Google has announced that an English language Product review Update will be rolled out in December 2021. All product review pages that have made positive changes to their content since the last update may see the improvements reflected in the new one.
The update started rolling out on December 1, 2021, at about 12:30 pm ET and is expected to complete within three weeks. It is stated that currently, the update will only impact the English-language websites. Google hasn’t provided any information if this update could affect any other languages in the near future.
The update, called the December 2021 Product Review Update, aims towards enhancing the quality and functionality of reviews shown to the users. It shall serve as a ranking signal which will reward sites with genuine and high-quality reviews.
The December 2021 Product Review Update also anticipates some additional improvements for the analysis of product review pages. Before this update, a Spam Update was released in early November, and a Core Algorithm Update rolled out at the end of the month.
Google has left many individuals astonished by releasing back-to-back updates. Some may deem it mistimed or even worthwhile for Google to publish product review updates in a busy shopping season, however, so far, these haven’t been troublesome.
Yet, it would be quite unfortunate for sites to unintentionally lose rankings at this crucial time of the year.
Here’s the official announcement from Google Search Central:
“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”
Alan Kent, Google Developer Advocate, made a tweet which says:
“It is one of many ranking signals, but certainly the goal is to reward authentic high quality reviews. The docs page lists our recommendations for good reviews.”
Apart from this, Kent also tweeted the clarification of what kinds of sites will be affected by the December Product Review 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.”
Best Practices for New Product Review Update
In addition to announcing the December update, Google has also given an advanced warning that two new product review requirements, also referred to as best practices, will be introduced. These requirements are aimed at fake or fraudulent product reviews. The two best practices are as follows-
- A product review should provide on-page proof that the product has been handled and reviewed. Most of the substandard reviews are fake ones posted by affiliate sites which are quite similar to product specifications.
- A product review should offer multiple purchase options.
The Product Review Update Stated:
“Users have told us that they trust reviews with evidence of products actually being tested, and prefer to have more options to purchase the product.
Provide evidence such as visuals, audio, or other links of your own experience with the product, to support your expertise and reinforce the authenticity of your review.
Include links to multiple sellers to give the reader the option to purchase from their merchant of choice.”
Although Google didn’t label these best practices as ranking factors, they’ll be folded into a future product reviews update. Therefore, one may consider these two requirements as ranking factors. Below we’ve outlined some important points from Google’s guidelines on how to write high-quality reviews to prepare websites for the December 2021 Product Reviews Update. Let’s have a look-
- A product review should be written from a user’s perspective.
- When writing a review, you must incorporate some photos, audio, videos or links as evidence that demonstrate your experience with the product.
- A review should highlight the USPs of the product that makes it stand out from the crowd.
- Include the benefits and the drawbacks of the product for which the review is to be written. This assists in indicating to Google that the review is authentic and based on the user’s experience and research.
- A product reviewer is required to give links to various sellers. This facilitates the user to make a choice between merchants who offer the products.
People who run a website that writes product reviews are most likely to be affected by the December 2021 Product Review Update. A positive or negative impact on your rankings would depend on the quality of the reviews posted. And, as Google is getting smarter at tracking down spammy reviews, you need to adhere to the guidelines and post carefully as per requirements.
We’d recommend you to go through Google’s official documentation & guidelines thoroughly, and concentrate on providing genuine reviews for your clients or customers. As the update will be rolled out in three weeks, you still have time to improve the quality of your reviews. We’ll keep you updated as and when any new information about the algorithm update is released. Till then, keep following this space!
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