Google Product Reviews Update Causing Wild Volatility & Swings

Feb 27, 2023 | SEO News Feeds | 0 comments

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Well, this last February 2023 product reviews update has been pretty volatile, and we have seen some significant ranking changes and the chatter within the SEO community has been pretty wild. This product reviews update seems to be much more widespread than previous product review updates and some SEOs think something is off with this update.

Yes, this update was expected to be felt more widely since it targeted more languages than just English. It expanded to Spanish, German, French, Italian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Russian, Dutch, Portuguese, and Polish. But I have seen complaints from sites not in any of these languages getting hit hard at the time Google pushed this update – yes, it can be unrelated.

Plus, I am seeing sites with little review-like content also being hit. Maybe Google released another update at this time, unrelated to the product reviews update as well and didn’t talk about it? I don’t know.

Google Tracking Tools

Let’s start this time with what the tracking tool are showing. Look at the swings since February 21, you saw a big one the day after, then on Thursday and then something maybe even bigger on Saturday. This is almost across all tools.


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Cognitive SEO:

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Advanced Web Rankings:

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So you can see, the automated tools are picking up on these wild swings.

SEO Chatter

But the chatter within the SEO community tell more of the story. A story of a product reviews update that we have not seen before. Larger volatility, wider impacts, impacts that almost feel more core update-like.

As I was writing this up on Sunday morning (yes, I know I posted this Monday but I held it for Monday so some of you can have a more restful weekend), Glenn Gabe also was tweeting what I was seeing as well. I like the reassurance, and he said on Twitter, “the PRU off & will be corrected via a tremor or did G dial things up?” “Google has explained in the past that the PRU can have more site-level impact if it believes most of the content is reviews-based, but can be more granular if it’s not a majority. But I see some sites heavily impact outside of reviews,” he added.

Google has explained in the past that the PRU can have more site-level impact if it believes most of the content is reviews-based, but can be more granular if it’s not a majority. But I’m seeing some sites heavily impact outside of reviews. More info:

— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) February 26, 2023

Reading through some of the comments on my original story and the WebmasterWorld forums, here are some I want to highlight:

Not happy with Google product review update. My website lost almost 50% of traffic after this update.I am seeing that only the big stores are showing the stars in the search results, and very few of the small stores.

I have several stores with the same review system, and only one of them shows the reviews in the search results, why? We don’t know.

Big movements this Sunday. One client for who I’ve been de-optimizing content and reducing content silo structures has done a whole day’s worth of traffic by 9:30 am this morning. Looks like another update is possibly in the mix as well.Another day, another #1 keyword lost — to a site that doesn’t even offer that product.After a decent Saturday, a huge drop in USA traffic on Sunday. USA is down 40% from an average Sunday. CA also -22% and AU -17%. So…a couple of decent days after weeks of tepid traffic. And this is while my rank / visibility is the highest it’s been since 2021.Yayyyyyy more drops in traffic *dramatically rolls eyes*WTH is going on?

Global site Wednesday traffic 48.7%.

Today UK time nothing until 02.00, then until 11.59, traffic is completely normal at 60.7% … since 12.00 dead, it completely switched off.

G’s ad receipts must be going through the roof again.

But really, it’s annoying. Today’s traffic is the worse I’ve experienced. Its dead town despite rankings are the ‘same’.

There is so much more and something feels ‘off’ with this update but I am not sure why.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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