Another Google Product Review Update

Last Update: December 02, 2021

So, back in July, I wrote a post letting you know about Google's product review update, and what they expect to see when you are writing a review of a product that you are promoting.

https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/dianescorpio/blog/your-produ...

Well, they have now upped the game and added further conditions that they will be looking at when ranking your product reviews. Direct quote from Google below.

"Therefore we are introducing two new best practices for product reviews, to take effect in a future update.

  • Provide evidence such as visuals, audio, or other links of your own experience with the product, to support your expertise and reinforce the authenticity of your review.
  • Include links to multiple sellers to give the reader the option to purchase from their merchant of choice."

Obviously, this is going to be much more difficult to achieve, as I suspect most of you don't own the products you recommend.

And as for adding multiple links to different sellers, I can see this causing some problems.

For example, Amazon doesn't allow you to use their product image if you then say it is available elsewhere.

And I have always believed that if you give a potential customer too much choice, they won't do anything!

The whole purpose of them coming to your site and reading your review is to find out the best product and be directed where to buy it.

Not to then have to make further decisions.

This is as much as I know at the moment, so I can't answer any questions on it, as it would simply be speculation.

As always, I will keep an eye on the situation and update you as necessary.

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ParthaB Premium Featured Comment
Hey Diane,

To be honest, I think this update (in conjunction with the December 2020 update) is aimed at websites that are purely product review websites (ring any bells?? LOL), i.e. thin on "helpful" content.

Basically, Google is all about the user experience, and providing them with best results that fit in with their search (searcher intent).

Obviously, there are huge numbers of affiliate sites, which focus solely on product reviews, and I believe you've mentioned this countless times - websites that specifically just rewrite product specifications (one again, ring any bells?).

This does not enhance the searcher's experience.

I note that Google has also given advance warning of TWO NEW product review requirements specifically aimed at fake review websites - so, it's a case of watch this space.

Personally, I think it's to weed out what we see day in, day out.

No offence (oohh, I sounded like a certain WA member then) to anyone specifically, but I see it time-and-time again with newcomers.

It's all about the money and earning commissions rather than being helpful.

"I know I'll start a website that focuses on 55inch and above TVs purely because this get's me the best commission"

And Google will know the difference between a giant like TechRadar with a DA of 92 and a 3-month old affiliate site with rewritten product specs.

I'm not going to say affiliate marketing is dead because clearly it isn't.

However, rather than trying trick/con/hack Google rankings, it may be better to actually focus on a niche where you genuinely want to help people.

Personally, I think the "X number of product reviews to informational articles" is a load of BS.

Yes, you'll get brand new product review-based websites that perform well (I know Mike B has created one just this year), but this is going to be few and far between.

If you're going to create a website then do it with the goal of being as helpful as possible and viewing it over the long-term

Trust me when I say that if even if your write purely informational articles for 2-3 years, and you're then getting 500K plus traffic a month, you're going to be earning a LOT of money without ever having to "fake" a product review.

As always, just my humble opinion.

Partha
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jbpr2008 Premium Plus
Awesome take on this subject, Partha!

It's a big relief, looking at it from this point of view. Any pointers regarding the Amazon only issue?

Unless I get some evidence to the contrary, I think that as far as Amazon Associates goes it might make sense to stick to Amazon private label brands.

I don't think Google can penalize us for having a single store option if Amazon is the only one selling a product. 🤔

Jorge
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Siobhan3 Premium
This is good to know because I don't like reviewing something I have never used for myself!
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ParthaB Premium
Hey Jorge,

To be honest, I don't want to even attempt to second guess EXACTLY what Google is looking for.

However, when looking at last December's update, as well as this week's one, they clearly have it in for those who are simply producing product review sites with the sole purpose of selling products.

Yes, clearly the aim for all of us is to earn money.

However, most of the highly successful online entrepreneurs are the ones who've been at it for years.

They carved their own place within a niche, been as helpful as they possibly can, and built trust, reputation, and a brand.

You could even say the same for Kyle.

I simpy view building a website in exactly the same way I would an offline business.

You start at the bottom of the rung and spend your first year barely cutting even.

So, you have to do something to make yourself stand out from the crowd.

If that means that I don't write a single product review for a whole year, and simply answer questions that the people in my niche are asking, then so be it.

To be honest, I now get product owners/manufacturers approaching me instead of the other way around. That kinda makes you feel good, LOL.

For me, Google has been extremely geared towards EAT since 2018 (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust).

In other words, building trust, a reputation, and a brand.

So, a website that has 100 articles with 90 "Best of" or "Reviews" or "Top 10 Products" probably won't cut it in the near future.

I'll admit that my own business model is more geared towards huge traffic and earning from ads.

In fact, affiliate income is just a small percentage.

But this is what Google seems to like, and rewards accordingly.

Basically, I'm not actually trying to sell anything 90-95% of the time.

