No Product Reviews on your Page? Forget a good ranking on Google…

Today Google announced an update to their search algorithm which they call the product review update. Here’s what Google said on their official Google Search Central Blog

“Google Search is always working to show the most useful and helpful information possible, through testing, experimenting, and review processes. From this, we know people appreciate product reviews that share in-depth research, rather than thin content that simply summarizes a bunch of products. That’s why we’re sharing an improvement to our ranking systems, which we call the product reviews update, that’s designed to better reward such content.”

What is an in-depth product review for Google?

Although Google didn’t give away their secret sauce by telling which elements in a product review carry more weight for a better ranking, they gave some tips about what they consider to be relevant content that provides insightful analysis. First of all, it needs to be written by experts or enthusiasts who know the topic well but they also reward reviews that:

  • 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.

We already knew this for quite a while but we are thankful to Google for making it official now: product reviews rock!