As expected, Google has released the November 2023 reviews update today on November 8, 2023 at around 12 pm ET. This will be the last time Google announces a reviews update because, as it said, “because they will be happening at a regular and ongoing pace.”
Google posted, “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..”
No more announcements. Google said, “we’ll no longer be giving periodic notifications of improvements to our reviews system.” We have had a total of 8 reviews updates confirmed by Google since the first reviews update launched in April 2021.
What is new. Besides for this update no longer being confirmed by Google going forward, Google said the update is happening at a “regular and ongoing pace.” That makes it sound like the reviews update is now a more real-time update. So changes to your site, for better or worse, may be reflected with this reviews system in more real-time that just when Google pushes out a new update to the reviews system.
This update still is a global update that impacts these languages; English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Russian, Dutch, Portuguese, Polish.
Product reviews to reviews update. With the last reviews update, the April 2023 reviews update, Google stopped naming them the product reviews update and started calling them just the reviews update.
This made the reviews update go beyond Google’s prior product reviews updates to evaluate reviews of any topic that is reviewable, including:
- Services and businesses.
- Media (e.g., games, movies).
November core update overlapping. Yes, Google is currently rolling out another update at the same time, the November 2023 core update. Sites may see an impact from both the core update and the reviews update. It may be hard to know which update impacted your site.
But we did see the November core update so far have touched down in a big way almost immediately after it launched on November 2nd. We saw a lot of Google search volatility from the 2nd through the 5th of November related to the core update and even more movement reported this morning.
Previous reviews updates. Here are all the previous reviews updates:
- April 2021 reviews update, April 8, 2021
- December 2021 reviews update, December 1, 2021
- March 2022 reviews update, March 23, 2022
- July 2022 reviews update, July 27, 2022
- September 2022 reviews update, September 20, 2022
- February 2023 reviews update, February 21, 2023
- April 2023 reviews update, April 12, 2023
- November 2023 reviews update, November 8, 2023
Why we care. If your website publishes any type of review content, this will be an important update to watch. Check your rankings to see whether your organic traffic improves, declines or stays the same.
Google on high-quality reviews. So what does Google consider a high-quality review? Google has shared 14 best practices (note that these are not new):
- 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.