Google's new take on reviewsBack
User reviews are essential indicators of a product or service quality, at least if they are written by real users who know what they are talking about. Google has now released a new update to its rating system for such reviews. Allowing space for user opinions on your site is an important change.
The most important change is that Google no longer only looks at product reviews. Google's rating system now also looks at reviews of services, media (games, movies) and other things (e.g. travel destinations).
The name has therefore been changed from 'product reviews system' to 'reviews system', and other names have also changed. For example, 'shoppers' has been replaced by 'people' and 'product' by 'thing'.
The rating system now looks at all articles, blog posts, pages, or other content that contains a recommendation, opinion, or analysis. The reviews system should ensure that people see reviews that are based on real experiences instead of meaningless reviews that provide a simple overview of products or services.
So, if your website uses any reviews, this update can have important consequences. Keep an eye on your ranking; does it improve, go down, or stay the same?
What does Google mean by high-quality reviews?
Google uses the following guidelines for writing a review and for determining whether a review is of high quality (these are not new but are being applied more strictly):
- Look at things from the user's point of view.
- Show you know what you're talking about - show you're an expert.
- Show evidence, such as images or audio, to show that your review is real.
- Use quantitative measures of how something is performing.
- Explain what sets the reviewed thing apart from its competitors.
- Compare the product with others, and explain what is best for a particular use or circumstance.
- Discuss the pros and cons based on your own experiences.
- Describe how a product has evolved from previous models, intending to make certain improvements or address existing problems.
- Focus on important purchase considerations; for a review of a car, these are, for example, fuel consumption and safety.
- Include links to other helpful resources, possibly links to multiple sellers.
- Back up your claim when you say something is best in general or for a particular purpose.
This new system now applies to the following languages: English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Russian, Dutch, Portuguese and Polish.
If there are many meaningless reviews on your website, consider removing them, or ask users to further optimize their reviews with, for example, images and more information about their experiences. After all, a good, extensive review is of great value to convince visitors of your website's quality of your product or service.