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Potential Impact of the Google Review Update of April 2021

On April 8, 2021, Perry Liu, a Google software engineer, and Danny Sulivan, Google search public liaison, published some new guidance on an update that affected English language product reviews, rewarding reviews that share in-depth research rather than those that simply summarize a “bunch of products”. If you run an eCommerce store, you’ll want to pay close attention.

Why Google Rolled Out the Review Update

The authors said that Google rolled this update out to reward product reviews that include unique, insightful content. This is not a core update. The focus of the update is to reward sites that hire experts or enthusiasts with a great deal of topic knowledge to write reviews that utilize original research and analysis that will be perceived as insightful by users.

What is Different About the Review Update

If you are writing or updating a product review (on a product page or a blog post) Google has outlined the ways to get your review ranking higher:

  • Show your expertise and demonstrate a knowledge of the product.
  • Take photos of the product to show what it physically looks like, or videos that are unique and provide more insight than photos and videos provided by the manufacturer.
  • Create some type of comparison or grid with quantitative measurements about product performance. Try to do your own analysis.
  • Have a product comparison tab or chart that shows how each product differs from its competitors.
  • Have a section that details other products that the user may want to consider. Make sure to explain why certain products are better in various situations.
  • In your comparison section outline the research you used to show the product’s benefits and drawbacks.
  • If the product is a new release of a previous product, make sure to include a section that describes what is new or different about the new release. Make sure when you are doing this that your content helps users decide which product to purchase.
  • Based on the category the product is in, make sure to tag factors that will help a user make a purchase decision such as price, durability, performance, size, safety, etc.
  • Add to the manufacturer’s description by highlighting product design features that set it apart for certain users.

Potential Impact of the Google Review Update

It’s expensive to run and market an eCommerce website, Amazon store, or other online buying platforms. As with every new algorithm change, this may be a very good time to rewrite outdated content, redesign product pages to include more in-depth analysis, and hire some experts in areas where you sell products to lend more of an EAT factor to your product reviews.

Who Will Benefit from the Google Review Update?

Unfortunately for many large eCommerce sites, changing a product page layout and updating the content for thousands of products can take months and cost thousands of dollars. Sites that can pivot quickly to new layouts and have the staff or budget to hire expert writers and product testing specialists will benefit quickly and may squeeze out market share. On the other hand, sites that specialize in certain types of products and already have expert content that can be quickly modified may be able to hold onto market share. Very specific product categories may also benefit from this update since more detailed product comparisons can be written.

Make sure to test your product pages and review pages so that they load fast and meet all Google’s development guidelines because the upcoming May core algorithm update will certainly tighten these parameters. Contact Boomtown Internet Group to learn more about the Google Review Update, the May Core Update, and how to pivot your site in response to increase your traffic and conversions.