Reviews Update Implications for News Sites

On April 12, 2023, Google released the April 2023 reviews update, expanding the scope of its prior product reviews updates to encompass a more comprehensive range of reviewable topics, such as services, destinations, and media including games and movies. This is the seventh consecutive product review update that Google has rolled out since 2021.

The update, announced on Twitter, aims to enhance the quality and usefulness of reviews available to users, as well as to provide more relevant and trustworthy information.

This update includes improvements in identifying and removing spam reviews and fake review content.

Google is using machine learning and AI to detect low-quality or fake reviews. Their systems are getting better over time at spotting patterns that indicate inauthentic reviews. It’s increasingly difficult to trick the algorithms.

The update may cause some ranking fluctuations, especially for sites that heavily rely on reviews as a part of their content and branding. Sites with a high percentage of low-quality or unnatural reviews are most at risk of traffic drops. High-quality review sites may see improvements.

April 2023 Reviews Update: Implications for News Sites

For news sites that publish reviews and how-to articles, the implications of Google’s April 2023 reviews update are significant. These sites must ensure that their reviews provide accurate, helpful information to maintain credibility and authority in Google’s search rankings. This entails focusing on providing a good user experience for their readers by ensuring that their websites are accessible and easy to navigate.

April 2023 reviews update

Image credit: Marie Haynes

Furthermore, it is crucial for news sites to avoid deceptive or misleading tactics such as fake reviews or clickbait headlines, which can harm a site’s reputation and visibility on Google’s search results.

The April 2023 reviews update signifies Google’s determination to clamp down on such practices, making it essential for news sites to adopt ethical, transparent approaches to maintain their ranking and visibility.

The update serves as a call to action for news sites, urging them to critically examine their content and practices to ensure they align with Google’s evolving guidelines.

To this end, news sites should strive to implement best practices for creating high-quality content, such as conducting thorough research, providing comprehensive information, and ensuring content is well-structured and easy to understand.

How Google is now evaluating reviews about services, media and other topics?

As an experiment, I asked the Google Bard what it thought about how Google now evaluates reviews of services, media and other topics.

I found his thoughts very sensible.

How Google is now evaluating reviews about services, media and other topics

Google is now evaluating reviews about services, media and other topics in a number of ways. These include:

Relevance: Google looks at how relevant the review is to the topic being reviewed. For example, a review of a restaurant would be more relevant to a search for “restaurants near me” than a review of a movie.
Authority: Google looks at the authority of the reviewer. For example, a review written by a professional critic would be considered more authoritative than a review written by a casual user.
Trustworthiness: Google looks at the trustworthiness of the reviewer. For example, a review that is full of factual errors or that is clearly biased would be considered less trustworthy than a review that is objective and accurate.
Freshness: Google looks at how fresh the review is. For example, a review that is written shortly after the product or service was released would be considered more fresh than a review that is written several years later.
Engagement: Google looks at how engaging the review is. For example, a review that is well-written and that sparks discussion would be considered more engaging than a review that is simply a list of pros and cons.
Google also uses a number of other factors to evaluate reviews, such as the number of reviews, the average rating, and the consistency of the reviews.

Google’s April 2023 reviews update serves as a potent reminder of the company’s commitment to providing users with the most useful and relevant information possible.

The new signals that Google is using are more likely to favor reviews that are written by experts and that provide in-depth analysis.

Google is likely to favor reviews that are engaged with, such as reviews that are commented on and that are shared on social media. For example, a review that is commented on by several other users is likely to be considered more valuable than a review that is not commented on by any other users.

As a result, it may be more difficult for casual users to write reviews that rank well in Google’s search results.

By John Morris

John Morris is an experienced writer and editor, specializing in AI, machine learning, and science education. He is the Editor-in-Chief at Vproexpert, a reputable site dedicated to these topics. Morris has over five years of experience in the field and is recognized for his expertise in content strategy. You can reach him at [email protected].

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *