Google’s New Emphasis on it’s Own Reviews
Google has changed the layout of their Google Places yet again. In fact…they have removed all references to other review sites except for user reviews from Google. It is widely known the issues Google has had with Yelp, TripAdvisor, and other review sites in the past, it seems they have done away with listing these 3rd party reviews in lieu of their own. With the popularity of local search and the rush for placement, Google is constantly changing it’s features and placement of items on a regular basis. Google announced this new look on Thursday and mentioned that there are still more changes to hit soon. With a new emphasis on Photos to show the business and it’s products/services it’s clear that they are helping businesses target their audience who recognize their businesses from the pictures.
Some other changes are apparent with their new emphasis on their own reviews (big surprise). It only makes sense that they trust their own reviews more than other sites because they can control the authenticity of these reviews easier. With the rash of outsourced reviewers from countries such as India and the Philippines, Google is beginning to crack down on these bogus reviews in place of those placed from Google users.
You will notice the BIG RED “Write a Review” button to encourage their users to write reviews right from Google Places. This gives them greater control to manage people who post reviews for a restaurant in New Jersey from their office in Hyderabad, India.
While citation sites may still play a role in authenticating the place of business, it’s clear that external reviews are now gone from Google Places. This is both good and bad. Bad for all the companies who have accumulated excellent reviews from their customers (which no longer count towards their popularity), and good for companies who would like to get more reviews.
It has been very difficult for Social Marketing agencies to help companies instruct small business’s loyal fans on how to write reviews. They would have a lengthy instruction manual starting with how to sign up for an account on Yelp, or Judy’s Book. Then end with a convoluted explanation on how to post the correct company name (spelled exactly like this…), address, and Phone number. Now, it’s plain simple…..”Click the red button when you find us on Google Places”. This should make it much easier for businesses to obtain more reviews. This will also start a brand new wave of massive reviewing to rank their places listings.
So whether you are looking for a great restaurant in your area, or marketing for other companies….you can expect more changes to come with Google Places.
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