Understanding Google’s Reviews Update

Understanding Google’s Reviews Update

We know that Google is constantly updating its core Algorithm to ensure its users see the most relevant results to their search queries. These updates are much more regular, on a monthly basis rather than once a quarter or once a year – they used to be bigger and less frequent. There is less fanfare around these updates now unless there is something notable; in April we have had exactly that. On the 12th of April 2023 Google released the Reviews Update.

Along with the update, Google Search Central released documentation to help webmasters and authors understand what kind of content Google is looking for. Worth mentioning here that this Reviews Update is not the only ranking deciding factor, it is just one thread of a multi-thread algorithm that decides a website’s ranking position in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).


In December 2022 Google announced its content quality paradigm called E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness). This new update adds an extra E to the paradigm, so we have E-E-A-T and the extra E stands for Experience. It is evident that the new update is looking for experience-based content for product reviews.

There has been rumors that reviews that added phrases such as “in my experience” or “my hands-on analysis” have increased rankings in the SERPs. This may be a coincidence, nonetheless it is clear that Google will be giving more preference to reviews that have more real-life experience rather than just words.

Experience – Signals

The Google Search Central documentation lists the below as signals of experience:

  • Visual Evidence – Actual photos of the product(s) being reviewed as opposed to stock images.
  • Audio – Will be different for each product, but a good example is an audio clip of how quiet (or loud) a product is.
  • Links to evidence of experience – links to others using the product or links to assets.
  • Quantitative measurements – actual numbers to represent a characteristic of a product, using the above noise example, adding the Decibels of a product will be beneficial.

Low Quality Reviews

This new update will help suppress the creation of new fake reviews, but if there are no high-quality reviews, then the lower quality ones may still surface. Some businesses may try to manipulate the new update by adding “hands on experience” phrases into reviews – these will be quite easy to spot.


Google Review Tips

  • Be Specific
  • Be Honest
  • Be Respectful
  • Be Balanced
  • Add Visual/Audio evidence
  • Provide a quantitative


If you need help making the most of your reviews then contact us to see how our SEO campaigns can make the most of your positive reviews.

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