The April 2023 reviews update that began on April 12, 2023, has finished rolling out, and here is what we have learned so far.
The rollout took 13 days to complete and expanded its impact to include products, services, destinations, games, movies, and other topics.
Google has stated that,
The reviews system aims to better reward high quality reviews, which is content that provides insightful analysis and original research and is written by experts or enthusiasts who know the topic well.
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.
The reviews system operates on a page-by-page basis but may shift to a site-wide assessment if the primary focus of the website is review content.
The Impact of the April 2023 Update
As reported by Google tracking tools, there was minimal volatility in Google’s results pages at the beginning of the rollout.
However, there were high fluctuations reported in the last few days of the rollout.
Google’s Advice for Review Content
Google has released documentation detailing how to write review content that will rank well on its results pages.
Here is the list of Google’s best practices:
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.
Google also mentions that if someone finds an affiliate review useful and follows the associated link to purchase, the creator of the review will be rewarded by the seller.
The Reviews Update is Completed – Now What?
Websites should review their content and assess their performance.
It is important to pinpoint which keywords and webpages were affected by the update to assess whether decreases in traffic are linked to affected web pages that feature reviews.
If you do not notice any changes, it may be beneficial to get a fresh set of eyes to analyze your review content and assess your site’s performance.
Finally, make sure that you are following Google’s guidelines for writing high-quality reviews to give yourself the best chance to rank high on its results pages.
Since the reviews system does not continually update the algorithm, affected sites that make changes to their review content will not see an improvement in their rank until the next update.