Google Releases March 2022 Product Ratings Update With Additional Ranking Criteria

Google has begun rolling out the third version of the Product Reviews Update, a search ranking algorithm update aimed at ranking content related to product reviews across the web that is most useful and the most useful for researchers. The first product review update was released on April 8, 2021, the second was released on December 1, 2021, and now the third was released on March 23, 2022. The new one is named the Product Reviews Update. March 2022 products.

Updated Google product reviews. The Google Product Reviews Update aims to promote review content that goes beyond much of the modeled information you see on the web. Google said it would promote these types of product reviews in its search results rankings.

Google doesn’t directly punish substandard product reviews that have “thin content that just sums up a bunch of products.” However, if you provide such content and your ranking is downgraded because other content is promoted above yours, it will certainly feel like a penalty. Technically, according to Google, this is not a penalty against your content, Google simply rewards sites with more insightful review content with higher rankings than yours.

Technically, this update should only impact product review content and not other types of content.

What has changed. Along with the third product review update release, Google said this update “builds” on the work of the first two product review updates to improve Google’s “ability to identify high-quality product reviews”. “This will make it easier for us to get sound shopping advice in front of users and reward creators who are serious about helping them,” Google’s Alan Kent added.

Google has listed the following criteria for what matters with product rating updates:

  • Include useful in-depth details, such as the pros or cons of a certain item, details about a product’s performance, or how the product differs from previous versions
  • Come from people who have actually used the products and show what the product physically looks like or how it is used
  • Include unique information beyond what the manufacturer provides, such as visuals, audio, or links to other content detailing the reviewer’s experience
  • Cover comparable products or explain what sets a product apart from its competitors

The deployment. This rollout will take place over the “next few weeks,” Google said. These, and core updates, normally take a few weeks to roll out, so that shouldn’t come as a surprise. You should expect most of the ranking volatility to occur in the early stages of this rollout.

What is touched. Google said this update could impact those who “create product reviews in any language.” Google said the initial rollout would be “English product reviews,” but they’ve seen “positive effects” from this update in the past and the search firm “plans to open up support for reviews.” products for more languages” in the future.

Initially, Google said this update looked at “English product reviews on many sites.”

Please note that these updates can be very large, almost as large as core updates.

Previous advice on updating product reviews. “The overall goal is to provide users with content that provides insightful analysis and original research, content written by experts or enthusiasts who know the subject well,” Google said of this update. It’s similar advice to the basic update recommendations mentioned above, but here’s a list of “additional helpful questions to consider in terms of product reviews.” Google recommends that your product reviews cover these areas and answer these questions. Do your product reviews…

  • Express specialized product knowledge, if applicable?
  • Show what the product looks like physically, or how it is used, with unique content beyond what is provided by the manufacturer?
  • Provide quantitative measures of how a product measures up in various performance categories?
  • Explain what distinguishes a product from its competitors?
  • Cover comparable products to consider, or explain which products might be best for certain uses or circumstances?
  • Discuss the pros and cons of a particular product, based on research about it?
  • Describe how a product has evolved from previous models or versions to make improvements, solve problems, or help users make a purchasing decision?
  • Identify the key decision factors for the product category and how the product performs in these areas? For example, a review of the car might determine that fuel economy, safety, and handling are key decision-making factors and assess performance in those areas.
  • Describe key choices in how a product was designed and their effect on users beyond what the manufacturer says?
  • Provide evidence such as visuals, audio, or other links of your own experience with the product, to support your expertise and bolster the authenticity of your review.
  • Include links to multiple sellers to give the reader the option to buy from the merchant of their choice.

Google also linked to its blog post from earlier this year named providing better product information to shoppers.

New tips. Google has added three new tip points for this third version of the product reviews update:

  • Are product review updates relevant to ranked listings and comparative reviews? Yes. Updates to product reviews apply to all forms of review content. The best practices we shared also apply. However, due to the shorter nature of ranked listings, you may want to demonstrate your expertise and build authenticity in a more concise way. Citing relevant results and including original images of tests you’ve done with the product can be a good way to do this.
  • Are there any recommendations for reviewers recommending the “best” products? If you recommend a product as the best overall or the best for a certain purpose, be sure to share with the reader why you consider that product the best. What sets the product apart from others on the market? Why is the product particularly suitable for the recommended use? Be sure to include supporting first-hand evidence.
  • If I create a review that covers multiple products, do I still need to create reviews for the products individually? It can be effective to write a high-quality, ranked list of related products in combination with in-depth single product reviews for each recommended product. If you write both, make sure there is enough useful content in the ranked list to stand on its own.

Not a basic update. Google has also previously stated that product review updates are not the same as core updates. This is a standalone update which they call the Product Reviews Update. This is separate from Google’s regular core updates, the company told us. Nonetheless, Google added that the advice it originally planned for core updates, “on producing quality content for these is also relevant here.” In addition to these tips, Google has provided additional tips specific to this update.

Why we care. If your website has product review content, you’ll want to check your rankings to see if you’ve been hit. Has your organic Google traffic improved, decreased, or stayed the same?

In the long run, you’ll want to make sure that in the future, you put a lot more detail and effort into your product review content so that it’s unique and stands out from the competition on the web.

Also, those who were impacted by previous Core Updates, who got the job done, can be rewarded with this March 2022 Product Reviews Update.


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About the Author

Barry Schwartz is editor of Search Engine Land and a member of the SMX events programming team. He owns RustyBrick, a New York-based web consulting company. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry’s personal blog is called Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here.

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