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March 2022 Google Product Reviews Update Rolling Out

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March 2022 Google Product Reviews Update

Google is rolling out its third version of the product reviews update, named the March 2022 Product Reviews Update. The previous two versions were the April 2021 Product Reviews Update and the December 2021 Product Reviews Update. The March version was updated to incorporate more signals and criteria in this niche ranking algorithm.

Google started to roll out the March 2022 product reviews update yesterday, March 23, 2023 at about 12:00pm ET. This impacts only English-language pages for now but Google hinted this can rollout to other languages soon, possibly before another official product reviews update. Google wrote “we plan to open up product review support for more languages.”

Google also said it will take about three weeks to complete and can impact “product reviews across many sites” – “many sites” Google said. So like previous product reviews updates, site hit by this, can feel this in a big way.

As a reminder, the product reviews update aims at rewarding high-level product review content, above thinner product review content. Product review updates are not core updates, but they may be mistaken as such.

This latest version “builds on that work to enhance our ability to identify high quality product reviews,” Google wrote. Google added “this will make it easier for us to get sound purchasing advice in front of users, and to reward creators who are earnest in being helpful.”

Currently, at the time of publishing this – I am seeing very little movement in the Google search results. I suspect that will change any moment now but the SEO industry chatter is quiet on ranking changes right now and the tracking tools have yet to pick up on any volatility. Again, I expect this to change soon, very soon.

Google Product Reviews Update Quick Facts

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

  • Name: Google March 2022 Product Reviews Update
  • Launched: March 23, 2022 at around 12:00pm ET
  • Rollout: It will take about three weeks to fully rollout
  • 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 soon to other languages, this is a global launch.
  • 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.

What’s New With The March 2022 Product Reviews Update

Google said “we’re launching another update that builds on that work to enhance our ability to identify high quality product reviews. This will make it easier for us to get sound purchasing advice in front of users, and to reward creators who are earnest in being helpful.”

Also the fact that this may work in non-English languages in the future is new.

Google released three new FAQs with this announcement:

(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:

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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

Spring 2022 Google Updated Related?

Over the weekend we reported on what I called the Spring 2022 Google update but was this product reviews update related to this Spring 2022 update? Well, according to Google – no. Danny Sullivan of Google updated us on that saying there was no update during that time. It does make me wonder if maybe Google was testing this but Google would probably say no.

There was a lot of buzz around that update impacting product review sites, even Lily Ray tweeted about that:

But again, the March 2022 Google Product Reviews Update didn’t start to roll out until days after the the unconfirmed Spring update. So again, no – they are not related.

Alan Kent from Google directly said so, these are unrelated:

More From Google

Here are some more details from Google for clarification purposes:

Original PRU Google 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.

I have written about every tiny detail of these product reviews update, just do a search on this site for more.

Multiple Sellers

What about the line on the importance of including links to multiple sellers to give the reader the option to purchase from their merchant of choice, Glenn Gabe asked. Alan Kent from Google said “The update is an improvement of current algorithms. There is no special support for multiple sellers in this update.”

Tracking Tools Showing Volatility?

It is early, less than 24 hours since it started to roll out but here is what the various tracking tools are showing right now. Keep in mind, the bulk of this update should be realized within the first few days.

As of this morning, at the time of publishing this, the tools are showing nothing right now. In fact, the chatter in the SEO community has nothing around ranking changes yet either. I do suspect we will see changes here, fluctuations, chatter, volatility and so forth in the upcoming days – it just didn’t happen yet but it will.

Semrush:

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RankRanger:

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Accuranker:

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Cognitive SEO:

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SERPmetrics:

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Mozcast:

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Advanced Web Rankings:

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Algoroo:

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Industry Reaction

Forum discussion at Twitter and WebmasterWorld.




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Daily Search Forum Recap: May 22, 2024

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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 Marketing Live was yesterday and we covered all of the search ad announcements including that ads are coming to AI Overviews. I am seeing a possible Google ranking update, unconfirmed of course. Google and Bing both recommend you upgrade to WordPress 6.5 because it supports native lastmod elements in the sitemap files. There is this weird surge in Google Search Console performance reports for product snippets. Bing is testing search tag filters. Apple Maps may mark a business closed due to missing an address and/or business hours.


Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Google Search Ranking Volatility Spike Around May 22


    After a few days of calm Google weather, we are now seeing a spike in volatility, fluctuations and SEO chatter around Google search ranking movement. It is somewhat early on but I am seeing both a spike in SEOs noticing ranking movement and many of the tools are showing a spike in volatility.

  • Google Ads In AI Overviews, AI Shopping Ads, Brand Profile Ads & More AI Ad Tools


    Google Marketing Live was yesterday, and the Google Ad team announced a ton of new AI formats, new ad tools, and changes to the Google Ads platform that are coming soon. The big items for me are ads in AI Overviews, new AI Shopping Ads, Brand Profile ads, and more AI tools to help you create your ads.

  • Unusual Surge In Google Search Console Product Snippets Search Performance


    Google Search Console may have another data bug, maybe, this time with product snippets. If you look at your Search Performance report, then filter by search appearance for product snippets, you will likely see a surge in impressions and clicks over the past few days.

  • Google & Bing Say Upgrade To WordPress 6.5 To Gain Lastmod Sitemap Support


    Google and Bing are recommending that those on WordPress to upgrade to version 6.5 because 6.5 now supports lastmod dates in the sitemap files natively. In fact, Fabrice Canel from Bing says this is a “game-changer.”

  • Bing Search Testing Tag Filters


    Microsoft is testing a way to filter your Bing Search results based on tags. The tag filter is showing up for some searchers via a tab that you can click on via the right side of the page that will expand and show you tag filter options.

  • Apple Maps Listing Permanently Closed Over Missing Business Hours & Address


    Did you know that Apple can mark a business listing within Appel Maps / Apple Business Connect, as permanently closed if that business listing is missing the business hours and business address and/or if the business hours and address do not match what is on the business’s website or other local listings (like on Yelp, Google Maps, etc)?

  • Google Golf Clubs


    Here is a photo from a Google event named “Grow with Google” where there are Google branded gold clubs in this backdrop. You can see them in the golf bag on the right of the photo.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Search Features

Feedback:


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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SEARCHENGINES

Daily Search Forum Recap: May 21, 2024

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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’s CEO, Sunda Pichai, spoke about AI Overviews killing the web, small publishers dying and not giving us Search Console data (well, kinda). The Google site reputation abuse policy also applies to Google Discover. Google AI Overview colors have nothing to do with the confidence of the answer. Google about source knowledge panels get graphical. Google also is rolling out a more graphical and richer search results interface. Google Marketing Live was this afternoon, more on that tomorrow… I am going to try publishing the newsletter earlier in the day (see how you like it).


Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Google’s Sundar Pichai On AI Overviews Killing Web, Smaller Publishers & Search Console Data


    Nilay Patel, Editor-In-Chief of The Verge interviewed Sunday Pichai, CEO of Google, at Google I/O and the 40 minute interview released yesterday dug into a lot of the concerns we have been covering here. This includes how AI Overviews may kill the web, how smaller/indepdent publishers are dying and if we can get data in Search Console.

  • Google Rolling Out More Graphical & Richer Search Results


    Rajan Patel, the VP of Engineering at Google leading the Search experiences, wrote that Google is rolling out a more graphical results interface that go “beyond visual matches to include things like more links and facts from Knowledge Graph as well as AI Overviews.”


  • PSA: Site Reputation Abuse Policy Also Applies To Google Discover


    Just a PSA – the newish Google site reputation abuse policy not only applies to Google Search but also applies to Google Discover. Google updated the Discover content policies a while back to add a line that reads, “Publishers should be aware of the new site reputation abuse policy that becomes effective as of May 5, 2024.”


  • Google Adds Visuals To About Source Knowledge Panels


    December 2022, Google began showing “About this” site under some search result snippets, when the intent of the query was to learn more about that brand. It was a pretty sparse textual box that has more details about the source. Now, Google is testing showing this information in a more graphical user interface.



  • Google AI Overviews Colors Do Not Indicate Confidence Of Response


    Google’s John Mueller said the colors that Google selects for the AI Overviews has no indication of the confidence of the response. Back when SGE (old name for AI Overviews), Google told me the color had more to do with the journey but they were just fun.





  • Android Shrubbery Statue


    Here is an Android statue at the Google London office that is covered in shrubbery. This is a super green and plant-like Android figurine.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Search Features

Other Search

Feedback:


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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Daily Search Forum Recap: May 20, 2024

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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 said it is working on surfacing more heartful helpful content, after no sites seemed to have recovered from the last helpful content update. Danny Sullivan said he speaks directly to engineers working on Google Search. Google doesn’t let you turn off AI Overviews, but Bing lets you turn off its AI responses. Google Notes says it is ending the labs feature soon but Google may bring comments to notes.


Search Engine Roundtable Stories:


  • Google Working On Surfacing More Content That Comes From The Heart


    Last week we reported how Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liaison, said how they are looking for ways to better promote sites that were hit by that helpful content update in September. Now, over the weekend, John Mueller from Google added, “the team working on this is explictly evaluating how sites can / will improve in Search for the next update.”

  • Bing Lets You Turn Off AI Responses But Google Doesn’t Let You Turn Off AI Overviews


    Google has been rolling out AI Overviews in its search results since last week and more and more searchers are super unhappy that there is no way to turn off the AI Overviews. Michael Schechter, a Vice President at Microsoft, shared a screenshot in Bing, on how you can turn off Copilot responses in Bing Search with the click of a button.

  • Danny Sullivan: We Speak Directly To Engineers Working On Google Ranking Systems


    Google was asked where Google’s Danny Sullivan and John Mueller get their information from when responding to search and ranking-related questions. Sullivan responded directly to the engineers who code those ranking systems at Google.


  • Google Says Notes On Search Now Ends Soon


    Google has updated the Google Search Labs to say that Notes on Search now “ends soon.” As a reminder, last November Google rolled out as a labs the Notes feature in Google Search and Google Discover.

  • Comments To Notes In Google Search?


    Google may be bringing comments to the Notes on Google Search (and Discover) feature. Notes on Search came last November as a labs feature in Google Search and Google Discover. Google recently tested a new button for the notes feature in Search. Now Google may be testing comments on Notes.

  • NYC Bring Your Child To Work Day At Google NYC


    Google held its annual bring your child to work day at the Google New York City office. This was back in late April and I found some cute photos of kids at Google doing face painting, gaming, balloons and more.

Other Great Search Threads:

Search Engine Land Stories:

Other Great Search Stories:

Analytics

Industry & Business

Links & Content Marketing

Local & Maps

Mobile & Voice

SEO

PPC

Search Features

Other Search

Feedback:


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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