Understanding Google My Business & Local Search
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.
- 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: