Google December 2021 product reviews update is rolling out now

Best practice for eCommerce in search according to Google.

Google is now rolling out a new search algorithm update named the ‘December 2021 products reviews update’. NZ Digital is focused on keeping you up to date with the latest information around these Google updates so you and your site are prepared for it and not caught off guard.

This is the second time Google has pushed out a review of their products this year; the first one rolled out in April 2021.

This update is “designed to better reward” product reviews that “share in-depth research, rather than thin content that simply summarises a bunch of { E-commerce } products,” a spokesperson told Search Engine Land in April. Reviews that are written in a way that has “insightful analysis and original research” will be rewarded, especially “content written by experts or enthusiasts who know the topic well,” Google said.

What is changing?

Google said that if you made changes between now and the last update, you may see improvements to your rankings since the last update. Google wrote, “if you have made positive changes to your content, you may have noticed an increase in your search results since then.”

Google also said the search company has “received more feedback from users on what type of review content is deemed trustworthy and useful, motivating us to provide additional product review guidance. 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.”

More advice

Google provided two new best practices around this update, one saying to provide more multimedia around your product reviews and the second is to provide links to multiple sellers, not just one. Google posted these two items:

  • 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.

Rolling out now

Google said the update is now rolling out for English-language pages. It will take about three weeks to complete.

Google product reviews update

The Google product reviews update aims to promote review content that is above and beyond much of the templated information you see on the web. Google said it will promote these types of product reviews in its search results rankings.

Google is not directly punishing lower quality product reviews that have “thin content that simply summarizes a bunch of products.” However, if you provide such content and find your rankings demoted because other content is promoted above yours, it will definitely feel like a penalty. Technically, according to Google, this is not a penalty against your content, Google is just rewarding sites with more insightful review content with rankings above yours.

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

Previous advice on the product reviews update

The “focus overall is on providing users with content that provides insightful analysis and original research, content written by experts or enthusiasts who know the topic well,” Google said about this update. That is similar advice to the core update recommendations mentioned above, but here is a list of “additional useful questions to consider in terms of product reviews.”

Google recommends your product reviews cover these areas and answer these questions.

Do your product reviews…

  • Express expert knowledge about products where appropriate?
  • Show what the product is like physically, or how it is used, with unique content beyond what’s provided by the manufacturer?
  • Provide quantitative measurements about how a product measures up in various categories of performance?
  • Explain what sets a product apart from its competitors?
  • Cover comparable products to consider, or explain which products might be best for certain uses or circumstances?
  • Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of a particular product, based on research into it?
  • 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?
  • Identify key decision-making factors for the product’s category and how the product performs in those areas? For example, a car review might determine that fuel economy, safety, and handling 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?

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

Why NZ Digital cares

If your website offers product review content, you will want to check your rankings to see if you were impacted. Did your Google organic traffic improve, decline or stay the same?

Long term, you are going to want to ensure that going forward,  you put a lot more detail and effort into your product review content so that it is unique and stands out from the competition on the web.

Latest Google Update Not Going Your Way?

If you are having any issues with your rankings after this update or even a previous update please reach out to the NZ Digital team below so we can get your rankings back.

Get in touch with our team

Digital Insights

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