If you recall, last Thursday, April 8, 2021 Google released a major product reviews update. Please familiarize yourself with iloveseo’s reporting on this update.
It’s been a rocky ride for so far, and industry chatter tells us that many sites have been negatively affected by the update.
For a quick recap: the update was supposed to target product and service review sites. The long and short of it is that one sentence reviews such as, “This product is great!” are no longer good enough.
Google had said the update would shake things up quite well, and indeed it has. It’s looking like there will be major ramifications for product review sites along with affiliate sites.
This is a quick overview of WebmasterWorld.com discussions on this update:
Wow traffic is off a cliff today, did wonder what was up, guess it must be this update.. I don’t have any product reviews or products on my site though so go figure!
Here too. Yesterday was much worse! My main site is about weather forecast. This update encompasses much more than they said.
Yes, much lower than a typical Friday. USA down 39% and Uk down 45% compared to last four Fridays. And that’s already from a much lower level after the Feb 13th and March 15th drops. I have zero product ratings so this update had nothing to do with that.
Not sure if it is relevant or not, but we saw a very significant spike in activity on both SEMR and GA (+130% KW in SEMR, +90% traffic increase in GA) leading up to the last week of March. (March 15-30th or so, it was gradual) Much of the new KW’s shown on SEMR were of little relevance and very generic to our very targeted content. For example, if we have pages that focus on “widget configuration for specific product”, we saw a large increase in the single word “widget” itself. This occurred across hundreds of pages where the generic product term was singular. Our bounce rate went up, time on site dropped, etc.
In the first week of April, all of this reversed direction and we not only lost the “widget” KW placements, but ALSO the “widget configuration for specific product” terms that we had very good relevance and exposure before the March surge.
I don’t tend to get too worried about placements on a month by month basis, since we generally see large increases like this, followed by similar corrections as they seem to test the user engagement on the pages, but this time, losing the longtail relevance is a new feature we’ve not seen before.
After the apparent Google algo update last week, pages that we had dominating core terms for years are nowhere to be seen on desktop for those same terms. While it seems they are maintaining their rankings on mobile devices. I wonder if anybody else has had similar issues for this past week? what do you think might be going on? what suggestions do you have?
There doesn´t seem to be a real pattern for the pages that were completely lost for some terms and those still doing fine. The closest thing I can think of is Core Web Vitals, specifically CLS. Our CLS is better for mobile than desktop, and the pages that are now ranking above us on desktop also have lower CLS metrics. Any thoughts?
I see a 24% drop from January and the keywords continue to drop (although I am not entirely sure how reliable is Semrush at this point). The Discover traffic still exists, which is better than last year after May and I have improved the core web vitals, but Google is very lazy in its search console, so I will have to wait a lot before actually seeing the improvements in the graphs. Semrush showed a 7.5 activity score yesterday, so I wait for the new mythical algorithm to go into action…
Clearly, the Product Reviews Update Has Been Significant
Based on these comments alone, it appears that The Product Reviews update has left many wondering exactly what the long term impacts will be.
We will continue observing what’s happening in the SERPs and as we move forward we’ll make sure to keep all of our loyal readers updated.