Image source: Unsplash
Google announced on 12 April that it had released the April 2023 reviews update, “which now covers reviews about products, services, and things”.
In a post in the What’s New section on Search Central, Google elaborates how the reviews system now works. Reviews can be about a single topic, be comparisons or lists of recommendations. They can be about any topic.
“There can be reviews of products such as laptops or winter jackets, pieces of media such as movies or video games, or services and businesses such as restaurants or fashion brands.”
The system is designed to evaluate first-party standalone content providing recommendations, opinion or analysis. It does not evaluate third-party user reviews, for example those in the reviews section of a product or services page.
The system primarily evaluates review content on a page-level basis, but if your site has a substantial (“not single-digit percentage”) amount of review content, then a site-wide evaluation may happen.
The reviews system currently applies to the following languages globally: English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Russian, Dutch, Portuguese, Polish.
Writing high quality reviews
Google has updated its page providing guidance on how to write high quality review content. It says high quality reviews can help people in making decisions about products, services, destinations, games, movies or other topics.
The page provides a 14-point best practice guide as below:
- 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's last product reviews update was released in September 2022.
The April 2023 reviews update completed on 25 April.