Google, at about 4 am ET today, September 20, 2022, has unleashed the fifth product reviews update. This was released prior to the September 2022 core update being completed, which was not excepted and Google’s Danny Sullivan said likely would not happen – but it did happen.
Google wrote on Twitter “Today we released the September 2022 product reviews update for English-language product reviews. We’ll update our ranking release history page when the rollout is complete.” On that page Google wrote “Released the September 2022 product reviews update. This update applies to English-language product reviews. The rollout could take 2 weeks to complete.”
Google Product Reviews Update Quick Facts
Here are the most important things that we know right now in short form:
- Name: Google September 2022 Product Reviews Update
- Launched: September 20, 2022 at around 4 am ET
- Rollout: It will take about two weeks to fully roll out
- 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 to other languages, this is a global launch. I am surprised it is still only English but it is, as we documented below.
- 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.
Yea, still English only by the way. Also, I suspect it started to roll out last night. Who in Mountain View, California is up at 1 am local time pushing out an update? My guess….
Just yesterday I reported that Danny Sullivan of Google “we’ve worked very hard to keep updates separated from each other, or as little overlap as possible, to help creators understand more.” Maybe not hard enough with this one?
To be fair, Google did pre-announce this one a month ago and we expected this to come right after the helpful content update was done rolling out but first came that September 2022 core update and that did not finish yet, obviously.
So how do you manage to know which update hit you? The September core update or the September product reviews update? Google said 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. If you see a change and wonder if it’s related to the core update or the product reviews update. (1) If you produce product reviews, then it’s probably related to that. (2) If not, then it might be related to the core update.
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.
— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) September 20, 2022
But as many of you know, sites impacted by core updates often also see impact by these product review updates or visa versa.
There are obviously complaints about this rollout:
— ?〈link href=//johnmu.com rel=canonical 〉? (@JohnMu) September 20, 2022
We pre-announced this one a few weeks back — sometimes things take a long time to finish, and suddenly there are a few things that come out close together.
— ?〈link href=//johnmu.com rel=canonical 〉? (@JohnMu) September 20, 2022
Big heads-up: I take back what I said the other day… Google IS rolling out several major updates AT THE SAME TIME. The September 2022 Product Reviews Update is now rolling out DURING the September 2022 broad core update. Good luck everyone. 🙂 https://t.co/AGs4Hm3JNz
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) September 20, 2022
Remember when Google said they try not to overlap updates?
Just kidding! ? Here’s another!
September core is still rolling out. New product reviews update launches today. https://t.co/IJQ6zvfkK4
— Dr. Marie Haynes? (@Marie_Haynes) September 20, 2022
Remember way back (yesterday) when Google didn’t overlap updates. https://t.co/WN1nNLvUmY
— Darrell Mordecai (@MordecaiDarrell) September 20, 2022
Dear Google, do you really want to drive all us SEOs crazy when trying to analyze the visibility and traffic of the websites we follow?
Why are you so fracking sadist? ?? https://t.co/Xi8CbQSVA1
— Gianluca Fiorelli (@gfiorelli1) September 20, 2022
Just to share a few….
Previous Core Updates
Here are the dates for the previous Product Reviews Updates:
To Early To See Change
It was just announced, I don’t see many changes this morning – so let me watch closely and report back in the coming days…
Google Product Review Update 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.
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.
Google also posted this graphic showing that product review lists can be impacted by this as well:
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
I have written about every tiny detail of these product reviews update, just do a search on this site for more.
Forum discussion at Twitter.