SEO News You Can Use

SEO News You Can Use: Google’s September 2022 Product Review Update Almost Complete

Google’s fifth Product Review Update is officially underway amidst the latest Core Update rollout. 

Google announced the rollout on Twitter on September 20, and although most updates take around two weeks to complete, Google went on to tweet that this time the rollout may be completed in as little as a week. In fact, the July 2022 rollout only took five days to complete. This means that you may already start to see some volatility.

There have been two significant updates in the past month: the Helpful Content Update (HCU) and the Broad Core Update. So, you’re forgiven for finding it a challenge to determine which update to attribute the changes in your reports to.

Google clarified that the impact is likely caused by the September 2022 Product Review Update if you publish product reviews. If not, it’s more than likely due to the Core Update.

When considering the aforementioned Helpful Content Update, it’s important to note that the HCU could amplify any other updates. So, you may see more of an impact than experienced with previous product review updates. Additionally, those previously unaffected may now start to see changes in rankings.

The main aim of this update is to urge website owners to create high-quality product review pages that offer detailed information and value to potential customers. Although it may feel like a penalty to those affected, it is quite the contrary. In fact, Google rewards high-quality product reviews, which essentially may push your competitor’s rankings up and yours down. 

Google places particular emphasis on reviews written by those who have tried and tested the products personally, offering insights different from those provided by the provider. This update, however, only applies to long-form reviews, offering insights on competitors’ product comparisons, pros and cons and photos or videos. 

So if your website only publishes customer reviews rather than long-form product reviews, this update shouldn’t affect you as they are treated differently.

Take a look at the Help Doc providing suggestions on how to write good product reviews. In addition, Google has added three new tips regarding recommendations for “best product” reviews, whether to create a single or various reviews for multiple products and whether product review updates apply to comparison reviews and ranked lists.

Visit the Google Search Ranking Updates page to find out when the rollout is complete. 

More SEO News You Can Use

Google Picks Up Most Spam, but Can It Affect Your Search Rankings?: Spam content is all too common on websites these days and can have a negative effect on brand image and search rankings. Although Google can detect blatant hacks, it’s likely that whatever content is on your website will be considered, said John Mueller, Google Search Liaison. Search Engine Roundtable recently reported on a Twitter thread where professionals discussed the effects of spam content on websites as a result of being hacked. The consensus is that the onus is on the website owner to manage any security issues and ensure that the site is free of unwanted content. Once this has been done, search results should even out over time. 

Google SEO Office Hours: Should Stop Words Be Included in URLs: Stop words, such as ‘a’, ‘and’ or ‘the,’ are generally considered unnecessary in URLs and therefore removed. However, many are still unsure whether stop words used in URLs affect search engine optimization (SEO). It turns out that words in URLs are not an important ranking factor and neither are stop words. Google’s John Mueller suggests focusing on evergreen URLs that are meaningful and useful to users instead. In other words, if a stop word will help to make the URL read more naturally and likely make the user want to click through to the content, then adding a stop word would be best. It’s not recommended to force a keyword into a URL. If, however, keywords are used, it’s best to separate them using hyphens. For tips on URL best practices, visit the Google Help Doc or watch Google SEO Office Hours with John Mueller

Chrome Uses ‘Freeze Dried Tabs’ To Speed Up Sites by Up to 20 Percent: Google has found a way to speed up websites significantly. The technology known as ‘Freeze Dried Tabs’ uses interactive screenshots that are scrollable and can be combined with clickable links, taking it one step further than screenshot placeholders, according to Search Engine Journal. The idea is to improve the user experience by integrating the concept of a screenshot and an interactive website. This mainly helps in transitional processes in cold startups, for instance, when the browser initially loads, or a user switches from one tab to another. This would drop the average website loading time from 3.4 to 2.8 seconds.

Wix Partners With Semrush, Offering Users New SEO Insights: Wix made an exciting announcement on September 22, 2022, stating that it will collaborate with Semrush to provide keyword and SEO insights like search intent and keyword difficulty. These metrics are free to all Wix users and can be accessed straight from their dashboards. Those using a free Semrush account will start with 10 keywords per day; however, those using Semrush’s paid version will have much more options available to them. Once your top keywords have been identified, you can then use them to complete your Wix SEO Setup Checklist to help optimize your Wix website for search engines.

Yoast SEO 19.7 Plugin Clash Results in Website Crashes: The Yoast SEO WordPress plugin version 19.7 recently caused fatal errors to various websites, and it’s not the first time, according to Search Engine Journal. This is the third time that Yoast has experienced clashes with plugins. The errors occurred after an update to Yoast SEO’s coding, which was in conflict with the plugin, causing them to function improperly and essentially cancel each other out. Yoast announced that the bug causing the error has been identified and has since been fixed. Users affected were advised to update to the latest version.

Editor’s Note: “SEO News You Can Use” is a weekly blog post posted every Monday morning only on SEOblog.com, rounding up all the top SEO news from around the world. Our goal is to make SEOblog.com a one-stop-shop for everyone looking for SEO news, education and for hiring an SEO expert with our comprehensive SEO agency directory.

Robynn Farrell

Robynn is a content editor and writer at SEOblog. With 3+ years of experience in digital marketing, she specializes in trend analysis, content creation, planning and editing. When she’s not soaking up the sun at the beach or on hikes, you’ll find her puttering about the garden, painting or spending quality time with her couch, binge-watching series.

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