google algorithm update may seem scary, but you can ensure your review-based content complies with the new update guidelines by reviewing your site through a product reviews update lens and implementing the following techniques:
Show your expertise
“Demonstrate that you are knowledgeable about what you are reviewing—show you are an expert.”
It’s crucial to be seen as a trusted expert on the subject you are talking about. People will only take advice from someone online they trust and believe to be qualified enough to give an opinion. Likewise, if you aren’t seen as an expert, consumers may be hesitant to buy your product or service and choose a competitor who is. If you are reviewing a product, you need to convey & convince the reader that you have enough experience using the product or service, which makes the review more accurate, factual and reliable.
Google also says:
“Provide evidence such as visuals, audio, or other links of your own experience with what you are reviewing, to support your expertise and reinforce the authenticity of your review.”
Another way to highlight your expertise is to tell consumers what makes you trustworthy and knowledgeable enough to review. Do you have specific industry experience, qualifications or certifications? If so, you should showcase these. In turn, your reviews will have more weight and credibility and be valued by Google.
The goal of any review is to be helpful. As a business, you should be able to answer queries, solve problems and share insight into particular products or services. Ultimately, you want to provide users and search engines with comprehensive reviews that provide all the information they need to make an informed purchase decision. There are a number of ways you can do this. Google recommends the following:
“Provide detailed and insightful content that goes beyond generic descriptions,”
In this instance, longer informative reviews are beneficial to search engines and consumers. You should avoid just providing a brief summary of your product or service. Spend some time expanding these to provide more useful information.
“Explain what sets something apart from its competitors.”
Every industry is highly competitive to some extent, where brands are providing similar products and services. Avoid getting lost in the crowd by highlighting what differentiates you from competitors. Why should a consumer invest in your product/services over another brand? If your reviews don’t answer this, more work is required.
“Cover comparable things to consider, or explain which might be best for certain uses or circumstances.”
As mentioned above, you need to grasp the consumer and make them feel like the product or service you are offering is perfect for them by catering to their needs, providing what they are looking for or solving a problem. Your reviews should be relatable whilst promoting your product, you can do this by showcasing key selling points and highlighting why your product/service is the best for certain users or situations.
“Describe how a product has evolved from previous models or releases to provide improvements, address issues, or otherwise help users in making a purchase decision.”
When new versions and models of existing products launch, you should highlight how the upgraded new product differs in your reviews. This is beneficial for those consumers upgrading from a post model to the latest version; it also provides a great opportunity to show improvement or advancements.
Reviews should always provide accurate information that is honest and impartial, if you make false claims, you are likely to lose the trust of your consumers. The ultimate goal for reviews is to sell your product or service, however, there is a fine line, and Google does not reward salesy reviews. The more authentic and trustworthy they are, the better they will perform. In this instance, evidence of experience using the product or service is key. Consumers need to understand the physical details of your product and how it performs. Google says you can achieve this by:
“Providing evidence such as visuals, audio, or other links of your own experience with what you are reviewing, to support your expertise and reinforce the authenticity of your review”
Consumers are also searching for balanced reviews to help them make the right decision. Don’t be afraid to showcase the positives and negatives of your offering. Google encourages this by saying:
“Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of something, based on your own original research”
Discussing the drawbacks of your product/ service doesn’t necessarily mean your product is bad. By doing this, you are highlighting there may be a better or alternative choice for the consumer. Consumers value this honesty much more than buying a product that’s been overpromised and doesn’t deliver to their requirements. The best way to achieve this is to say something like: ‘Our product is great for X but may not work as well for Y’ or ‘If you are looking for X, this product is for you, but if you are hoping for Y, choose this product instead. In these cases, you provide users with all the information they need to make their decision.
To summarise, like all Google updates, the product reviews update seeks to provide users with the best result possible & reviews are essential when making big or small purchasing decisions.
In this article, we unpacked a number of tips on how to write high-quality reviews, to find out more, view the full list of Google guidelines. If you need help optimising your site through the lens of the product reviews update, get in touch with us today to rank higher in the SERPs and convert more buyers.