After Yelp announced it’s new review solicitation penalty in November, companies are now talking about the pros and cons of inorganic review creation and the risks it puts on the local search industry as a whole. The act of asking for reviews has raised many questions about who is policing the review industry and actively stopping companies from “gaming” the system or offering customers incentives for leaving positive reviews. Google has joined the governing force, Yelp, Chatmeter, and many others by updating their policies to ensure review legitimacy on their search directories, platforms, partners, and customers globally.
Products and services exist to solve a problem, enhance the consumer's life and make tasks easier. This concept is why between 80 and 85% of consumers are using search to find local products and services - local search applications (Google Maps) have been designed to make our lives easier.
Over 80% of people now search the web to find local information, that's up 30% from just about 5 years ago. The concept of local search and the frequency by which customers use it to find and discover local businesses has exploded over the recent years, but customers are just begining to learn how effective it really is.
Together, smartphones and the internet have placed an endless amount of information literally in the hands of consumers. People have become accustomed to finding the answers to any problem at a moment's notice.
Google continues to enhance users’ experience by becoming more intuitive with its local search results
Earlier this year, Google began releasing FILTERS which gave users the ability to sort local search results by things like “price”, “star rating” and “operating hours”. Now, Google has taken it one step further by understanding user intent and automatically applying those filters on its own. It has taken even more control of the search results to bring you the most relevant options.
82% of local searchers follow up with either a store visit, phone call, or purchase, making local search the best way to drive more customers into your store. By optimizing your website with local keywords, you help search engines to understand where your business is located and what you offer, which leads to better rankings in more relevant searchers.
You may remember the controversy that erupted when Google decided to walk away from Google+ for businesses. Google+ Business Listings connected company profiles not just to the Google Maps and search results, but more importantly, to their customers. But that is about to change, again...
Have you ever noticed Google prompting you to answer a couple of questions after visiting a local business? For example, after checking in at a restaurant, Google will want to know whether or not there was free parking and what the ambiance was like. The search engine giant is not just trying to get to know you for fun, it is mining information from customers about the places they visit to help them create attributes.
Google’s latest update makes it clear: They know just how important reviews are in a customer’s decision making processes
A business’s reviews are one of the fastest and most reliable ways for customers to determine whether a business is good or bad. Reviews are so efficient and reliable that 91% of people now regularly or occasionally read reviews when deciding on which business they should visit.
Google’s local search is your first step towards increases store traffic
When it comes to optimizing for Google local search, what is more important than accurate business listing information? Nothing! Google My Business signals such as listing name, category, and listing description account for nearly 20% of how Google ranks businesses in the local search results.