What you need to know about Google’s product reviews update

June 28, 2021 - 6  min reading time - by Nahla Davies
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Uncovering the mysterious algorithms Google uses to rank their content is kind of like the search for the Holy Grail of SEO. Google usually stays mum about the exact formulas they use to avoid everyone rushing to conform to their new standards.

After all, the purpose of the algorithms is to organically promote genuinely high quality, helpful content. However, Google broke their tradition in 2021 and published an official SEO cheat sheet regarding product reviews and how bloggers can enhance their rankings.

In this article, we will discuss the most important revelations from this guideline. We’ll also talk about how you can use it to write product reviews that are not only genuinely engaging content experiences for your users but will also help your blog rank higher on their search platform.

No more fluff product reviews

If you know anything about marketing and SEO, you know why so many product review articles are unhelpful. Lots of blogs and websites are paid by businesses to insert backlinks into their articles, or to write articles with great SEO that rank their product or service as being the best among their competitors.

Consumers use Google regularly to search out reliable information that will help them make informed decisions before buying a product or service. So, it’s not surprising that Google is so focused on ensuring that their users actually have a good experience when browsing product reviews on their platform.

Enter Google’s new, enhanced SEO requirements. Google asks for blogs to up their game by bringing original research to the table, as well as deeper competitor analysis and long-form comparison content.

Long gone are the days of briefly listing a bunch of products with “pros” and “cons”, conveniently listing the sponsored product as having all the pros with the only con being “none.” If you want your product reviews to be search engine optimized, you must prove that you have the credentials to provide a well-informed and unbiased recommendation.

Of course, Google’s cheat sheet didn’t provide explicit formulas on how they measure their SEO. However, there is a lot we can learn by reading the cheat sheet and delving deeper into the questions they want you to answer regarding the quality of your product review content.

Most business websites with blogs hire freelancers to help them create content that will help boost their rankings on search engines. Freelancers should keep the SEO criteria discussed in this article in mind when determining their Minimum Acceptable Rates (MAR) when pricing a project. Understanding Google’s SEO guidelines is a key part of the value freelancer’s offer to their clients.

Are your product reviews quality content?

Google requires expert knowledge and quantitative measurements in their product reviews to prove the credentials of the person hired to write the review article. That means using the industry jargon appropriately, but not excessively, while also providing statistics and data within your reviews. This is especially important when discussing comparative performance of various products.

Another aspect the Google algorithm looks at closely is that benefits and drawbacks of all products are adequately covered. It’s ideal for product review pages to offer a nuanced view of all the products mentioned on the page, such as discussing different scenarios and circumstances where one product might be preferable to another.

Product reviews should fully cover key decision-making factors in their reviews. Ignoring that the product your blog is being paid to sponsor is the highest priced on the list is no longer an option.

Is your product review trustworthy?

Trust is an important aspect of gaining Google rankings. For example, a camera company publishing a product review of different cameras might not achieve top rankings because they have a conflict of interest and can’t claim to be unbiased.

Many of the most important aspects of how Google calculates rankings revolve around trust and have been around since 2011. Building trust is vital for using content to drive conversions to your site. To ensure that users receive the highest quality content, Google will lower the SEO of pages that are riddled with grammatical or spelling errors. Evidence of a low level of quality control or poor writing are an immediate red flag for Google’s algorithms.

Trust isn’t built overnight, so many of the websites with high ranking SEO have spent years or even decades building their reputation as a reliable source of information on a particular topic. While high quality content can boost your website’s ranking on Google, it can also help convert consumers to brand evangelists who then rely on your blog for the latest news and trends from your industry, nurturing a long-lasting relationship with your customers.

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SEO is an ever-evolving and all-important factor in marketing

Content creators need to keep Quality Raters in mind before they rely completely on algorithms for evaluating their content. Google hires real human Quality Raters to browse the internet all day and rank content depending on how good the media on their website is.

SEO is adapting to humanity’s increased usage of the internet by having higher standards for content creation. In the past, when competition on the internet was more scarce, SEO was focused mainly on linking, XML Sitemaps and usage of keywords. While all these factors are still at play, they won’t be enough to enhance your SEO and supercharge your sales funnel.

There are a lot of great SEO tools and experts who can really help your company optimize your content. However, on a basic level, websites can ensure that they present quality content by asking basic questions about their articles.

If you were a user looking for information, would you trust your own site with your credit card details? Would you be unsurprised if you saw what you have written in your own blog published in a reputable magazine or newspaper? If you can answer yes to those questions, your content at least passes the basic and most important measurements of the SEO test.

Compelling snippets that entice users to click into your link from Google are important, but so is actually following through on the promise initially made. Is the snippet that is shown on the Google search results an accurate description of what the article offers?

Another important element is doing research on what your competitors are offering in terms of content. If your competitors are producing more detailed articles chock full of statistics and original research from leading industry experts, it’s time to up your content creation game.

Another vital focus for product reviews is being able to display that the writer has truly experienced each product enough to accurately write a review about it. Simply presenting generic information is not enough. Articles must display how the user actually used, handled or implemented different products or services in order to provide a truly genuine review article.


Rewarding high quality content is at the core of what Google does. It helps them to offer a search platform that is truly helpful to their users, enhancing their credibility and increasing the quality of the information offered to its users.
Bloggers should keep the concept of high quality content by putting themselves in the shoes of the user, while using Google’s SEO frameworks as a guideline. This will help you create content that will not only boost your rankings on their search engines, but offer value to visitors on your website as well.

Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech writer. Before devoting her work full time to technical writing, she managed—among other intriguing things—to serve as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.
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