The Google February 2023 product reviews update finished rolling out yesterday afternoon on March 7, 2023. It took 14 days to rollout this expanded language version of the product reviews update that kicked off on February 21, 2023.
As a reminder, original updates were in English only but now this update impacts Spanish, German, French, Italian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Russian, Dutch, Portuguese, and Polish.
Google Product Reviews Update Quick Facts
Here are the most important things that we know right now in short form:
- Name: Google February 2023 Product Reviews Update
- Launched: February 21, 2023 at around 5pm ET
- Rollout: Two weeks – completed on March 7, 2023
- 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.
- Several languages: English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Russian, Dutch, Portuguese, Polish.
- 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.
It seems this product reviews update was very impactful. We saw a lot of volatility over multiple days and also a ton of SEO chatter from within the SEO community. We reported on very big fluctuations this past weekend and on March 1st and additional spikes on February 25th.
Was This Update Being Prepped Earlier?
We have seen a lot of unconfirmed Google search ranking updates in the past several weeks prior to the official confirmation of this update. Many that seemed to have impacted product reviews sites throughout these tremors.
Glenn Gabe thinks maybe this was the case…
Huge heads-up! And this makes sense given all of the crazy volatility we’ve seen since 1/26 FOR PRODUCT REVIEW SITES. Stay tuned. https://t.co/vfSqGwgSEY
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) February 21, 2023
Here are the updates we covered:
- Another Unconfirmed Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update Around February 14th, February 15, 2023
- February 8th/9th Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update (Unconfirmed), February 10, 2023
- Unconfirmed Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update On February 4th, February 6, 2023
- Unconfirmed Google Update Impacting Product Reviews Sites On Thursday, January 26th?, January 30, 2023
- Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update On Wednesday?, January 19, 2023
- Weekend Google Search Ranking Algorithm Update – Saturday, January 14, January 16, 2023
It was super volatile the days and weeks leading up to this confirmed Google update.
Google Tracking Tools
Here is what these tools showed through the weekend over the past couple of weeks. According to the tools, it seemed to have slowed down after the weekend volatility. There is some chatter but not significant like from the weekend – at least not yet:
Advanced Web Rankings:
Previous Product Review Updates
Here are the dates for the previous Product Reviews Updates:
Google Product Review Update Advice
Here is the original advice but Google has posted this in a newish help document with the new advice from December 2022, 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, Black Hat World and WebmasterWorld.