Google has changed its algorithm yet again and this time it’s aimed at product review websites. As stated in Google’s latest announcement, informative and more in-depth product reviews will receive a rankings bump.
As Google explained to Search Engine Land:
We know people appreciate product reviews that share in-depth research, rather than thin content that simply summarizes a bunch of products. That’s why we’re sharing an improvement to our ranking systems, which we call the product reviews update, that’s designed to better reward such content.
It’s important to note that this update is not aimed at any customer-submitted reviews on an eCommerce site; rather, it’s aimed at websites that produce product review content to help improve the trustworthiness of a business. These websites not only inform consumers about your products but can also provide important backlinks for the business’ website.
So, what does this algorithm change mean for your eCommerce website? Before we answer that, let’s look at why Google is targeting product review sites now.
The Swift Advance of eCommerce: 10 Years in 3 Months
Thanks to Covid-19, eCommerce has soared in the past year. According to a recent report from McKinsey & Company, eCommerce saw approximately 10 years’ worth of growth within three months.
It makes sense — Covid-19 drove us all indoors and we were either too afraid or just not able to go to their favorite brick-and-mortar store. So what did we do? We went online and shopped.
The report also states that 75% of US consumers tried different stores, brands, and websites during the pandemic and 60% stated they expect to incorporate these new brands and stores into their post-Covid-19 life.
Of course, this also means that competition has become extremely stiff. It’s now essential to have a well-designed website as well as a marketing strategy to get your products shown throughout the internet. One such method is affiliate marketing — where your products are sent to a partnering website for a review. Unbiased product reviews can not only help increase your customer base but can also help your SEO by providing a link to your website. It’s a win-win — your website improves in the rankings and you gain new consumers through the affiliate.
But if that product review website producing weak content, this could have the opposite effect. Instead of getting people to buy, it could hurt your rankings and your brand’s presence on the search engines. Here’s how.
The Problem With Low-Quality Backlinks
Let’s say you own an eCommerce website. You want to bump up your SEO so you decide to improve your backlink profile to help improve the trustworthiness of your website. You find one website that says it can create a bunch of backlinks for you by creating blog websites with posts that link back to your site. Great idea! You purchase the services.
A few months go by and what happens? Your SEO starts going in the wrong direction.
But why? You thought backlinks would help, not hurt!
Well, yes and no. It all depends on the quality of backlinks. In fact, that’s the key to any SEO effort — quality, not quantity.
You want backlinks from high-authority, trustworthy websites that produce content that is authoritative and exhibits the expertise of the writer. If that content meets or exceeds expectations, the website is rewarded with a higher ranking in the search engine. If it doesn’t demonstrate these attributes, then their ranking won’t go very far.
But then there’s the opposite — the spammy website. These websites have little to no authority or were created for the sole purpose of increasing search rankings. These toxic backlinks will not only harm your own website’s ranking, but you can receive a penalty, hurting your rankings, or even have your website completely removed from the search engine.
How To Tell If a Backlink is Toxic
Backlink building is a process. It takes a lot of time and effort. And even though there are reputable services out there that will help with your backlink profile, you still need to keep an eye on who is linking your website and it’s helping your SEO efforts.
Here are a few signs that a backlink may be hurting rather than helping:
- As explained in the example above, the website was created solely for the purpose of creating a backlink to your website.
- The content where the website is linked is not topically relevant to your website.
- A link is forced into the comments on a blog article.
- The link is hidden on the site.
- The website is a money site.
Want Some Help With SEO? Yeah, We Can Do That
If you need help building up your eCommerce website’s presence online, you’ve turned to the right place. From website design to marketing and everything in between, Zen Agency can help get your products in front of the right people. Contact us today for more information on how we can help you.
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