Google Intros the Mother of All SMB Review Monitoring Systems

Google has announced on the Google and Your Business blog today that they have rolled out what appears to be the mother of all review monitoring systems today.

The system, a new module for the updated Places for Business Dashboard, not only shows Google based reviews to dashboard owners and managers, it shows every review that Google has found from the thousands of review sites that it indexes. In addition Google is providing review analytic reports for both the volume and rating stats of reviews from Google and across the web.

Google has also integrated the owner review response option directly into the dashboard and will now be showing those responses in the review panel on the front page of serps

Other Items of Interest

  • The rollout is global and will be available by days end to all new Dashboard users
  • The reviews from around the web are presented in snippet form
  • Yelp reviews are not included in the reviews from around the web view
  • Reviews can be seen and responded to by both account owners AND managers
  • The ability to respond in dashboard is limited to businesses with a fully social Plus page.

What’s missing

  • The functionality has not been added to the mobile version of the Places Dashboard for Android
  • There is no ability for a business owner to flag a review as inappropriate from within the dashboard. He/she must still visit the About page for the business to flag reviews.
  • There is currently no active feedback alerting the SMB to new reviews
  • There is no ability to limit whether a manager has access to provide responses or not.
  • No enterprise abilities to rollup reports across locations

Help Files – the updated Google Places Help Files covering this product:

What’s Important About this Announcement

For the first time since the dashboard was created Google is providing small business owners and their managers a reason to return to the dashboard periodically. The ability to monitor reviews from both Google and around the web, easily respond to the those reviews and quickly access those on other sites are all features that leverages Google’s strengths and provides a basis for Google engaging with more SMBs on a regular basis. Products of similar ilk have cost SMBs from $30 to $200 a month.

The rollout, one in a string of several recent upgrades to the new dashboard, indicates that not only is Google able and committed to adding new functionality to the dashboard on an ongoing basis, it signals that they are prepared to provide significant ongoing value in doing so.

The Places Dashboard has long been a once and done experience for SMBs. The analytics were the only reason for regular visits.  These analytics have been less than inspiring and often didn’t function leaving SMBs baffled and frustrated. Once a listing had been claimed and photos added there was little reason for a business to revisit the dashboard. The addition of social functionality, now provided automatically with every new claim, doesn’t occur from within the dashboard and while it might increase engagement for some SMBs it is not appropriate for all. Reviews are important to a much broader swath of the market.

Here are screenshots of the features:

Dashboard Reviews
New Review Widget in Dashboard
Review Inbox – Google Reviews
Review snippets from around the web
In dashboard owner response
In Dashboard owner & manager response functionality
Review Stats
Summary of volumes and ratings at both Google and around the web
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Google Intros the Mother of All SMB Review Monitoring Systems by

74 thoughts on “Google Intros the Mother of All SMB Review Monitoring Systems”

  1. Thanks for this update Mike :-) This looks good, however I will wait till it rolls out here in Canada before I commit to a full scale appreciation ;-)

  2. @Ted: I found one site that didn’t carry reviews. When I dug into the site it referenced and linked to a review. Ironic. It referenced a yelp review.

  3. I have been following this as well Mike, thanks for the clarity on a couple of things. While I do think this is a nice addition to the dashboard, it seems clear that it is not an Enterprise level set of tools [yet]. It will be interesting to see it develop though for sure.

    @Phil, glad to see the confirmation of the clear guideline as well from Google.

    Enjoying the discussion …

  4. This is very interesting and do plan on staying on top of this. However at the risk of sounding totally ignorant may I ask what SMB stands for? You throw that acronym out there several times and I even searched some of your past postings and never see you mention what it stands for.

  5. I like the new Local Business dashboard. Things appear to actually make sense for the first time in a while, at least from what I’ve seen so far. I’m optimistic about where it’s headed, and hope it will prove to be more intuitive and useful.

    Too bad claiming listings and eliminating duplicates is still a nightmare of a process when a client has ever done something incorrectly in the past. I do wish they would simplify, streamline and be more transparent about the whole thing so I can better serve my clients in cleaning up the mess.

  6. @Heather

    Yes it has been moving in the right direction and the dashboard is well designed.

    The problems with already, previously claimed listings are in fact a p.i.t.a. For sure.

    Always best to ferret out the old dashboard long ins help, Google phone support helps. But soon the old dashboards will be gone and we will hopefully have a single integrated interface to deal with. Her’s hoping.

  7. Will this be visible in Google Analytic dashboard or google place tab in webmaster? As I run a hotel in jaipur city thus update is crucial for me.

  8. Hi Mike,

    Wish my reading of your invaluable news could be as timely as its publishing.

    Just checked and the review dashboard is in place for me in UK.

    With my cynical hat on I would always presume it’s OK to ask for reviews from customers because they can’t do so without signing up to G+. Also, I interpret your comment number 34 as a further sign of coercion … ahem … incentive to become fully engaged with G+.

  9. @Ewan
    Clearly Google is pushing for widespread adoption of the G+ backbone for login. Call that what you will… there are plenty of other signs as well.. for example any new claims in the dashboard default to having a social posts page EVEN if the business has no intention of doing social. And that page is linked from the front page of Google… remaining blank if the business doesn’t make any posts.

  10. I am reading this on December 10th in Kansas City, USA and, thought I have checked Google Dashboards for each of the six restaurants for whom I run social media, I see no sign of this. I got the impression that you were writing from the UK, and wondered if there was a delayed rollout in the US or if you had any information about why it may not be showing up.

  11. @Jay
    Are you checking the new Google Places for Business Dashboard (google.com/places)? That is where this would be located. If they listings are still in the old dashboard then you will have to wait until Google upgrades your account. You can determine what type of dashboard you have via this post.

  12. Well that will kill a decent amount of reputation companies. I’m kind of glad Google did this without charging the SMB. We have to remember that in the end, Google wants all of the SMB’s business. It is in their best interest to eliminate or at least brake up SEO, ORM, etc. because they aren’t profiting from it.

  13. Googles review tool is not accurate. Many of the pages it shows do not have reviews. It is in some cases just showing citation. Also does not monitor yelp

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