So recently (well April last year) we had had a product review Google update that focused on websites that ranked for reviews but where it appears, the author had no access to the products. Yes this is true, many of the so called reviews out there are written by content writers who have never seen, used or touched the products they are reviewing. They scour the websites and pretty much re-write the same information with the hope that reader will click on the affiliate links related to the products.
A basic article was written by Matt Southern on SEJ. Here is my version of this article
Google Review Algorithm Update
April Last year, Google released an algorithm upgrade that aims to reward product reviews that include in-depth, first-hand research.
To take advantage of the algorithm change, Google suggests creating unique material that isn’t available from the manufacturer.
So the question is whether modifying current photographs is sufficient to make them unique, or whether Google prefers original photos.
According to John Mueller, “unique” refers to images you’ve taken yourself, not photos that have been artificially altered or borrowed.
While Google’s algorithm can’t tell the difference between original and modified photographs automatically, the Quality Rater team will search for it during a manual inspection.
Primary Purpose Is To Only Rank Genuine Reviews
The primary purpose of Google’s product review algorithm upgrade is to promote material authored by users who have directly tested the product being reviewed.
Taking their own images of a product is one way an author can indicate they’ve personally tested it.
Using Stock Images
That isn’t to say that ranking with stock photos is impossible, because Google’s algorithm cannot distinguish between original and modified photos, you may find that sites featuring images from the product maker score fairly well. But lets be honest, if this process is repeated throughout an affiliate site, this will raise a big red flag.
When Google’s Quality Rater team examines product review search results, they’ll observe which sites use their own photos.
Soon, websites using stock photographs may no longer rank in the same positions as those using original photos, while websites using original photos may receive a boost.
This all does make sense, if you are doing a genuine review, you will be able to take a photograph of the relative product.
This exercise relates to content also, if you can touch and use the product you are in appositive to a unique opinion about it. This will prove the difference between genuine reviews and copy ones.