Understanding Google My Business & Local Search
Google: Reviews, How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
If one stops and counts how many times the word review or the star ratings show on the front page of Google one can only conclude that Google not only thinks they are important but that they are of tantamount importance in local searches.
These screen shots of local searches show the screen real estate above the fold on a 1366 by 768 pixel screen. On larger screens the number of mentions of reviews and ratings would be even greater.
On the Local Carousel search, the word review was used 15 times and the rich snippet rating stars showed 7 times. Additionally 8 of the links take readers to more reviews. Given that this is some of the most valuable internet real estate in the world, one has to assume that Google tests these results aggressively and has given a fair bit of thought to this. If not a “tell“, certainly a very clear expression of Google’s thinking.
The count is less on a branded search or a 7-pack but still amazingly high.
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***** 5 stars for this observational post Mike 😉 Reviews are where things are heading… makes sense to me, as I spend quite a bit of time reading reviews before making most purchases (including reviews on sites like amazon, trip advisor, yelp, and urbanspoon for example)
I would only amend your statement “Reviews are where things are heading” to read “Reviews are where things are at”. 🙂
Gee, I think Google is trying to tell us something.
Never thought of it until now, but I’m surprised Google doesn’t drop a mention of Google+ every time it mentions reviews. That might help awareness/adoption. OTOH, maybe it’s by design: maybe Google wants people to think that they can click on one of those 15 listings and see all the reviews for a business (including Yelp, Yahoo, etc.), when in fact they’ll only see the Google reviews. Wouldn’t rule out the old switcheroo.
What will also be interesting (read: sensory overload) is when review extensions become widely used in AdWords. I’ve set them up for one long-time client. We’ll see what those puppies can do.
I would love to see an eye tracking study of these pages to see exactly the role that all of these mentions have.
This is a great illustration, actually. I had never put a lot of emphasis on reviews, but this is persuasive.
Now just to figure out how to get my clients to bother.
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