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Google September 2022 Product Review Update Rolling Out

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Google September 2022 Product Review Update Rolling Out

Google confirms the September 2022 product review update, the fifth in a series of updates targeting low-quality reviews, is now rolling out.

The update begins rolling out today, September 20, and will take up to a week to roll out.

Google made the announcement on Twitter while linking to the official page for search ranking updates. Google will update the page once the launch is complete.

This announcement comes later than expected. In August, Google advised publishers about a product review update arriving later in the month.

Google launched the helpful content update in August, with no further mention of the product review update. Now, the update is here as promised.

Historically, these updates take two weeks to complete. However, Google says the September 2022 product review update is “mostly done.”

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“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.”

As the update is mostly done, you may already see the impact on your product review pages.

To that end, Google adds:

If you see a change and wonder if it’s related to the core update or the product reviews update:

  • If you produce product reviews, then it’s probably related to that.
  • If not, then it might be related to the core update.

If you don’t publish product reviews on your site, this update doesn’t apply to you. It’s not a core update that impacts all search results.

In addition to last week’s core update and this week’s product review update, there’s also the aforementioned helpful content update to take into consideration.

Earlier this month, Google revealed that the ranking signal introduced with the helpful content update will likely get stronger as other types of updates roll out.

That means this iteration of the product review update has the potential to cause a greater impact than previous versions.

It’s also possible that product review pages not affected by previous updates will feel the effects of this one.

That doesn’t have to be a bad thing. With every algorithm update, there’s a chance for ranking improvements.

Google doesn’t offer any new guidance for the September 2022 product review update. Here’s a summary of need-to-know information regarding this type of update.

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What Is The Product Review Update?

Google’s product review algorithm update is designed to reward high-quality product review pages that share in-depth research.

Low-quality product review pages, on the other hand, contain thin content that summarizes the information you can find on a manufacturer’s website.

Google wants to surface product reviews written by people that have personally tested and experimented with the product they’re reviewing.

You can make this clear to Google, and your readers, by including details such as photos and videos, benefits and drawbacks, comparisons with competing products, and other first-hand observations.

This update applies to websites that publish long-form product reviews, such as those seen on websites like Wirecutter and Tom’s Guide.

If you sell products that customers can review on your website, this update still doesn’t apply to you. Customer reviews are not considered the same as product review articles.

For more guidance on how to assess the impact of a product review update, see this article published when Google launched it for the first time.


Featured Image: 13_Phunkod/Shutterstock

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Google On How To Simplify Hreflang Implementation

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Google On How To Simplify Hreflang Implementation

Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller says hreflang implementation doesn’t have to be as complicated as people think.

Hreflang is one of the more confusing aspects of technical SEO and among the most important for international businesses and publishers.

In reply to a thread on Reddit, Mueller outlines a simplified approach for publishers to follow.

Hreflang: The Problem

Hreflang is a link attribute that informs Google of the language used on a page. With that information, Google can show the page version corresponding to the language a person is searching in.

Without the hreflang attribute, Google may serve pages in a language the searcher doesn’t speak or pages specific to a country the searcher doesn’t reside.

In the r/TechSEO forum on Reddit, a user is seeking advice regarding the use of hreflang for websites in multiple countries.

They ask if they can get by with a partial implementation of hreflang. For example, they are setting up hreflang for versions of the website in the same language, such as Germany and Switzerland.

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The alternative is linking all versions of all pages with hreflang, which is a considerable amount of work.

Mueller says that’s the best solution, but not exactly practical:

“In an idea [sic] world, you’d link all versions of all pages with hreflang. It would be the clean approach, however, sometimes it’s just a ton of work, and maintaining it if the sites are run individually is … good luck with that.”

Although linking every page with hreflang is the ideal solution, Mueller says it doesn’t have to be so complicated.

Hreflang: The Solution

First, Mueller suggests figuring out what needs fixing.

Identify whether a problem exists with searchers landing on the wrong site version.

If that isn’t happening, you may not need to implement hreflang.

Mueller states:

“In practice, you can simplify the problem. Where do you actually see issues with regards to people coming to the wrong country / language site? That’s where you should minimally implement hreflang (and, of course, a JS country/language recognizer / popupper to catch any direct visits). Probably a lot of that will be limited to same-language / different-country situations, so Switzerland / Germany in German may be the right place to start. Nothing breaks if you set up hreflang for 2 versions and have 4 unrelated versions.

If you already have these sites running, I’d check your analytics setup for traffic from Search, and compare the country where they come from vs the country that they end up on (pick one country, filter for the traffic from search, and compare the domains they end up on). If you don’t find a big mismatch there, most likely you don’t need to do a lot (or anything) for hreflang. There is no bonus for hreflang, it’s only about showing the most-fitting page in search for users in a specific country / language.”

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Next, look at which pages searchers are landing on. One of the most likely mistakes Google can make is serving the wrong version of a website’s homepage.

Since brand names aren’t localized, Google doesn’t always know which version of a homepage to serve if that’s all a user types into the search box.

If you find searchers are landing on the wrong homepage, but there are no issues with other pages, you can get by with a partial implementation of hreflang.

Mueller states:

“When checking, focus on the most likely mistakes first: same-language / different-country sites is one, but there’s also homepage traffic. Often times a brand name is not localized, so when people search for it, it’s unclear to search engines what the expectation is. If you find a lot of mismatches on the homepage but not elsewhere in the site, you can also just do hreflang across the homepages (that’s often easier than all pages in a site). Or you could do a combination, of course, all homepages + all German-language pages. Hreflang is on a per-page basis, so the beauty (and curse) is that you can pick & choose.”

Lastly, Mueller reiterates that it’s possible to save a lot of time with hreflang by checking to see if there’s a genuine problem.

Google may serve the correct versions of pages all on its own, in which case you don’t gain anything by adding hreflang.

“In any case, before you rush off and work on this for a year, double-check that it’s an actual problem first, and if so, check where the problem is. Maybe there are super-simple solutions (maybe you just need a country/language popup and don’t even need the rest?), and you can spend your time more wisely elsewhere.”

Think of hreflang as a tool to utilize when needed. You can prioritize other tasks if there’s no need for it.


Source: Reddit

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Featured Image: patpitchaya/Shutterstock

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