Google Places made a substantial change yesterday that impacts your star ratings on the Google Places page. Previously, Google combined reviews from across multiple review sites to give you an average star rating and displayed reviews from other sites such as Yelp, DealerRater, Insider Pages etc. above Google “user” reviews.
Effective immediately, the star rating Google Places shows for your dealership is only from Google user reviews and the links to the other review sites on the Places page are now only at the bottom of the page. Other review sites still show up prominently in the main organic search and also on the map listings.
This could either hurt or help your dealership, depending on the number and type of reviews you have generated by Google users.
Why the change? Speculation is that Google “used” the other review sites early on when they didn’t have their own reviews but now that they have their own volume of reviews they don’t need the other sites anymore and want to make their own pages and reviews more valuable. Additionally, a week ago Yelp made a presentation to the Conference of Western Attorney Generals about Google strong arming review sites to provide content for free so this may have also impacted the change and timing of the change.
“Based on careful thought about the future direction of Place pages, and feedback we’ve heard over the past few months, review snippets from other web sources have now been removed from Places pages.
Rating and review counts reflect only those that have been written by fellow Google users. We’re continuing to provide links to other review sites so you can get a comprehensive view of locations.”
Google Places Product Manager
New Google Places Review Features
Google Places listing – your review count will now be lower as it only shows reviews from Google users on Google. This could reduce your overall star rating. You’ll also notice that partial reviews from other review sites are no longer showing up next to the star rating average at the top.
Links to other Review Sites – these links have titled “Reviews from around the web” and they been moved to the very bottom of the Places page, below any Google User reviews.
Google Maps – the star rating is still only from Google Reviews but – for now at least – they are pulling in review quotes and links to other review sites. As you can see here, they are showing different review sites for each listing.
Google Organic Search Results – all review sites are still coming up prominently, and they still pull in partial reviews. The “quick look” icon pulls in not only the actual image from the review site but in this case it is now highlighting the response from the dealership to the review. This is why responding to all reviews is so important and it is part of the service we provide to all of our clients.
You’ll see in this example, the response to a positive review is coming up instead of a negative review…this is because of the work we do to link to positive reviews to make them more “popular” in the search engine results.
Here is how Digital Air Strike can help:
- Ensure Google Places Page for Business is set up correctly – we will be in contact with you if we require any additional information to access your Google Places account so we can update the content and respond to reviews on your behalf. Most of our clients have provided us with the information we need but if you have not, it is now more important than ever to provide this to our team.
- Respond to Google Reviews and Tag them – we will continue to respond to reviews, send you alerts and tag them. With the addition of “write a review” button, your dealership will now most likely get more reviews on this site and they are even more visible so you can rest assured that Digital Air Strike will stay on top of this for you.
- Review Surge for Google Reviews – if you are not already participating in our new service to help you get more positive reviews, now it is the time to start. This new program surveys your customers and targets the happy customers and specific review sites like Google, where you may need more positive reviews. The results can literally occur overnight to increase the number of positive reviews and your star ratings.