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Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

Google Review Snippets – More Impactful by Half

With the rollout of review sentiment snippets to the Knowledge Panel in Local search, Google has again elevated reviews another notch in their visibility and impact. These “review synopses” are not just more visible but in being just one sentence and clearly highlighted they are more capable of having greater affect on the reader.


In the previous incarnation of sentiment snippets (still extant on the about page) Google amassed a jumble of words that really had little affect and was easily ignored. The graph is clear but the sentiments provide little of value and no context :

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 8.27.40 AM

The new review synopsis on the other hand stands out and guarantees, by both the brevity and boldness, a higher likelihood of being read and a higher likelihood of impacting the searcher attitude:

Screen Shot 2014-04-26 at 4.35.19 PM

We know that a negative review or two in a list of positive reviews is often a benefit and increases the likelihood of a purchase. We also know that a negative review corpus is more likely to hurt a business than a positive review corpus is to help.

What we don’t know is if this new, brief treatment in a complete sentence with words bolded and people’s photograph will change those dynamics. I think that it is very likely that they will.

By assembling 3 summaries that are highly visible, highlighted and impactful, Google has minimized the need for many searchers to dig deeper. If searchers learn to trust this algo based “reviews for dummies” summary, Google could very well change searcher behaviors to rely on fewer reviews in making a decision about a place.