The highly anticipated Google April Review Update finished rolling out on April 26th, and its implementation took approximately thirteen days to complete. As this was not a core update, something confirmed by different sources, the April 2023 Review Update drops the term “Product” from the updated terminology. From now on, review updates will focus on more than just products and include everything from traveling to media. The April update was first rolled out on April 12th, targeting all online review content for products, movies, services, or destinations. Therefore, its impact was significant for many websites.
The update has caused volatility in the market, although not as much as it would be visible in the case of a core update. Certain websites have registered a gradual increase in interactions with the products or services offered. In contrast, others have suffered significant drops in visibility, especially from clients in the US or Canada. Periods of increased volatility were recorded in Ahrefs and SEMrush mainly on the 25th of April, i.e., the day before the rollout was complete. The April update is the first algorithm upgrade implemented by Google that aims to change the used terminology and the focus of the analytics across reviews. The update has caused a SEMrush volatility score of 8+, indicating significant algorithm changes affecting many sites.
This update’s primary purpose was to expand experience importance in online reviews. With this search engine algorithm change, Google is promoting sites that offer a detailed analysis of reviewed content, with the algorithms emphasizing visual and audio experiences. The update was accompanied by new documentation, which modified the terms used, scraped the term “product,” and built upon the Double E-EA-T paradigm launched by Google in December 2022. What is the double E-EA-T concept? It’s a new addition to the EAT paradigm, which stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. In the terminology, the extra “E” stands for experience, and this is the focus of the April Review Update.
The new double E-EA-T paradigm puts a high emphasis on the visual factor found in online reviews. What does this mean? Google’s algorithms will reward articles that contain personal photos of the featured products/locations/services. This mainly has two purposes. For one, Google is sorting out online reviewers who did not have access to the subject matter of the article. Secondly, it encourages personal experiences, hopefully increasing the quality of the written reviews. The new documentation released with the April 2023 update also highlights the importance of review quality versus article length. It also emphasizes the significance of the audio factor, which could, in the case of a review of an industrial product, for example, relate to how noisy the subject is.
The update was rolled out internationally and was Google’s sixth product review update since 2021. The April 2023 algorithm change affected sites written in English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Russian, Dutch, Portuguese, and Polish, and increased volatility could be seen in the analytics data reported by Ahrefs and SEMrush between April 20th and 25th. The new update only affects articles, blogs, or texts written on the main pages of websites and does not punish domains based on third-party reviews, such as those written by users in the comment sections of a product listing.
Like the other product reviews before it, the April 2023 Review update is primarily aimed at rewarding sites that write quality reviews and that follow the E-A-T paradigm implemented by Google for more than a decade. The rollout is not considered a core update for the American giant’s algorithms, but at the same time, the impact of the rollout in the few days since it was completed is significant for many sites. As a general rule, the update affects each page individually. What does this mean? In short, if you own a site that only occasionally posts reviews, then the update will not affect you that much. However, if your entire site focuses on reviews, the algorithm changes will likely impact your SERPs rankings.
The SEO strategy you will need to follow after the implementation of the April 2023 Review update will depend on which area of activity your website is operating in. The update has only affected sites that actively deal with reviews, so if your topic of action is not listed here, it is very likely your SERPs rank will remain unchanged. If, instead, your site consistently posts reviews, then you will need to shift your approach towards the Double E-EA-T paradigm.
The content you post must be original and prove you had a direct experience with the products/services/locations you are reviewing. A good idea might be to use measurements, compare products or services side-by-side, take original photos, and follow the fourteen steps provided by Google for writing in-depth reviews. These fourteen steps are not new, and their existence predates the April 2023 update, but their relevancy is just as significant now as it was a couple of months ago. A professional SEO company like GAMIT can help you understand and better organize your strategy to fully and correctly implement Google’s guidelines.
Your review must be tackled from the user’s perspective, and you must demonstrate that you are knowledgeable about the subject through the sources you use and the information you provide. The presentation should highlight technical or objective differences between products/locations/services. If you want to offer affiliate links to the subject of the review, then a good idea would be to present the reader with more than just one option.
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As a co-founder and managing director of GAMIT I am the first contact of our clients. My job includes setting project objectives and offering SEO consulting advice to customers. My professional background and experience working in the SEO industry are essential in developing efficient SEO strategies and designing innovative techniques.