Google released a very clear algorithm update on April 8, 2021 which rolled out for two weeks in April:
What’s fascinating to me is how so absolutely clear they were about this update.
Very often, Google will deny an update or be completely silent. Or they’ll use the stock phrase “there are thousands of small updates throughout the year.”
This one was crystal clear.
Better yet, for educational purposes, I have a test website that lost 90% of its traffic from this update.
So that test website is an Amazon Associates review website, centered around a tech product niche.
What’s interesting about that is it rose really high last year, with not too much effort, and I was surprised how well it was doing. It was outranking some established magazines for really solid terms.
I had one page in particular, that I built one anchor-rich link to and that page was my #1 page, doing 80%+ of revenue.
The thing is, I was extremely surprised it ever ranked well. By all metrics it should have ranked at the bottom of page 1 for the product review keyword term (think “best xyz for abc” style). But it was ranking for the broad product keyword, outranking Amazon and other big magazines.
It should have never ranked #1. But it did and I was pleased. But also had a strong feeling that it was unsustainable.
That page matched practically all the red flags on this list:
For those creating content, here are some additional useful questions to consider in terms of product reviews. Do your reviews:
- Express expert knowledge about products where appropriate?
- Show what the product is like physically, or how it is used, with unique content beyond what’s provided by the manufacturer?
- Provide quantitative measurements about how a product measures up in various categories of performance?
- Explain what sets a product apart from its competitors?
- Cover comparable products to consider, or explain which products might be best for certain uses or circumstances?
- Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of a particular product, based on research into it?
- 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?
- Identify key decision-making factors for the product’s category and how the product performs in those areas? For example, a car review might determine that fuel economy, safety, and handling 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?