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Google Reviews is a system that allows users to submit and read reviews of businesses on the Google search engine and Google Maps. When a user searches for a business on Google, the business's Google My Business listing will display its overall rating based on the reviews it has received and the individual reviews themselves.
Businesses can respond to reviews left by customers, whether positive or negative. This allows businesses to address concerns, thank customers for their feedback, and demonstrate their commitment to customer satisfaction.
Google’s April 2023 Reviews update is about signals of experience. This blog from the Keeping Up with Google series aims to provide you with the latest news and updates from Google in April 2023, including algorithm updates, changes in Google My Business, new features in Google Ads, and more so that you can adjust your digital marketing strategy accordingly. Let’s get into it.
Google Algorithm Updates
Every now and then, Google introduces changes in the form of updates so that your search results are relevant and have high quality. The update in April had everyone talking about the ‘Reviews Update.’
April 12: April 2023 Reviews Update
Google has changed its reviews system, updating its documentation to reflect the transition from 'product reviews' to simply 'reviews.’ The update was announced by Google on April 12 and aims to raise the bar on product reviews.
The update makes the new review system more than just product reviews. This update aims to recognize and appreciate high-quality reviews that offer knowledge and experience that can benefit the readers. The focus is on promoting high-quality reviews that are insightful and demonstrate expertise.
The impact of Google's updated review system on websites that contain reviews beyond just product reviews is expected to be intriguing. These sites will now be subject to evaluation by Google's review system, which could result in notable fluctuations.
Why You Should Care
It's important to pay attention to how your website is ranking if you provide general review content. Take a look at your Google organic traffic to see if there have been any changes. Did it increase, decrease, or remain steady?
Businesses must create unique product review content that sets them apart from competitors. Comprehensive and distinct reviews capture the attention of potential customers and help retain them. Websites with a significant volume of review content can see the impact at a site-wide level. On the other hand, for websites with only a few reviews, the system will assess the content more on a page-by-page basis.
Besides the big April update that came in the form of the ‘Reviews’ update, here are some other updates that took place.
21st April: Document Rankings System Update
Another Google update that came on 21st April 2023 was the Document Rankings System Update. Google will be removing a total of four ranking systems from the list. This includes removing three ranking systems, namely mobile-friendly ranking, page speed, and secure sites systems, from the retired list.
Besides, Google has removed the page experience system from the main list but has not added it to the retired list. It's worth considering whether any of these ranking systems were ever significant or actual factors in Google's search ranking algorithms.
While it's been repeatedly claimed that all of these ranking algorithms were relatively minor and had a negligible impact on rankings, this update may be further evidence of that. The removal of these systems raises the question of why Google chose to do so. As you may know, Google recently announced that it would be dropping the page experience system, which was more of a concept than an actual ranking system.
24th April: Web Crawlers’ Documentation Updated
Google has recently updated its "Verifying Googlebot and other Google crawlers help" document to include a new section that describes the three categories or types of crawlers that they use. These categories are the Googlebot crawler, special-case crawlers, and user-triggered crawlers.
This update, which came on 24th April, may have been prompted by the buzz around the new GoogleOther crawler, which many people became somewhat fixated on.
19th April: GA4 Fractional Cross-Channel Conversion Credit Imported Into Google Ads
Google also released an update that allows Google Ads to import cross-channel web conversion credits with fractional attribution from Google Analytics 4 properties. This new feature will allow Google Ads to gather more accurate data and improve its conversion automation and bidding strategies by using a larger set of conversion credits.
Previously, web conversions were only imported into Google Ads on a cross-channel last-click basis and were attributed based on the selected attribution model. This resulted in no conversions being imported into Google Ads if the last click was not from Google Advertising.
However, with this upgrade, fractional cross-channel conversion credit will now be imported into Google Ads, even if the last non-direct click was not from Google advertising.
According to Google, this update will lead to more accurate measurements and better optimization.
Google Vehicle Ads Now Open To Canadian Advertisers
After launching as a beta in January 2022 and becoming available to all US advertisers in March of the same year, Google's vehicle ads are now also available to Canadian advertisers starting in April 2023.
According to Google, vehicle ads are a performance-focused, omnichannel, lower funnel ad format that allows auto advertisers to promote their entire inventory to customers who are interested in purchasing a vehicle on Google.com.
The vehicle ads format includes an image of the car along with essential details such as make, model, price, kilometers, and advertiser name. Customers can click on the ad to visit the Vehicle Description Page (VDP) on the advertiser's website, where they can perform various actions like contacting the dealer, submitting a lead form, or taking other steps before visiting the dealership.
Google plans to expand the availability of vehicle ads to more countries in the future. This new ad format offers a unique opportunity for auto advertisers to showcase their inventory and reach interested customers who are actively searching for a vehicle to purchase.
The buzz in April was all about Google’s Reviews update. And not so surprisingly, the internet had a lot to say about it.
One of the most prominent names in the SEO industry, Dr. Marie Hyanes, shared details regarding the update.
On the other hand, Barry Schwartz shared the impact of the update via a series of tweets.
That concludes our updates for the month of April! Stay tuned for the upcoming Google updates in May. We will keep a close watch on the SEO world and report back with any changes that might affect you in the next edition of Keeping Up With Google!
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