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Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

Which Restaurant Review sites are used by Google Maps?

Reviews Vs RankingSeveral weeks ago I did some research on which directories Google Maps referenced to provide details for their local search.

Matt McGee of Small Business SEM suggested looking at which review sites were used as well. I took the same approach and analyzed which sites were used to provide review/rating detail to Google Maps. Here is the summary of the list in alphabetic order:

Review Site Total Reviews 10 4 39 3 17 36 1 43 22 98 93 78 2

Several observations and some additional details:

-The oldest review dated to the year 2000

-The newest review was dated October 7, 2006

-The hotels that have restaurants have significantly more reviews although not necessarily of their restaurants

-Some review sites like and are exclusively hotel review sites and probably should be ignored by anybody in the restaurant business

-CitySearch does not show up in the Buffalo results but I have seen it elsewhere and I think that Yahoo kick started their reviews site with CitySearch results.

Here is the summary by total reviews provided (which gives some indication of which sites are the most significant players):

Review Site Total Reviews 98 93 78 43 39 36 22 17 10 4 3 2 1

Clearly reviews hang around for a long time. It’s a good reason to not have a bad one, or even a mediocre one.

By the same token, reviews are not updated all that frequently. There were only a few reviews from this fall and most were from 2005 and early 2006. I am running another experiment on Yelp & Citysearch to see how long it takes Google to pick up newly minted reviews. In the case of CitySearch, reviews were added last May (7 months ago) and have still not shown up in the Google results. I started the Yelp experiment 4 weeks ago with still no appearance in the Google results.

This long delay in updating reviews should reinforce the importance of getting good reviews ALL the time.

Reviews Vs Ranking This first chart plots total reviews against rankings. As you can see there is a pretty good correlation between the two.

The second chart plots total reviews and total stars on the same axis against ranking. It is interesting to note (a disclaimer: I am not statistician) that there seems to be a higher correlation between rank and volume than rank and quality.ReviewsStarsvsRanking.gif

I have done some aggregate analysis that I will post later in the week.