How Google is Changing Product Review Rankings

The review space has been quickly evolving, and Google is making changes in how they present this data in their search engines. If your business relies on review data, this post can help you understand significant updates that may impact your strategy.

byJeff Cooper

Big changes are coming with how Google ranks product review data. If your website uses product review data to get review snippets to show up in the search engines, then paying attention to these changes is going to be very important to your business.

Updates to Google product review ranking

The review space has been quickly evolving when it comes to how Google presents that data in their search engines. If you were making this investment a year ago, there were some significant updates that may have impacted your strategy. For instance, Google no longer allows websites to present reviews about their own products and services to Google on those websites. They also made changes that affect the different types of objects and entities that are valid when it comes to review snippets. If you’re willing to make this investment, it can still be very good for your SEO, you just need to be prepared to evolve that strategy over time, while Google is evolving its compliance standards for best practices.

What does Google care about when it comes to your product review data? In April, Google released a blog that outlined all their preferences for ranking different product reviews. Essentially, they’re looking for more content from authoritative sources or enthusiasts in the space that help explain the different use cases of the product or show different dimensions of the product that may not have been explained in the core product information.

The April 2021 Google Blog on product reviews update

Google Search Central’s April 2021 blog post reviews some of the factors that could be impacting your rankings. You can see there are some key points that reinforce some of their overall themes and their ranking algorithm.

Key points Google is looking for in product review data

Google is looking for things like expert knowledge of the product when it’s appropriate. They’ve also indicated that they want to see quantitative measurements about product measures when it comes to comparison to different products in those categories. Google is particularly interested in seeing information that discusses the unique benefits of a certain product or drawbacks of that product based on how that product performs. Make sure you review this list of criteria from Google and verify your product review data is checking as many of these boxes as possible. This will help your ranking in the search engines.

If you think your company has been affected by some of these product ranking updates, there are some great tools you can use in Google Search Console that will allow you to see how some of your visibility is being affected in the search engines.

Google Search Console

There are two areas in Google Search Console that you should pay attention to when you’re looking at how your product review data displays in the search engine results pages.

The dedicated section for review snippets:

In this section, Google will display any errors associated with your product review schema. This is where you can see if anything you have reviewed is no longer a valid object type for reviewing in Google. You can also see if any of your data is missing item names or rating values. These are core structural issues that will prevent your product reviews from ever ranking, so be sure to address any of these first.

UTILIZING performance METRICS:

The second area where you can see some of this review data is in the performance section of Google Search Console. If you look at the columns, there’s a search appearance tab that allows you to see the specific performance of your review snippets. If you click into this section, you can see the trends of clicks and impressions of all your search engine results that include review snippets. This will allow you as a marketer to identify if you’ve been impacted negatively by any of these changes that Google has been rolling out.

With this data from Google Search Console, you can figure out if you’ve been negatively impacted by any of these newer product review changes that Google is implementing. If you have been affected negatively, be sure to closely review their new criteria for quality product reviews and adjust your strategies to ensure that you can take advantage of all the features. If you need help with your web services—including SEOcontact us to see how we can help.

I hope this information has been helpful and remember to always be optimizing.

Jeff Cooper

Founder & President, Saltbox Solutions

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