Discover why Google’s April 2021 Product Review Update is good for bloggers who endorse products they actually use.
SEOs Flooding the Product Review Niche
Since 2018 Google has released so many major algorithm changes that it has become much harder for pro SEOs to get consistently high rankings for their clients.
In fact, I’ve seen one pro SEO after another quit their business, at least for client work.
And they are throwing all of that knowledge back into running their own sites.
Their favorite site type has become product reviews with affiliate links.
How it Works
Here’s an example of how a pro SEO might run a product review site.
He spins up a niche site for Kitchen Appliance Reviews that targets a U.S. based audience.
Then he outsources the content creation to a low-cost agency.
Let’s say the focus of one of the reviews is for blenders.
The content agency searches for the top 10 blenders on Amazon.
They read through all of the reviews and take note of the pros and cons of each blender on the list.
Then they spin that content into an ordered list of best and worst blenders.
Each product has an Amazon affiliate link.
Then they spin up 10 more sites that all backlink to one another, with most of the links going to this one primary niche site. That’s to give it more credibility.
The primary niche site then rises in rankings until it hits page 1 of Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
Searcher Intent Direct Match
Have you ever Googled something like “best blender” and then got 20 results of “Best Blender for 2021” or even “Best and Worst Blenders for April 2021” or such?
That’s their sites.
(FYI, you won’t see those type of results now that the Google update has rolled through.)
No More Gaming the System
In the example above, nobody involved with the niche site has ever used any of those blenders, or any other product reviewed.
The content is thin – not for the full post, but for each product.
And to keep hitting searcher intent, the posts were constantly tweaked for most current dates (like April 2021) and for product changes.
Google can very easily see the original publish date and last modified date for posts.
And all of that tweaking catches Google’s attention.
Plus, it doesn’t take all that long for Google to put 2 and 2 together with all the backlinks coming from junky sites.
And just as soon as Google takes down 1 of the 10 sites in the ring, then the pro SEO just spins up another, pays the low-cost agency to rewrite the content, and then revises the backlink pointing accordingly.
Google finally got wise to that too and started using indicators beyond backlinks to catch folks promoting this scheme.
The Google Product Review Update took all of the sites in the ring out of high-ranking SERPs.
Why This is Good for True Review Sites
Google is now focused on raising the ranking of sites that do in-depth product reviews – on a single product – not just a “best of” list where no one writing the content has ever used the products.
So, if you are an affiliate marketer, and you review a single product with lots of info that is truly useful to the reader, then your post now has a chance to rank.
If you do a comparison post where you actually demonstrate the differences between products, then your content now has a chance to rank.
What Won’t Change Rank
If you are an affiliate marketer and include a link to a product within your content that helped you create the thing that is the main focus of your post, then that is not a product review. It is an endorsement.
And you are not even trying to rank that post for it.
Google understands this and it’s not likely that this latest update will have any affect one way or the other on that post.
However, if you are providing your readers with valuable information throughout the whole post, your endorsement of the product you use to do it carries weight.
And that will be a more trusted purchase than any of these pro SEO review sites.
Can We Get Amazon to Care?
Pro SEOs were getting affiliate link purchases in – from 10 different sites.
You, as an affiliate marketing blogger in the DIY, foodie, or other niche, are putting a LOT more time in on your posts, and are putting you and your site’s reputation on the line to provide a WAY more credible endorsement of the same product.
Google now knows the difference.
I wonder if we can get Amazon to notice too, and up the payout for these bloggers who are giving a personal endorsement.
I’m not saying that will happen.
But what I am saying is that Amazon will notice the decline in sales from all of these pro SEO sites coming out of SERPs.
And maybe, just maybe, they will take notice of the smaller blogger sites still sending them sales.
And maybe they will want to encourage you to do more by providing extra perks and incentives.
We can dream and wish, right?
That may be all it is – a wish, but at least the tide is turning to give real bloggers a shot on Google again now.