What’s the impact of the Google Product Review Update on your Local SEO?

A few months ago Google announced the implementation of the “Google Product Review Update”. Even though the name of this update does not sound so catchy, it is still worth investigating since it might impact your local SEO or simply your local digital visibility. We collected and summarized everything you need to know on this update. Read all about it in the article below and discover how to apply this feature to advantage your local digital marketing.
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The impact of the Google Product Review Update on your Local SEO

What is The Google Product Review Update? 

The Google Product Review Update rewards websites that share detailed product content created by companies.  This is in contrast to displaying a brief overview of products with links to affiliate websites (source: Linchpin seo). In order to impact your online position, product reviews should therefore be nuanced and substantially detailed in nature (source: SearchEngineJournal). Additionally, with this update, Google Search will prioritize product reviews written by experts or enthusiasts who know the topic well (source: SearchEngineJournal). This type of content should not be confused with reviews left by clients. Nonetheless, this type of content is essential to improve your visibility on multiple platforms as well. 

For now this update only applies to English content, however it should be rolled out globally in the coming months (source: Linchpin seo). 

Google Product Review: an example 

But how does this update work out in practice? Take for example these two reviews on a face wash (source: SearchEngineJournal): 

  • Example 1: MedicalNewsToday
  • Example 2: Today 
2 today product review
Source: Today

Even though both websites seem to apply a similar structure, the first example receives a higher keyword ranking. This means they have a higher chance to be shown in the Google search results of a potential customer. But why is that? The example of MedicalNewsToday includes a combination of a product review including a buying guide:

This information is helpful for clients to facilitate their purchase. Furthermore, it might enrich your ranking because product reviews on its own are not the only thing that causes your website to rank higher.

2. Is my website impacted by the Google Product Review Update? 

If you do not publish product reviews on your website, you should not be impacted. However, if you have the possibility to add this type of content it is worth investigating. 

Of course, websites that do publish product reviews should carefully monitor fluctuations in (organic) traffic and rankings (Source: SearchEngineJournal). Additionally, you can observe the evolution in your impressions. However, Google is not fully transparent on their algorithm.

Nonetheless, when researching the impact, it should not always be a page versus page comparison.You should review your overall website from a quality and relevance point of view. Google has indicated multiple times that you need to improve your overall website in order to see a positive impact after a core update. This advice also applies to the product review update.

3. How to write a Google Product Review: best practices 

According to Google you should consider the following questions when creating product reviews (source: Google Search Central & SearchEngine Journal ).

  • Does it express expert knowledge about products? 
  • Does the article show what the product looks like, how it is used, combined with unique information  beyond what’s provided by the manufacturer?
  • Does it provide quantitative measurements about how a product measures up in various categories of performance?
  • Does it cover the unique selling points of the product? 
  • Does it cover similar products and/or explains which products might be best for specific circumstances?
  • Does it talk about benefits vs. disadvantages?
  • Does it indicate how a product has evolved from previous models? 
  • Does it showcase product keypoints, the added value for the product’s category and how the product performs in those areas? 
  • Does the article cover key choices on the product design and their impact on the user beyond what the manufacturer says?

Add Products to your Google Business Profile Listings  

As previously mentioned, product reviews alone are not the only thing that impacts your visibility on Google.  In order to improve your digital presence, it is also essential to keep your Google Business Profile Listings as complete as possible. For example, by adding Google products to your locations combined with a CTA to your website/ store locator, you have the possibility to boost your in-store visits and your e-commerce.  A Google product title counts a maximum of 58 characters, the description has a maximum of 1000 characters (both with spaces included). 

pizza hut products review GBP
Source: Google

In conclusion…

In sum, the Google product review update aims to favor content that is above and beyond much of the templated information online. Google will not directly punish product reviews that contain “thin content that is a summary of products”. However websites that provide rich product reviews will be rewarded with more visibility above websites who offer a mere product description. This aligns with Google’s golden rule in terms of online visibility: “the more information you add the better”. 

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