So, that "100 article website" would probably be better off the other way around - 90 useful and helpful articles that really delve into the reader's problems/issues/wants/needs. 10 "recommendations" (rather than "product reviews") that will potentially help the reader.

I'll wait to see what else Google comes up with over the next few months.

For now, just focus on finding out what the people in your niche REALLY want to know and then give it to them in the form of content (written, audio, visual, etc.)

Partha
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ParthaB Premium
Siobhan,

You've always had that genuine vibe to you, which I really, really like.

I can only call the update as I see it, but to me it seems that Google has had enough of websites that have absolutely no interest in the niche whatsoever. The website has been produced with the sole purpose of producing fake product reviews in order to make profit - they do not care about their website visitors, readers, etc.

If you can create a website that shows that you genuinely care about your readers, I honestly believe you will be rewarded.

It may not happen overnight, and as I've mentioned to Jorge above, the most successful online entrepreneurs have been working away on the same website for years and years and years.

In fact, many of these entrepreneurs probably have one product review every 100-200 articles they write, and yet they produce what would be considered a great annual income in a day/week/month.

Partha
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jbpr2008 Premium Plus
Awesome, Partha. Thank you!

Honestly, I have been leaning toward doing things the way you mention. I'm having some serious mental blocks with reviews. I only see them as a "necessary evil."

I would rather write about poop coffee, star wars coffee, the health benefits of coffee, etc, all day long :)

But now I do have to write 3 straight reviews as part of level 5 of the OEC, so I'm going to have to suffer through it ...

Jorge
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Christorv Premium Plus
Absolutely calming post, Partha, I initially wrote a long response about the negative impact of this- but this take is sure a relief 👌
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Lizken Premium
Some good points there. By that last paragraph " that if even if your write purely informational articles for 2-3 years, and you're then getting 500K plus traffic a month, you're going to be earning a LOT of money without ever having to "fake" a product review.",
do you mean that you can make money just integrating affiliate links in informational articles, without ever writing product reviews? Or did I misunderstand this?
I know that sometimes, I get a newsletter from Awin with 'affiliates of the month', and when I go look at the website of the month, there are no product reviews there, but still they are affiliate of the month and thus doing well with Awin. I really have been wondering about this for my niche really.
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DKabrich Premium
Google has always graded on content, this could be a good thing.
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Warren-W Premium
Hi, what Partha meant was you can focus on writing informational content for 2-3 years and once you are getting 500k plus traffic, yes you can include some affiliate links inside those articles and also put Ads(Mediavane, AdThrive, Ezoic)
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hanlahav Premium
Thank you SO MUCH Partha for this comment. It has taken off ALL pressure for having to review anything for me!
I am NOT an active consumer, a bit guilty of impulsive buying and subscribing, but do not qualify as a reviewer of consumer goods and services!
I will keep on focusing on writing content for the sake of sharing my personal life experiences and lessons learned. When and how I will get the traffic to make my website profitable in terms of affiliated marketing remains to be seen.
I have been struggling with this, ending up thinking that if I do not have reviews, I will never start making money (which WAS the point to start with!).
Long term, that is the answer!
Keep well and well aware
Han Lahav
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MKabwe Premium
Hi Diane
Thank you for the information, this is very helpful for us beginners so that we do what is right rather than getting into trouble with google, I did'nt know this but today I have learnt something, I really appreciate your good work. Keep up the good work !!!

Regards
Maybin
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FrankB-1 Premium Plus
Hi, Diane

Thanks for the update!

I work in a hospital right down the street from a "Guitar Center" store and I know all the salespeople there.

I play all their new guitars, amps, and effects, so I can review them on my guitar website without having to buy anything. They let me take pictures of everything and even get stuff for me from other stores if they don't stock it.

I might start doing YouTube product reviews there and interviewing some of the staff.

I hoping that will help me with Google, going forward.

Frank
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jvranjes Premium
This sounds like a good news from Google (regarding multiple sellers). This has been my practice for a long time now, up to 4-5 links if I can find sellers.

This allows you to cover multiple areas and even continents, and readers can also compare prices if they finds multiple local sellers.

It makes sense also to diversify so that you do not depend on one seller only, they change commission rates quite frequently.
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jbpr2008 Premium Plus
Thank you, Diane! As part of the OEC level 5 training, I'm currently working on the first of 3 reviews for lessons 6 through 8.

I know Amazon very well because I have been selling there for over a decade. I know the good, the bad, and the ugly.

So I'm struggling now trying to decide to what extent I want to be involved with the Amazon Associates program. It would be very convenient because I can use many of the same tools I use for e-commerce.

On the other hand, dealing with Amazon can be very restrictive. That's bad enough without considering anything else. Within the context of your update, it's borderline nightmarish.

Now I'm thinking if there may a possible loophole. Maybe two different posts, one for Amazon only and the other for all other stores combined.

The Amazon post would somehow have to balance using wording to let potential buyers know that it's a review, while at the same time flying under Google's review radar. If that's even possible.

Jorge
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