Google’s Product Reviews Update — Here’s Why SEO Writers Should Pay Attention

You want to know something that grinds my gears…well, used to?

Trying to find a unique product review in Google’s top-10. I’d click on Title after Title hoping for something different– but all the landing pages read like rehashed versions of each other, complete with similar sentence structures and information.

I’d even dive into page 3 or 4 of Google’s search results, looking for that one review that went the extra mile.

Ugh. Chances are, you’ve gone through the same thing — and I’m guessing it drove you nuts too.

Guess what?

It also drove Google nuts. Which is why they recently rolled out a search update targeting product review sites serving affiliate-like content. This is not a manual action penalty where a site gets slapped by Google. Instead, the update is to reward “insightful analysis and original research.”

You can check out the details here.

(Side note — as of June 2021, Google stated that product review sites were hit due to a core update — and the impact hurt product review sites.)

This update doesn’t surprise me. At all. Over the years, Google has consistently updated their algorithm to reward a richer content experience and to downgrade low-value content.

Many site owners that are feeling the current content slap have been living on borrowed SERP time for awhile. They may not have realized they were skating on thin algorithmic ice, because things just…continued to work.

The good news is, sites that got left behind in the algorithmic running can improve their content and improve their rankings. It will take lots of work and a complete content mindset overhaul, but it can be done.

It may not seem like great news for the site owner, but there is light at the end of their dark Google tunnel. Google even released a helpful checklist for product review content creators. If you write content for review sites, I highly recommend you read this. It will help you format future content.

But, here’s why SEO writers should pay attention to Google’s latest update.

Although my #1 tip is ACG (always check Google) before writing a new page, I always follow-up with an important caveat…

Now that you’ve seen what’s positioning, how can make your content a better, more authoritative resource?

In the old days, if a writer glanced at the top-10 product review listings, they may think, “Cool, it looks like what’s positioning is super-short and focused on these three features. I’ll put my own spin on the post and crank this out fast.”

I understand that mindset. I do. Especially when it seems like putting more work into the post wouldn’t matter.

But here’s the thing…

You’re not writing “for Google.” You’re writing for your reader — a living, breathing person who doesn’t want to read the same review content on ten different sites written ten different ways.

Plus, that reader appreciates standout content that, yes, may be considerably longer and more in-depth — but actually provides the detail they need.

In short, why would you copy competing sites when you have so much more knowledge and information to share?

So, if you’re seeing so-so copy positioning top-10, it doesn’t mean you chill out and turn in something similar. That’s taking the lazy way out. (I’m looking at you, site owners, who don’t want to pay for more than 50 words per post.)

Instead, it’s an opportunity to write fantastic content that you know will help your readers and survive long-term.

After all, why put yourself in the position where you eventually rewrite your content (losing valuable Google traffic in the meantime) when you can do it right the first time?

To me, that seems like an easy choice.

What do you think?

What do you think of Google’s latest update? Leave a comment and let me know.

1 reply
  1. George Hazlewood says:

    Hi Heather,
    Thanks for sharing this post, I totally agree on your post, focusing on content is the major thing that we need to do, we should be writing content to please our readers not google. Even if an update comes if our content is of great quality there will be just a slight changes in our ranking.
    Thank you.


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