Google has always been steadfast in its goal to deliver quality results to its users. As such, it regularly updates its search algorithm to improve its performance with each new rollout. The Google Product Review Update is one of the company’s measures toward this effort.
What Is the Google Product Reviews Update?
As the name suggests, the product reviews update affects the type of reviews that appears on Google Search. It is designed to surface higher-quality product reviews and rank them higher on the search engine results pages (SERPs) than the less informative, generic Google ratings and reviews published online. It’s not a core update but a standalone update that will only affect product reviews and not other types of content.
Businesses that rely heavily on positive reviews and word-of-mouth marketing need to understand this update and learn how to get reviews on Google SERPs.
The first rollouts impacted already-published reviews and related content, influencing review monitoring strategies and how brands get more Google reviews. But before we get to the whys and hows, let’s examine how the updates change the rules of review generation.
Importance of the Google Product Reviews Update for Business Reputation Management
Reviews are critical to success, so businesses can’t afford to ignore this update. Fifty-three percent of today’s shoppers search Google reviews and product information before buying something. Naturally, they want to invest in products that are worth the money. Since positive reviews imply quality, businesses must understand the recent updates on the Google product reviews algorithm and leverage these for their review management strategy.
A review generation strategy that aligns with Google’s updates can bring positive reviews about your brand and products to the top of the SERPs. Experienced reputation management consultants will tell you that seeing many glowing reviews can sway consumers into buying your products. Those with the highest ratings and positive reviews often sell the most, too, so it is worth the time and effort to learn how to get reviews on Google SERPs.
The Three Rollouts of the Google Reviews Update
Understanding the purpose of the Google product review update is crucial for business reputation management. Here’s what we know:
- The update has been rolled out three times:
- The first update revealed Google’s intent to reward product reviews that provided in-depth, insightful analyses and helpful explanations instead of thin content that offered nothing more than a list of products and their known qualities. With this rollout, the search engine would now prioritize reviews written by industry experts and enthusiasts who know a lot about the nature of the products, their uses, famous brands, etc.
Google announced on the Search Central Blog that the first update would only affect English-language Google reviews, and later updates would cover non-English ones. The company also provided a list of questions that product reviews should answer. We’ll discuss these later in this article.
- The second update benefited websites that immediately adjusted their review monitoring and writing techniques after the first rollout. Additionally, Google considered the types of Google ratings and reviews that users find helpful and trustworthy. It discovered, for example, that people trust reviewers who had tested and used the product firsthand. Many also prefer review blogs that offer alternative options along with purchase links.
- The third update was rolled out over 19 days, and Senior Staff Engineer Alan Kent tweeted the announcement when they completed the rollout on April 11. According to industry watchdogs, it didn’t have as widespread of an impact as the second rollout (although those that got hit likely saw noticeable declines in their ranking).
So now that the algorithm for ranking published reviews on Google search has changed, how should businesses approach Google ratings and reviews?
How To Get Reviews on Google SERPs’ Top Results
To get more Google reviews about your product on page one of the SERPs, you need to satisfy the ranking factors for the product review algorithm.
Based on the guide questions Google provided for product reviewers, these are the new best practices for review generation:
Show and Prove Product Expertise
From a customer’s perspective, people with extensive knowledge about a product, how to use it and how it should perform are more trustworthy than review blogs that do nothing more than list similar items from different manufacturers.
Test the Product
Thin information stems from a lack of knowledge and firsthand experience with a product, resulting in shallow reviews that offer little value to customers.
Add Photos and Videos to Your Reviews
Customers who search Google reviews trust reviews with pictures and videos because they seem more credible and authentic.
Compare the Product to Competing Brands
It demonstrates your knowledge and authority about the topic. Consumers can also view other options, which they will inevitably research anyway. Retailers and manufacturers can use this opportunity to link comparable products also available in their stores.
