Google updates search rankings to make good reviews easier to find

Google has been working on ways to sort out good product reviews from bad ones before presenting them to the user. An update last year promoted reviews that show evidence that the reviewer actually handled the product in question and also offered links to multiple sellers to give buyers more choice.

Now the search giant is rolling out a new update to how it ranks product reviews to separate expert reviews from less informative ones. The new rules strengthen the requirement that the review doesn’t just recite info from the manufacturer but actually adds first-hand experience of what the product is like.

A good review doesn’t just look at the bright side and doesn’t look at the product in isolation either. It should contain pros and cons and compare the current product to previous versions and against competing alternatives. Here are the four key items that today’s update focuses on:

  • 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

Note that this update covers only English-language product reviews and will be rolled out gradually so you should start seeing its effects soon. Google is happy with the changes so far and is working to enable similar product review ranking to other languages as well.

You can read the guidelines from Google that describe what makes a good review. It all boils down to doing the research, backing up claims with test results and explaining what makes a particular product better than the competition.

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