Google Releases September 2022 Product Reviews Update

Wakas Javed
Google product reviews update

Google released the fifth version of the Google Product Review update on September 20 at around 4:00 a.m. ET, this version is called the September 2022 Product Review Update. Google told us a few weeks ago that they were expecting this update, which is related to an unusual fact. It is so long after the last product review update, which is the July 2022 product review update.

Google is releasing its fifth update to product reviews today, September 20, 2022. It was released before a core update was completed in September 2022, which is no exception, and Google’s Danny Sullivan says it probably won’t happen – but it does.

Google wrote on Twitter: “Today we are releasing the September 2022 Product Review Update for English product reviews. We will update our rating release history page when the rollout is complete.” On the page, Google wrote, “We’ve released the September 2022 Product Review Update. This update applies to product reviews on English sites initially but will expand to non-English sites in the future. Deployment may take 2 weeks.”

This is the fifth update to Product Reviews, an update to the search ranking algorithm that aims to rank product review-related content across the web as the most helpful and useful to searchers. The first product review update was released on April 8, 2021, the second update was released on December 1, 2021, the third update was released on March 23, 2022, the fourth update was released on July 27, 2022, and the fifth update was released in September 2022. This new update is called the September 2022 Product Review Update.

Google announced this update on Twitter, linking to the Google updates page here.

Google Product Reviews Update

Google Product Reviews Update aims to push review content above much of the traditional information you see on the web. Google says it will present this type of product review in its search results.

Google is not directly penalizing low-quality product reviews having short or irrelevant content. If you have that type of content and your rankings are dropping, you will take it as a penalty, but the content ranks higher than yours because it is more relevant and informative. So, according to Google, this is not a penalty but a reward for those sites having more insightful content.

Technically, this update will only affect product review content, not journal content.

Fast Facts On Google Product Reviews Update

Here are the important things we currently know in a nutshell:

Name: Google Product Review Update September 2022.

Launch date: September 20, 2022 around 4 PM ET.

Rollout time: Full rollout will take about two weeks.

Purpose: Check the content of product reviews.

Penalty: This is not penalty, but encourages or rewards “in-depth analysis and original research”.

Not a Core Update: Many would say it’s a major update, but it really isn’t.

English language but will be expand: Currently only English content under consideration but will likely be expanded to other languages, this is a global rollout. I’m surprised it’s still only in English, however, as we’ve documented below.

Impact: Google has not yet told me what percentage of queries or searches are affected by this update.

Discover: This update may affect your performance on Google Discover, Google previously said.

Recovery: If you are affected by this, you need to review your content and see if you can do better with the following suggestions from Google.

Updates: Google will update this algorithm periodically, but may stop communicating these updates in the future. This is probably the first refresh that Google has made to this update and announced.

September Core Update And Product Review Update Are Overlapping.

Google Core September update not fully rolled out yet. Google was also aware of the situation after releasing this product review update Google announced 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.” Google also explained how you know if your site is affected by the September core update vs. product review update:

  • If you write about product reviews, it might be related to that.
  • If not, it’s probably related to a core update.

Even though Google announced this update a month ago, and we were expected to launch it right after the Helpful content update, Google launched a core update instead of a product review update. So now we are dealing with two updates rolling out simultaneously.

Many in the search industry know that websites affected by the core updates often also see the impact of those product rating updates or vice versa.

Danny Sullivan and John Mueller of Google are trying to defend, rather than explaining the timing of the rollout:

Many SEO geeks are complaining about the timeline of this update on Twitter.

Google Product Review Update Advice.

Here’s the original Advice, but Google has published this in a new help document with new recommendations since December, this doesn’t 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.

Featured image by Wayhomestudio/FreePik

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