Google has released the April 2023 Reviews Update, following the implementation of the March Broad Core Update.
The update now covers reviews of various kinds; including those about products, services, and other things.
It’s worth noting that the word “Product” has been removed from the name to reflect this change.
Google Search Central released a statement on Twitter about it:
Today we released the March 2023 core update. We’ll update our ranking release history page when the rollout is complete: https://t.co/sQ5COfdNcb
— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) April 12, 2023
Google’s updated documentation on the reviews system indicates that the system now encompasses more than just product reviews, and has been renamed from ‘product reviews’ to simply ‘reviews’.
Google’s documentation explains how the reviews system works:
“The reviews system works to ensure that people see reviews that share in-depth research, rather than thin content that simply summarizes a bunch of products, services or other things.
The reviews system is designed to evaluate articles, blog posts, pages or similar first-party standalone content written with the purpose of providing a recommendation, giving an opinion, or providing analysis. It does not evaluate third-party reviews, such as those posted by users in the reviews section of a product or services page.”
According to Google, reviews can cover one specific thing, compare multiple items, or provide a ranked list of recommendations.
They can be about any topic, including products (e.g. phones, makeup), media (e.g. tv shows, video games), or services/businesses (e.g. cafes, clothing brands).
The system update will affect the following languages worldwide: English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Russian, Dutch, Portuguese, and Polish.
This means that the update can affect any review content in the mentioned languages, regardless of the country.
The Impact of the Update on Website Rank
It will be interesting to see how websites that have reviews unrelated to products will be affected.
Google’s review system will now evaluate them, which may cause substantial fluctuations in their rank.
The system mainly evaluates content on a per-page basis.
If a website has only a few reviews, it is unlikely to receive a site-wide evaluation.
However, if a website has numerous reviews, then the system may evaluate any content on that website.
Google’s algorithm updates usually take 2 days to completely roll and that is when websites may observe changes, if any, in volatility.
As of now, algorithm monitoring tools, such as RankRanger and Ahrefs are reporting minimal rank risk.
RankRanger reports minimal rank fluctuations since the update:
Keep an eye out for upcoming posts that will discuss how this update affects SEO.
For better visibility of your review pages on Google Search and other Google platforms, Google recommends using these methods;
Evaluate from a user’s perspective.
Demonstrate that you are knowledgeable about what you are reviewing—show you are an expert.
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.
Share quantitative measurements about how something measures up in various categories of performance.
Explain what sets something apart from its competitors.
Cover comparable things to consider, or explain which might be best for certain uses or circumstances.
Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of something, based on your own original research.
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.
Focus on the most important decision-making factors, based on your experience or expertise (for example, a car review might determine that fuel economy and safety are key decision-making factors and rate performance in those areas).
Describe key choices in how a product has been designed and their effect on the users beyond what the manufacturer says.
Include links to other useful resources (your own or from other sites) to help a reader make a decision.
Consider including links to multiple sellers to give the reader the option to purchase from their merchant of choice.
When recommending something as the best overall or the best for a certain purpose, include why you consider it the best, with first-hand supporting evidence.
Ensure there is enough useful content in your ranked lists for them to stand on their own, even if you choose to write separate in-depth single reviews.
Stay tuned for more posts on the effects of the reviews system update.