Official – ‘Google Reviews Update’ Is Coming
Google is making some significant moves in the world of online reviews. In a recent Q&A about core updates, Google hinted at a forthcoming review system update.
It could have far-reaching implications for website owners. Particularly those heavily reliant on reviews for their online presence.
While there isn’t a wealth of information available about how it functions…
…it’s reasonable to assume that it operates using machine learning models and a classifier process, similar to Google’s Helpful Content System.
The documentation for the Reviews System doesn’t delve into specifics about signals or their role in the ranking process. It doesn’t even mention the generation of a signal.
Review System is designed to evaluate first-party content, such as articles, blog posts, or pages, created with recommendations, opinions, or analyses in mind. It doesn’t evaluate third-party reviews posted by users on product or service pages.
If a website’s primary content consists of reviews, the system evaluates all the content. However, if reviews are a secondary component, the evaluation occurs at the page level, not site-wide.
Now, here’s the big news – there’s a review system update coming soon. Nestled within Google’s Q&A documentation, the announcement is concise and to the point: “We expect an update to our reviews system to start rolling out next week.”
November will be a month of major updates, starting with the November Core Algorithm Update and the Reviews System Update. But there’s more. After next week’s Reviews System update, Google plans to transition to regular releases of updates and system improvements.
While the announcement doesn’t explicitly label this as a “rolling update,” it certainly seems to be following that pattern. A rolling update is one where a system is continually improved or modified on a regular basis.
So, what does all of this mean for website owners, especially those who rely on reviews? Historically, Google’s Reviews System updates have caused upheaval in the rankings.
As a result, publishers would have to wait for the next updates to the Reviews System before seeing any improvements.
The new direction toward regular updates could actually be good news for SEOs and publishers. To understand why, let’s look at a past example – the Penguin Update.
The Penguin Update was a major shift in search algorithms that turned the industry upside down. It affected websites of all sizes, from small businesses to large enterprises.
Early Penguin Updates caused months of turmoil for publishers whose search traffic plummeted. Much like the Reviews System updates, they had to wait for relief.
However, Google eventually updated the Penguin algorithm, making it a rolling update. This change led to real-time ranking adjustments. Publishers no longer had to endure prolonged periods of decreased visibility.
As a result of this experience, transitioning to regular updates for the Reviews System could help websites recover more quickly. While the specifics are unclear, the potential for real-time adjustments is promising.