How Many Reviews Are Needed to Show Stars in the New Map List View?

Peter Troast of asked a great question in the comments to my post about the new visuals for the (now named) Maps List View -aka Places Search- result:

Also seems like the # of reviews threshold is shifting for display. For zero reviews, “Be the first to review” appears right under company name. From 1-__, it looks as if nothing appears at all (in contrast to the old “3 Google Reviews.” I’ve seen a couple 5 review listings that displayed the new stars (yeah!), and several 8’s and 9’s, so it appears the 10 review threshold is coming down. Anyone figured out what the new threshold is? Certainly seems like nowheresville for 1-4.

The answer is 5. It takes 5 reviews for Google to show the stars. On these searches for restaurants surfaces results with a range of lower review totals. Obviously we do not yet know how or when they will update the main search results display to stars and whether this will apply.


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How Many Reviews Are Needed to Show Stars in the New Map List View? by

35 thoughts on “How Many Reviews Are Needed to Show Stars in the New Map List View?”

  1. Yes we have once again traveled back to the future. Only now they are red instead of gold.

    do you see that staying the same for the future?

    Google’s definition of the “future” (you will think I am kidding but I am not) is 3 months or one management change whichever comes first.

    So to answer your question from that point of view: yes.

  2. It’s amazing how many times google has changed the whole “Plus” platform. Gets to be almost annoying, as every change they make doesn’t seem to make the whole system any better. Okay…enough ranting. Mike I’ve enjoyed your fantastic info on all things Google+. Keep it up!

  3. Yeah, I’ve also been finding some 4’s this morning, and thought Eric Christopher (in comments on prior post) was on to something with the average score being the trigger, but Radina seems to have blown that theory.

  4. The rule of 5 is correct. However if a business has misplaced but not lost reviews it will still show the star rating as though they have 5 reviews. For instance, many businesses would have less than 10 reviews still had the Zagat rating. These businesses were the victim of temporarily misplaced reviews. I could actually tell which clients would retrieve their lost reviews based upon whether or not they still maintained the Zagat rating. A hair salon called me panicked as she went from 27 reviews to 8 and lost positioning. Yet she still maintained her Zagat rating which I found odd. I went out and found other businesses with under ten reviews that had a Zagat rating and compiled a list. All of these businesses reacquired their reviews. You will find all of the businesses under 5 reviews that have a star rating have temporarily lost reviews. I am absolutely certain of this. Mike you are correct on the 5 star system. I visited a business this evening that had 4 reviews once I wrote the fifth the star rating appeared. A business with under 5 reviews with a star rating is the exception, not the rule.

  5. Yeah, I’ve also been sentence some 4?s this morning, and thinking Eric Christopher (in comments on prior post) was on to impressive with the common score being the trigger, but Radian seems to have blow that theory.

  6. @Radina I went back a couple pages on that search term and found a really interesting one.

    ZERO reviews – yet 4.3 red stars.

    @Kyle, you might be onto something.

    But I used a trick that often finds lost reviews and can’t find any for the business above. Wonder if it’s counting ratings even if no review is given?

    That G+L page has Zagat score too, even though no reviews.

    I started thinking maybe the 4.3 stars came from reviews directly on Zagat that are not showing on Google. I searched Zagat and can’t find that business listing. So who knows where that score is coming from?

  7. I keep going back mentally to the example that was given by Radina. Keep in mind that Mothers Day just passed and the example was florists. The two times of year when the most flowers are delivered and reviews are written for florists: Mothers Day & Valentines Day. With a high number of reviews just written for that particular industry you will see many of them may have been filtered or lagging to show. I have seen instances where reviews were written and did not appear for several weeks. Then multiple reviews appear all at the same time with older posting dates. My theory is still that these businesses have more reviews than what are actually showing. I noticed a significant loss of reviews for businesses when new formats rolled out (Places- Plus). Once the reviewer would go into his or her profile and update to the option to a public review or refresh the review the review would then reappear. Many of my clients have customers they deal with on a weekly basis so they have a lot of reviews. So when they have lost reviews they call me in a panic asking how to reacquire these lost reviews. I work with the businesses often to make sure their customers voice is heard so I have noticed issues most may not have ever been aware of on the Google review front. Conclusion: with the recent roll out of this new format there may have been lost reviews but they are still out there in a form of purgatory (may not be permanent like a Places Purgatory). Casting my ballot for the rule of 5. KEEP your eyes peeled everyone love the discussions.

  8. Is it true that Google has allowed certain companies to be verified reviewers? I thought that changed a couple of years ago. A few of my clients have been approached by a company who says the will interview their patients and can submit the reviews directly to Google. Is that legit?

  9. @Kelly
    It is absolutely untrue. the guidelines are quite clear: Reviews should describe your personal, first-hand experience with a specific place. Don’t post reviews based on someone else’s experience,

  10. We had a client with the Zagat rating and 11 reviews. As of Monday morning we lost our rating and 4 reviews. We are not doing anything shady or different then we have done for the last 8 years.
    Any ideas why? Getting in touch with Google or a response is impossible.

    1. Google has a review spam filter that runs through the reviews periodically and takes down ones that don’t meet its standards. Their standards are based on the broad stroke of an algo and thus sometimes take down good reviews with the bad.

  11. I’ve got 9 reviews on my real estate biz page and am still not getting stars in the results. In organic, or even our adwords express ads that should be showing stars as well. I was told by Adwords support the first time that I needed 5. The next time I called I needed 10. We’ll see once I get that tenth if anything changes.

  12. Our Google Places page just received a 5th review, but no stars appear. I wonder if Google has updated or if there is a delay before the stars start showing.

  13. I have 11 5 star google reviews. We were listed in the star section for many different key words, For some reason, about 6 weeks or so ago, I have COMPLETELY disappeared from the Google section showing businesses with 5 star reviews. Can anyone explain why that would be? I feel it has effected our call volume despite we are listed as number one.

  14. We have 5 reviews, all 5-stars, but the listing shows
    4.8 stars. Is there an explanation for this & anything I can do to raise it to a solid 5?

  15. Google’s entire ecosystem is a complete mess. All this nonsense about reviews not showing up and/or stars not appearing is a symptom of Google’s terrible software design, it’s as simple as that. These are very simple things which should just work the way people expect them to but what I constantly find with Google is that their products are a mess which rarely work properly and do nothing but frustrate and provoke complaints. In addition to this they frequently redesign their crap in such a way as to make the things you want very difficult to find, and oftentimes there appears to be no rhyme nor reason to it. Just look at what they’ve done to YouTube over the years – the control panels and options pages are frequently moving around and things get put in the most illogical, non-intuitive places. Not only that but options frequently don’t work properly.

    I’ve come to look upon Google products as a crapshoot. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. It appears to be about 50/50. I work a lot with Google calendars and they are constantly breaking staple functionality like calendar syncing which in my case actually results in incorrect invoices being sent out. They are completely unprofessional and seem to have no idea of how businesses require software to function – I suspect this is because most of their coders and designers are nerds with little in the way of real world business experience. And then they claim to be a viable alternative to things like Microsoft Office.

    1. Patience Andrew, patience…. you have gotten most of your reviews in the past week and it will take some time for the Google calculator to catch up with your aggressive review solicitation.

      That being said as a user and I assume to Google the rate that you have gotten these look a little suspicious so don’t be surprised if you lose a couple.

  16. Thanks mike! Hopefully they don’t take too many away these were all organic ratings from clients of mine. Im new to this so definitely trying to have my business have a presence on google

  17. we have worked hard the past couple of months to get google reviews which has worked well. We were the only competitor with stars. However a competitor with only 1 , 5 star review now show up – how is this possible? We have a rating of 4.9 with 13 reviews I think, although they only have 1 review they look better at a glance. Is there anything we can do, or has the 5 review rule now been abolished? If anyone knows the answer please respond. Thank you

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