Clearly Show What Sets the Product Apart
Give examples of how it outperforms other brands. You can also specify situations for which the product is the best choice.
Be Transparent About Your Observations
Sharing the pros of a product is a given, but don’t shy away from revealing its shortcomings and the drawbacks of using it over another brand.
Describe the Upgrades From Previous Iterations, If Any
Consumers concerned about saving money will want to know if an older, cheaper model can still serve their needs.
Highlight Product Features and Characteristics That Are Well-Known As Deciding Factors
Some examples are car collision safety features, battery life, camera resolution, multiple laptop cores and over 8GB of RAM.
These best practices benefit industry-based reviewers and websites like automotive online magazines and tech sites that publish in-depth reviews of laptops, phones and other newly released gadgets. Including them in your review monitoring SOPs will significantly improve the quality of your reviews in Google’s eyes.
But what about brands and businesses that rely on customers for reviews? A restaurant, for example, cannot instruct a diner to write a long review complete with high-res pictures and videos of the clubhouse sandwiches they ordered for lunch. And for some business owners, even just telling their customers how to write their reviews feels wrong.
Still, businesses need to get more Google reviews published online because they are an essential contributor to success today.
Google Business and Google Maps Reviews: Getting Your Google Reviews on Page One
As business owners who have little control over how customers write reviews, here are some tips on how you can ensure that customer reviews for your brand and products appear on the first page of the SERPs:
Create a Google Business Page To Generate Google Maps Reviews
A Google Business page lets you pin your business’s address on the map. When people search for products you offer or your business itself, your business profile may appear in the Maps and Search results – your customer’s ratings and reviews. Google Business Profiles delves into local search engine optimization (SEO) territory, so consult local SEO experts regarding this.
Offer Free WiFi in Your Store or Establishment
Not everyone has mobile data, and those that do may need more incentive to spend it writing a review for you. Providing free Internet access on your premises is one less obstacle to earning a review that will appear alongside your Google Business Profile. Besides, free WiFi can be a point in your favor when they rate and review your business.
Ask Customers To Leave a Review With a QR Code of your Google Business Profile
Make it very easy for them to rate your business, and with a QR code, they can do it in one tap.
Use Online Reputation Management Services To Manage Your Google Maps Reviews
Tim Clarke, Rize Reviews’ Senior Reputation Manager, says, “Google reviews are the most popular and most visible platform on the web. They highly affect local search engine optimization (SEO) results, especially on mobile searches — the most common type of search.” It’s crucial to manage reviews and consult local SEO experts about them. However, it takes a lot of planning and effort to get people to post a review, monitor what they say and respond when necessary. Working with reputation management consultants or subscribing to an online reputation management software will reduce your workload.
Encourage Your Loyal and Most Enthusiastic Customers To Leave a Review
They are most likely to give you favorable feedback. Getting them to post reviews on your Google Business profile ensures that customers will see positive feedback about your products when they search Google reviews.
Have Your Business Profile Verified
Anybody can create a business profile, which explains why some establishments have duplicate profiles on Google Maps. To ensure that customers leave reviews on the account you manage, have it verified by Google.
How Can Online Reputation Management Services Help?
The updated product review algorithm primarily affects two kinds of businesses. First are websites that earn ad and affiliate marketing revenue by publishing in-depth product reviews. Second are businesses that use reviews for marketing and promotion. The former writes the reviews while the latter asks customers to write them. Nevertheless, both are subject to the new ranking metrics of the product review algorithm update.
Whether you run a review website, eCommerce site or brick-and-mortar business, you will benefit from a well-executed review management strategy. An online reputation management software like the one we offer at Rize Reviews can make the work simpler and easier for you. And if you don’t have the time to learn how to use and maximize its tools, the Rize team is here to help.
With reliable software that makes it easier to monitor customer sentiment online and ORM experts who’ll help you respond to negative reviews correctly, your business can overcome the challenges of the Google Product Review Update.
Contact Rize Reviews today.
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