A Trustpilot study shows 9 out of 10 users will read online reviews before making a purchase. Another study from BrightLocal reveals that almost 80 percent of users value online product reviews as much as word-of-mouth or personal product recommendations from friends and family.

That being said, reviews are only meaningful if they convey reliable and trustworthy information. Therefore, if you’re an e-commerce store or intend to publish reviews on Google, you need to take notice of Google’s product review update to help shoppers learn more about your products before purchase. Understanding these updates is highly important for any digital marketing agency in South Africa. 

Last month, Google published revised guidelines for writing product reviews that meet the search engine’s quality standards. 

According to Google, product reviews should now meet the following criteria:

  • Detailed and useful information about the item, including its pros and cons, how it performs, and how it differs from previous versions. 
  •  Testimonials from people who have used the product. This can include a detailed explanation of the physical attributes of the product and how it is used. 
  •  Provide information that cannot be found in the manufacturer’s manual, such as audio, videos, and links to other content that demonstrates the real-world value of the product to the reviewer.
  • A comparative evaluation on how the product is different from similar items within the same category or industry . 

Should your reviews meet these guidelines, it’s more likely that Google will rank them at the top of search results, while pushing to the bottom content that simply summarises products or have little to no value to the user. 

When the first product algorithm update was announced, it was unclear if it applied to reviews of single products only or if included lists of multiple products as well. Google has since confirmed that the updated product algorithm will recognise ranked lists and comparison reviews.

“Yes. Product review updates apply to all forms of review content. The best practices we’ve shared also apply. However, due to the shorter nature of ranked lists, you may want to demonstrate expertise and reinforce authenticity in a more concise way. Citing pertinent results and including original images from tests you performed with the product can be good ways to do this.”

As a digital marketing agency in South Africa, this is great news for us. The product algorithm update can guide our SEO specialists and content creators to produce content that not only ensures users are getting trustworthy advice but also helps our clients’ websites to rank higher and attract traffic organically.