As expected, the Google November 2023 reviews update has started to roll out this week. It started on November 8, 2023 at about 12 pm ET. This will be the last time Google confirms a reviews update because it is now more of a regular update, compared to past reviews updates.
Google posted about the update on its search status dashboard saying, “Released the November 2023 reviews update. Learn more about how to write high quality reviews. Going forward, as the reviews system is now being improved at a regular and ongoing pace, we will no longer be posting about future updates on the status dashboard.”
Here is the tweet:
the November 2023 reviews update is also rolling out now (as per my last email: https://t.co/xny94FOVvn)
we’ll update the ranking release history page when the rollout is finished: https://t.co/hgjEkfpbA2
— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) November 8, 2023
Google told us last week that this specific update will “mark a point when we’ll no longer be giving periodic notifications of improvements to our reviews system, because they will be happening at a regular and ongoing pace.”
As a reminder, the last reviews update was a big one in that it no longer just impacted product reviews but also impacted products, services, and things in more general.
Here are the most important things that we know right now in short form:
Name: Google November 2023 Reviews Update
Launched: November 8, 2023 at around 12 pm ET
Rollout: It will take about one to two weeks to roll out
Targets: It looks at all review content, including products, services, destinations, games, movies, or other topics
Penalty: It is not a penalty, it promotes or rewards “insightful analysis and original research.”
Not a core update: Many are going to say this is a core update, it is not.
Several languages: English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Russian, Dutch, Portuguese, Polish.
Impact: Google would not tell me what percentage of queries or searches were impacted by this update.
Discover: This update can impact your performance in Google Discover, Google previously said.
Recover: If you were hit by this, then you will need to look at your content and see if you can do better with Google’s advice below
Refreshes: Google said this update is now regular and they won’t confirm future refreshes or updates.
Google also tweaked some of its reviews system documentation page for this update. The changes include:
Adding: “The reviews system is improved at a regular and ongoing pace.”
Removed the words “and updates to it” from this line, “What does this system and updates to it mean for my site?”
Removed this line: “Periodically, we improve how the reviews system works. When we do this in a notable way, we share this as a “reviews update” on our Google Search Status Dashboard.”
Updating this line: “Content impacted by the reviews system may recover over time, if you’ve made improvements to your content. However, note that our automated assessment of review content is only one of many factors used in ranking content, so changes can happen at any time for various reasons.”
As you know, Google is currently rolling out the November 2023 core update which will take about two weeks to roll out and overlap with this update. That core update is super volatile and heated, so good luck figuring out which update hit you. Of course, the November core update hit hard already, but it was still pretty heated through yesterday.
It will be hard to know if the ongoing heated core update is shaking things up for your site or if it is the reviews update.
My gut feeling is we have not yet seen the impact of the reviews update, not by the time I published this. I believe it has all been core update volatility up until this point. But I can easily be wrong.
Let’s take a look at just how heated and volatile the Google Search tracking tools are:
November 8, 2023 – November 2023 Reviews Update, is still rolling out
Google has revised its advice on how to write review content that Google Search rewards. You can review that advice over here. “Publishing high quality reviews can help people learn more about things they are considering, such as products, services, destinations, games, movies or other topics,” Google wrote. Here is Google’s best practices on this topic now:
Evaluate from a user’s perspective.
Demonstrate that you are knowledgeable about what you are reviewing—show you are an expert.
Provide evidence such as visuals, audio, or other links of your own experience with what you are reviewing, to support your expertise and reinforce the authenticity of your review.
Share quantitative measurements about how something measures up in various categories of performance.
Explain what sets something apart from its competitors.
Cover comparable things to consider, or explain which might be best for certain uses or circumstances.
Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of something, based on your own original research.
Describe how a product has evolved from previous models or releases to provide improvements, address issues, or otherwise help users in making a purchase decision.
Focus on the most important decision-making factors, based on your experience or expertise (for example, a car review might determine that fuel economy and safety are key decision-making factors and rate performance in those areas).
Describe key choices in how a product has been designed and their effect on the users beyond what the manufacturer says.
Include links to other useful resources (your own or from other sites) to help a reader make a decision.
Consider including links to multiple sellers to give the reader the option to purchase from their merchant of choice.
When recommending something as the best overall or the best for a certain purpose, include why you consider it the best, with first-hand supporting evidence.
Ensure there is enough useful content in your ranked lists for them to stand on their own, even if you choose to write separate in-depth single reviews.
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