Google announced a new search algorithm update that focuses specifically on stellar product reviews. Called the Product Reviews Update, it aims to reward product reviews with in-depth content and information, “rather than thin content that simply summarizes a bunch of products.”

Right now, only affecting English reviews, it emphasizes the importance of good product reviews and in-depth content. These are features that Google continues to emphasize as important ranking factors. This is not a core algorithm update. And it won’t punish negative reviews or reviews with thin content. But simply reward those with more details and information. 

Google says “We know people appreciate product reviews that share in-depth research, rather than thin content that simply summarizes a bunch of products.”


What does all this mean?

Essentially if you have any sections on your website that focus on product reviews, you could have been impacted by this update. Danny Sullivan from Google also further clarified that service reviews can also benefit from the update, though that’s not the original target. 

And Google’s John Mueller also clarified that this update focuses more on affiliate-like content and not e-commerce sites with customer reviews of products. 

This update drastically impacts the affiliate marketing world by forcing it to create more in-depth and thorough content. But more than that, the Product Reviews Update continues to emphasize Google’s attention to good content. With every update, Google wants to improve the user experience. More in depth content helps a user decide if a product is the right solution for them. 

In fact, good content is the number one factor to getting you ranked high on Google. It improves your E-A-T, builds and improves your keywords, and keeps your site relevance. So it makes sense that Google would release an update that would also tackle reviews to also include quality content.


Recommendations from Google

With the Product Reviews Update, Google provided some guidance for content creators in their initial announcement:

“For those creating content, here are some additional useful questions to consider in terms of product reviews. Do your reviews:

  • 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?”

The Product Reviews Update went live in April 2021. And while it’s not a core update, it could be integrated into the core search algorithm sometime in the future.



Kristine is the Director of Marketing at Boostability. She brings a decade's worth of communications strategy work to the company. Kristine has a Masters Degree in Leadership and Communications from Gonzaga University and graduated from BYU with her undergrad in Broadcast Journalism. She's worked in television news, public relations, communications strategy, and marketing for over 10 years. In addition to being a part of the marketing team, Kristine enjoys traveling, sports, and all things nerdy.