So Google has finished the rollout of the July 2022 Google Product Reviews Update in a record-breaking fashion, in a six-day period. It even shocked Google because Google originally estimated 14-21 days for the rollout and Google didn’t even mention anything on its social channels about the update being done rolling out.
Instead, Google simply and quietly updated its updates page to write “the rollout was complete as of August 2, 2022.”
Danny Sullivan did say they would just update the page:
So @googlesearchc did say when we tweeted about it initially that it would be posted on the updates page when it was concluded, as it was: https://t.co/gElfbRTRvu
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) August 4, 2022
Bu it confused a lot of us, including myself:
Google’s Search Ranking doc says the July Product Reviews Update completed on 8/2. What??? That can’t be right. There are some BIG issues with the update IMO right now. I’ll try and find out more… https://t.co/b8NuOkEXQb
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) August 4, 2022
This was first spotted by Neil McCarthy in this tweet:
Apparently the Product Reviews update finished rolling out Aug 2🤔 https://t.co/hcUOyGIOJV
— Dr. Marie Haynes🐧 (@Marie_Haynes) August 4, 2022
Originally a 2-3 week rollout but apparently finished early? Or were their problems? @JohnMu @dannysullivan @rustybrick pic.twitter.com/EeX066mujj
— Digital Marketing Curmudgeon (@erikboderek) August 4, 2022
Just a reminder, this July 2022 Product Reviews update was the fourth product reviews update, the previous three versions were the April 2021 Product Reviews Update, the December 2021 Product Reviews Update and the March 2022 Product Reviews Update.
Some savvy SEOs noticed big hits on specific sites on Friday, July 29th, but I would say overall, this update had much less chatter from within the SEO community than all previous product reviews updates. We then saw some tools light up on August 3rd but clearly that was not this update because the product reviews update was finished the day before.
Google Product Reviews Update Quick Facts
Here are the most important things that we know right now in short form:
- Name: Google July 2022 Product Reviews Update
- Launched: July 27, 2022 at around 1:30 pm ET
- Finished: August 2, 2022
- Targets: It looks at product review content
- Penalty: It is not a penalty, it promotes or rewards “insightful analysis and original research.”
- Not a core update: Many are going to say this is a core update, it is not.
- English Language but will expand: This is only looking at English-language content right now but likely will expand to other languages, this is a global launch. I am surprised it is still only English but it is, as we documented below.
- Impact: Google would not tell me what percentage of queries or searches were impacted by this update.
- Discover: This update can impact your performance in Google Discover, Google previously said.
- Recover: If you were hit by this, then you will need to look at your content and see if you can do better with Google’s advice below
- Refreshes: Google will do periodic refreshes to this algorithm but may not communicate those updates in the future. This may be the first refresh that Google has done, it is the first refresh Google communicated about.
This was a weird weird update….
I said this can’t be right… but it’s right. The July PRU has completed rolling out. And again, there are several big problems with this update. I shared some of that yesterday. So, like w/the May core update, will we see a tremor AFTER the update officially rolled out? Maybe… https://t.co/XDfVDO8Udn
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) August 4, 2022
Google Tracking Tools
The update took only six days, you can see that the tracking tools in aggregate form, did not show much volatility over those 6 days:
Semrush and when you toggle it to just Shopping, things get a bit hotter.
Google Product Review Update Advice
Here is the original advice but Google has posted this in a new help document with the new advice from December, this does not include the specific new points listed above:
- 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?
- 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.
Here is the updated advice from the March update:
(1) Are product review updates relevant to ranked lists and comparison reviews? Yes. Product review updates apply to all forms of review content. The best practices Google shared also apply. However, due to the shorter nature of ranked lists, you may want to demonstrate expertise and reinforce authenticity in a more concise way. Citing pertinent results and including original images from tests you performed with the product can be good ways to do this.
(2) Are there any recommendations for reviews recommending “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 in the market? Why is the product particularly suited for its recommended purpose? Be sure to include supporting first-hand evidence.
(3) If I create a review that covers multiple products, should I still 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 for it to stand on its own.
Google also posted this graphic showing that product review lists can be impacted by this as well:
Google also listed these four points about the criteria Google uses for product reviews:
- Include helpful in-depth details, like the benefits or drawbacks of a certain item, specifics on how a product performs or how the product differs from previous versions
- Come from people who have actually used the products, and show what the product is physically like or how it’s used
- Include unique information beyond what the manufacturer provides — like 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
I have written about every tiny detail of these product reviews update, just do a search on this site for more.
Are you surprised by this rollout and the volatility or lack thereof?
Forum discussion at Forum discussion at Twitter & WebmasterWorld & Black Hat World.