Understanding Google My Business & Local Search
Access Your Local G+ Page with the New 5 Star Treatment
The new local result list display that was discovered today makes more sense when viewed in context of the newly updated Maps. Select the “Go to list of top results” link from the refinement pane and you will arrive at the new page. For those of you that don’t have access to the new Maps view yet, you can get to this list view by adding the parameter “&tbm=plcs” to a local search result URL as in this search for Jewelry Design Buffalo NY
Once there you can click on the Google Reviews link for any listing to see how the newly formatted G+ Page for local will look with the new red 5 star motif. Adding the parameter “&rfmt=s” to the +Page URL: https://plus.google.com/103156080483607740278/about?hl=en&rfmt=s will take you directly to the G+ page showing the new review stars.
Note the bold use of red number in summary at the top of the review sections that is significantly more obvious that the stars and immediately draws the eye down the page. I am sure that no one will miss the arbitrary 29 that was often given to those with averages of 30. Click the image to view it at full resolution. Or better just go there yourself. 🙂
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interesting to see what the G+ Page looks like with the addition of the parameter —> &rfmt=s
thanks Mike 🙂
Not sure if this has been mentioned anywhere, but this rollout – like so many of Google’s – seems to be regional. I’m just not seeing the new Maps here in sunny Massachusetts.
Four posts in one day, huh? My typing fingers would go on strike 🙂
It’s currently by invite.
You can request an invite to the new Maps here
PS Plan was to write only one. Fortunately they were mostly screen shots.
Its a powerful presentation. Its also an amazing marketing tool if the smb has terrific reviews.
One thing though. It didn’t include owner responses. We had some with owner responses. Some of the responses were by name to people now identified as google user. They predated the changes google made on older reviews.
The owner responses SHOULD BE THERE. Its not only powerful as a marketing tool, but its a target for faked attack reviews. Its going to reference bad experiences. It should give the owner an opportunity to respond. Often responses are the best way to respond to a bad customer experience and they acknowledge the power of reviews and the ability to correct mistakes…a very positive part of business.
Google is not going to take down faked reviews. They are opaque and generally non active on that kind of issue.
Eliminating the owner responses is a big hole. I hope they get them in there toote suite.
As another commenter said, I am not seeing the change on Google Maps in Australia, however on the G+ page the parameter works.
The new Maps is currently by invite only and is not yet generally available. These URL parameters only allow us to see some of the local side changes.
You can request an invite to the new Maps here
@Dave – good catch on the responses to reviews not showing. If I remember correctly when the new Google+ Business Pages came out you couldn’t do that at first too, but now you can. I am sure they’ll work it back in.
@Dave and Matthew
Google has asked for examples of pages where owner responses are not showing. Can you share some?
Another great piece of intel, That big red # grips your eye immediately. I like the new look, much softer and inviting. As small a change as it may seem on the surface, it’s a clear sign of what G has been striving towards in local. Thanks Mike!
I’m so excited about the stars coming back. I absolutely hated the Zagat rating system. Maybe it makes me sound dumb but I never really knew what a good rating was…23, 24, 25?
Hopefully Google learns that people like it simple!
I did that. Hmm…guess my not seeing the new Maps is the puzzle of the day.
NOBODY is seeing the new Maps except those that have been invited.
The new Google Maps is currently available by invite only. You must go here and request an invitation as it is still considered a preview however with the above “hack” you can see what your + Page WILL look like.
Where do you want them shared?? to whom should we send them?
If you want I can forward them if you email them to me.
Great!!!! The ones I know about from one of our sites are missing from the google + page. Should I go into the forums to ask about them??
I hope this doesn’t foreshadow that google is going to not include owner responses.
In the world of reviews they are immeasurably important for user experience. A bad customer service experience could be followed up by an apology and an offer to right the wrongs some way. Good for the customer in question, good info for potential customers and good for the business.
We had a faked devastating attack review planted by a competitor. We not only called it out…we demonstrated why it was fake in a response.
Now the response is currently missing from the google+ page.
Even yelp encourages and shows owner responses.
Last comment. Experience has taught me one has to screen shot EVERYTHING dealing with google and especially the google places/google + local page.
Now you see em….now you don’t.
Its not really magic…its an incredible PITA!!!!!
Mike: I referenced the site at the google forums. Jim Jaggers has already responded. Evidently a lot of owner responses are missing all over the system these days.
Hope they recover them quickly
The owners responses have been missing for quite some time now, really I can remember first seeing this issue back when Google Places made the shift to G+. I hope they do get that feature rendering again. It’s a really great communication tool for smb’s.
Most owner responses are missing because Google has in the past allowed multiple “owners” of a listing… ie a given listing is in more than one account and for whatever reason the “other” account is the one being given the privilege of responding. That is a known issue.
If I am understanding Dave correctly, he is seeing owner responses on his traditional G+Page for local but not on the one with the Red Stars? If that is the case that is a bug that Google was not aware of and they want to see examples so that they can fix.
they are not showing on either location. I sent in the G+Page reference to the forums. I referenced this thread.
It is tough to give google an example of missing owner comments…if the comments are missing EVERYWHERE.
“A Known Issue” is not an excuse for not getting owner comments up.
Google loves the reviews. Its terrific content. It drives traffic. They did it in response to yelp. They now compete on an even level with yelp for reviews more or less after starting out years later.
There are so many reasons for owner responses: It improves the content on so many levels.
It should be corrected ASAP.
ya know…for a big big business….that keeps telling webmasters to focus on content and not screw around with little manipulative seo tricks……
they are screwing up the Content.
tell people they are working on it. Give an estimated time of delivery.
Act like a normal business…not like some rarified mysterious bigger better than everyone else monopoly.
When you look a little closer to the way the old reviews are converted to the new Star system:
To be a 5 Star, you must be perfect – all Excellent or 5 star or you are a 4.X
It seems to help lower rating more that better ratings:
A Zagat score of 9 is pretty bad but it becomes 2.9 Stars and will “look” like 3 Stars
A Zagat score of 25 is really good but it only gets 4.5 Stars
So the viewers will have to develop a new “sense” of the Star ratings.
The stars do get noticed – I like them better.
Thanks for the granular analysis.
The numbers on my page were gold (when I added the parameter) and not red and owners responses were intact. I saved a screen shot- of course.
When this post was written and most Plus Pages had Zagat, Google was using a red now they have shifted to color that is more orangey and is visible with or without the parameter. Is that what you are seeing?
Mike, it absolutely is.
Do you have any data as to how often people go to this search rather than one right off of google.com
None of my smb’s get much traffic through maps.google.com at least per G Analytics. Its astonishingly low. Any market data on this type of search???
No I do not
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