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Google Releases The Fifth Product Reviews Update Before The September Core Update Is Done



Google Releases The Fifth Product Reviews Update Before The September Core Update Is Done

Google, at about 4 am ET today, September 20, 2022, has unleashed the fifth product reviews update. This was released prior to the September 2022 core update being completed, which was not excepted and Google’s Danny Sullivan said likely would not happen – but it did happen.

Google wrote on Twitter “Today we released the September 2022 product reviews update for English-language product reviews. We’ll update our ranking release history page when the rollout is complete.” On that page Google wrote “Released the September 2022 product reviews update. This update applies to English-language product reviews. The rollout could take 2 weeks to complete.”

Google Product Reviews Update Quick Facts

Here are the most important things that we know right now in short form:

  • Name: Google September 2022 Product Reviews Update
  • Launched: September 20, 2022 at around 4 am ET
  • Rollout: It will take about two weeks to fully roll out
  • 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.

Yea, still English only by the way. Also, I suspect it started to roll out last night. Who in Mountain View, California is up at 1 am local time pushing out an update? My guess….

Overlapping Updates…

Just yesterday I reported that Danny Sullivan of Google “we’ve worked very hard to keep updates separated from each other, or as little overlap as possible, to help creators understand more.” Maybe not hard enough with this one?

To be fair, Google did pre-announce this one a month ago and we expected this to come right after the helpful content update was done rolling out but first came that September 2022 core update and that did not finish yet, obviously.

So how do you manage to know which update hit you? The September core update or the September product reviews update? Google said on Twitter:

“For awareness, the September 2022 core update has not fully completed but it’s mostly done. We expect it will be fully complete within a week and will share on our updates page when it is done. If you see a change and wonder if it’s related to the core update or the product reviews update. (1) If you produce product reviews, then it’s probably related to that. (2) If not, then it might be related to the core update.

But as many of you know, sites impacted by core updates often also see impact by these product review updates or visa versa.

Danny Sullivan and John Mueller of Google defending this timing of the rollout:

There are obviously complaints about this rollout:

Just to share a few….

Previous Core Updates

Here are the dates for the previous Product Reviews Updates:

To Early To See Change

It was just announced, I don’t see many changes this morning – so let me watch closely and report back in the coming days…

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:

click for full size

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.

Forum discussion at Twitter.


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Daily Search Forum Recap: July 17, 2024



Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.

Google has finally ended its labs experiment for Search Notes. Google Knowledge Panels tests showing store rating reviews. Google tests renaming short videos to quick takes. Google Ads in Japan changed the term brand match to intent match. Google is testing query refinements under the ad carousel.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:

  • Google Search Notes Finally To End

    There was a lot of speculation that Google would remove the Search Notes feature from the Google Search labs results last May after living past its official end date of December 2023. Well, Google told 9to5Google that Notes on Search and Discover is finally going away.

  • Google Ads Changed Broad Match To Intent Match In Japan

    Google Ads has changed what they call broad match to intent match in Japan. So now it is called (Intent Match), it was called (Partial Match).

  • Google Knowledge Panels Tests Store Ratings Reviews

    Google is testing showing store ratings review stars in the knowledge panels for some retail stores. Clicking on the stars will take you into the Google Store Rating panel.

  • Google Tests Renaming Short Videos To Quick Takes

    Google is testing renaming the short videos carousel to quick takes in the Google Search results. Short videos are quick videos Google surfaces in its search results from YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and other sources and now Google is testing naming them “Quick Takes.”

  • Google Ads Query Refinements Under Ad Carousel

    Google seems to be testing a query refinement ad option. Where Google is showing other search queries related to the ads it is showing under a sponsored ad carousel in the search results.

  • Google Paris France Olympics Signage Adapted

    In April, we covered the prep the Google Paris, France office put together for the upcoming Olympics events by dressing up its lobby signage in Olympic sports. Well, the sign changed a bit. Here is a more recent photo I found on Instagram.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:


Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice



Other Search


Have feedback on this daily recap; let me know on Twitter @rustybrick or @seroundtable, on Threads, Mastodon and Bluesky and you can follow us on Facebook and on Google News and make sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or just contact us the old fashion way.

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Google Core Update Expected In Coming Weeks



Google Core Fire Balls

Danny Sullivan, the Google Search Liaison, said that he expects the next core update will be rolling out in the coming weeks. He said it is hard to predict because these updates are not scheduled to a particular day but rather tested and then once approved are launched.

Sullivan said this on a comment on this site, over here, he wrote, “I would expect we’ll see one in the coming weeks, because that fits in with our general cycle.” “But precisely when, that’s just not known yet,” he added.

In fact, he added that these updates are simple not scheduled, he said, “the ranking team makes changes, tests those, evaluates those and eventually we get a launch date.” But that, I guess, has not happened yet and thus we don’t have a date yet. When it is ready, I assume Google will roll it out and let us know and that seems to happen pretty quickly after the testing and evaluations are all approved.

He wrote:

We’d tell you when the next core update will be if we knew. But we don’t know exactly yet, that’s all. These aren’t scheduled to a particular day. The ranking team makes changes, tests those, evaluates those and eventually we get a launch date. There have been many times I could have said “Core update next week!” because everything was on track for that to happen, but then there’s a need to do a bit more work or other things that might cause a pushback. I would expect we’ll see one in the coming weeks, because that fits in with our general cycle. But precisely when, that’s just not known yet.

As to seeing changes? Well, Sullivan did also say in the comments, “I do hope we can improve in some of these cases where creators with their hearts in the right places, and who are doing the real content effort behind that, are rewarded as we should be doing.” This echoes a lot of what Google said before.

He also added something I did not know, that he interviewed folks at HouseFresh and RetroDodo in front of about 50 Google Search Quality team members, so the Google team “could hear first-hand directly some of the things that they’ve had relayed from me, John or which they’ve read about,” he wrote. “It was incredibly useful, impactful, and I’m deeply grateful for both of those for agreeing to do it,” he added.

So maybe we will have a July 2024 core update or maybe it will be an August 2024 core update – or maybe later. It all depends on how the testing and evaluations go… For all we know, that might happen later today, so buckle up.

Forum discussion at us and X.

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How To Remove Thumbtack Book Links In Google Business Profiles



Google Appointment Book

There are new reports that a booking/appointment system run by Thumbtack, a local search service, is automatically adding its booking links and service to Google Business Profiles. Well, you can opt out, if you don’t want it. But I am sure most businesses will have no clue this was added to their local listings in Google Search and Google Maps.

To opt out, you need to fill out this form. This is from the Thumbtack help page – so check there if the form no longer works, maybe there will be an updated link.

The book now button looks like this:

Google Business Profile Book Button

As reported to me by Colan Nielsen on X and posted in the Local Search Forum, this business does not want the book link to go to Thumbtack, but it does – at least when I wrote this.

Colan wrote, “Looks like Thumbtack is automatically adding booking links to Google Business Profiles.”

We saw this happen a lot over the years, we even called it hijacking appointment links in Google – including with Postmates.

The Thumbtack help document says, “we’ve automatically added a Thumbtack booking option through your Google Business Profile. No further action is needed from you.” So this is not an opt in thing, rather an opt out thing – which is not good.

So please be aware of this and be on the look out for changes to your booking link.

Forum discussion at Local Search Forum.

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