It may not have happened yet to your businesses’ Google Places, but soon you will be seeing a new look to the review section of Google Places. As with all changes Google, this can be either good or bad news for the local small business. But first below is how it looks:
Talking the time to make it as easy as possible for customers to review your business on a variety of sources just got a big shot in the arm. Google made the decision to place the third party reviews above the fold and above Google’s own reviews. Most people do not scroll so reviews that are placed directly on Google may not be seen. Potentially, your best reviews on Google will be hidden behind old content from years ago on third party sites. On the positive side, a review on Yahoo shows not only on Yahoo local, but in Google as well. Total exposure is the goal, not just showing well on Google.
The first third party site displayed is the review site that has the most reviews (opentable.com above), then up to two other third party sites (yelp.com & tripadvisor.com) are displayed.
It is somewhat technical, but Google has also announced the development of “Rich Snippets” for local search which means that testimonials placed on your website could be aggregated on Google Places and treated as a review.
Key take home points
- Create a review page to make it easy for people to see and review your business
- Consider updating testimonials on your website so Google will capture and place them on Google Places
- Do not concentrate on Google as the only place to direct good customers to review you.
My guess is that Google is continuing to develop Google places as the prime access point for smart phones to use for local business. So keep up and continue to provide and link information about your business on a variety of local third party websites.