Google has recently updated its Place pages by removing third party online reviews. There are a variety of reasons for this, but one significant reason is likely due to an ongoing anti trust suit filed against Google. One of the issues was that Google places used reviews from Yelp, Tripadvisor, and other review sites which helped Google provide more value for the places product. But the bigger issue was when Google then started showing Google Places higher up in the rankings over these same sites they were pulling content from. In addition, the recent explosion in review generation on google directly is a contributing factor (“we don’t need your stinkin’ reviews!”). Not anymore anyway.
What does this mean for small and medium businesses? It makes life for SMBs and agencies a little more challenging because now they cannot track online reviews from Google Places alone. It is getting to the point that the web is becoming so saturated with review sites, blog sites and social media sites that it is hard to monitor them all. There is a greater need for a review monitoring service, especially to look for bad reviews. As a business owner, monitoring online reviews and chatter is very time-consuming if you have to go to log onto 20 or more sites to see if a new review or comment has been posted. You either need a team of people monitoring your online reputation or an online reputation management service like chatmeter.com.
An added concern that companies have had, is if their rankings are affected by this change? According to Mike Blumenthal, Will This Change my Rankings, this update to Google places was a surface update and does not actually affect company’s rankings. So, they are using the 3rd party reviews as references for Local SEO, just not showing them to consumers. Thus, it is still important to get regular reviews from a variety of sites to help you rank better and insure you have a strong presence and online reputation across the web. Chatmeter’s rank tracker will monitor your rankings for you as well. Rank Tracker
One more important aspect that Google still allows is to claim your local listing on Google Places. This is important because it lets the owner update the content on the page for accuracy, so the material on the page is accurate and represents your brand and service. Chatmeter helps identify this for agencies and franchises which may have hundreds of locations, so an automated solution is much more cost-effective. To learn more about our agency and enterprise solutions, click here. Agencies
As mentioned previously, everyday another blog, review site and social media site pops up making the web saturated with people’s opinions. This can be a huge threat if you’re not monitoring your reviews or simply ignoring them. Customer reviews are more valuable than ever (84% of consumers believe the reviews they read online). It takes a small investment, but can pay off significantly. Chatmeter is a simple, cost-effective way to help you manage your online reputation. For more information, click here: Chatmeter