The update in a nutshell: Google has changed their ‘product review system’ to ‘review system’. They will now evaluate reviews of any topic that is reviewable, not just products:
There have already been 6 Google product review updates since 2021 – all of which have been redirected to the new ‘Review Update’.
What did the April 2023 review update change?
Firstly, it changed the naming convention of ‘product reviews’ – Google moves away from saying ‘shoppers’ to people and ‘products’ becomes a ‘thing’. You will notice Google has replaced ‘product reviews’ with more general ‘reviews’ wording. So if you are referencing the article on how to write high-quality reviews and notice content changes, don’t be alarmed!
Instead of only considering product reviews, it will now consider articles, blog posts, pages or similar first-party standalone content written to provide a recommendation, an opinion, or an analysis.
Google is now looking for evidence of expertise on topics:
The reviews system aims to reward better high-quality reviews, which are content that provides insightful analysis and original research and is written by experts or enthusiasts who know the topic well.
The reviews system ensures that people see reviews that share in-depth research, rather than thin content that simply summarizes a bunch of products, services or other things.
Who should care, and why?
Quite simply, every business online should care. Reviews should be part of any marketing strategy – whether to improve, get new reviews, or build or maintain brand image.
Reviews are part of the buying process, no matter what type of business or industry you are in. Try to think of the last product or service you purchased without reading a review – I bet it is not many!
This is an opportunity for businesses to work with their most loyal customers and encourage reviews that will ultimately help their SEO.
The key? Understand what makes a good review – so you can encourage your customers to shout about you online in a manner Google will love.