Google updates its algorithms around 500 to 600 times each year, that’s almost twice per day. However, every now and then they announce major updates to one of their algorithms and panic ensues among the search engine optimization community along with the rush to be the first to tell you what the algorithm update is about and how to handle it in order to not hurt your rankings.
This is a timeline of Google algorithms.
This year, Google announced a major product review update on April 8. However, it was effectively rolled out on April 22, 2021. This year’s product review update emphasizes the quality of review type content and its need to meet User Intent, an important factor to keep in mind for beginner SEOs as well as seasoned experts.
Google Product Review Update Roll Out Completed
This update does not directly penalize low-quality, thin content, but it does reward valuable content that delivers insightful information that helps users make better decisions. In a way, sites with stale or low-quality content might suffer a kind of “penalty” when they’re pushed down in the SERP.
Not as impressive as the Google core update, this update only checks content that qualifies as a product review, and nothing else. What this means is that you’ll need to refresh your content if you run a product review website, for example. Most other types of websites don’t have to worry about it.
Google’s Tips to Help You Rank with Better Product Content
Google has also provided noteworthy tips to help website owners understand what kind of product content ranks better with this update. This update is another effort of Google to help websites that are invested in producing rich and useful content that meets the expectations of the users.
This update is not related to Google’s usual core update. It seems to lean more towards emphasizing authority, expertise, and trust. If you run a website that has product review type content, focus on producing high-quality content that satisfies your user’s real intent; sane advice for all content in general.
Google gives the following advice if you run a website that publishes product reviews:
- Get an expert to write the content
- Don’t depend on the peripheral content provided by manufacturers. Do a hands-on review with your personal experience of using the product.
- Based on the kind of product you review, try to include important features, such as the performance if your product is a laptop.
- Make sure to add a section that speaks about how the product you are reviewing stands out amongst the top competitors.
- Most products have advantages and disadvantages. Don’t skip both, this shows you are doing an impartial review.
- If the product is an updated version, compare it with the previous version you used and inform the users how different it is now.
- Also, tell the readers why they should buy the product and the USPs that they must consider before making the buying decision.
- Try to identify the beneficiaries of the product. Not all products are beneficial to all people so help the right audience take an informed decision.
As you can see, focusing on giving your users the most useful product review possible is all you need to do, or hopefully keep doing, to rank (or continue to rank) in the first positions of search results even after Google’s 2021 product review update.
What is the Impact of Google’s Product Review Update
The rollout of the update lasted about two weeks, but the bulk update was rolled out in the first couple of days and some sites started seeing fluctuations almost right away.
Several data companies tracking Google’s search results agree that looking at the data from search results, this update will not have as big of an impact as the last core update in December 2020. As we said before, those most affected (positively and negatively) by this update are websites that publish product review-type content.
Other Latest Major Google Updates
Passage Indexing (US/English) — February 10, 2021
This passage ranking update was estimated to impact 7% of the queries. This is basically a new way of Google to rank specific passages from a website in the search results.
Passage indexing, or passage ranking, is a way for Google to rank specific sentences from a webpage by better understanding the relevancy they have for the specific search and serve the user the most useful and specific answer possible.
Here’s a screenshot from Twitter of the announcement:
This update has more to do with how Google understands passages than anything else. What this means for SEOs is pretty much nothing. As always, your focus should continue to be on producing high-quality insightful content.
December 2020 Core Update — December 3, 2020
This update was rolled out last year, however, it was an important update and is worth mentioning a few details.
This update was technically the third largest named core update, and its impact was similar in measure to the May 2020 Core Update and the August 2018 “Medic” Update. Here’s a screenshot of the official tweet about the update:
After putting all the data together, the evidence shows that this update mostly impacted big websites with content that lacked relevance and authority.
How to Recover if a Google Update Affects your Traffic/Rankings
After the dust has settled once an update is rolled out, it’s time to gather the data and see if it affected you. If it did, or you just need to boost your site’s performance, consider the following quick tips:
Update your old web pages
Google is always looking to serve the most relevant content to each user. This means that old content will get left behind. Remember that everyone is creating new content constantly, so look for relevant and useful ways to update new content by adding the most recent information and other valuable assets such as video, graphics, new stats, etc.
Keep on producing new content regularly
Create content that is relevant to your audience by listening to what they are saying and what they’re looking for. Publish new content on a regular basis to keep your audience engaged and improve their user experience. Google loves this and rewards it in the SERP.
Keep on improving your content
Be on the lookout for new trends and platforms that pop up all the time. Don’t jump on whatever is “hot” at the moment, but analyze whether your audience is there or not and decide how to incorporate that into your content strategy.
Evaluate your link profile
Your link profile involves the quantity and quality of links pointing back to your website. Regularly audit these links to find those that could be toxic and other issues such as Nofollows or lost links. Don’t forget to also evaluate your internal linking structure for optimal crawling and user experience.
Apply all these practical tips to help your website recover traffic and be ready for the next time Google rolls out another broad core update or any other type of update.