Google announced Thursday that Google Places pages have undergone a few very important changes. You’ll notice that third party reviews are now gone from Places pages. These changes come as a result of other consumer ratings websites like Yelp, Citysearch, and TripAdvisor claiming that Google was using their content without permission.
Places pages will still link to these third party sites for a more well rounded search experience but only after showing Google user reviews. Google will no longer integrate the actual reviews from any other consumer rating websites into the page or the Place rating system. Take a look at the photo below to see what this looks like.
Another important change to note is that Google is now emphasizing a call to action at the top of companies’ Places pages with two new buttons encouraging users to “Write a review” and more easily upload photos from places they’ve been.
Having stellar, yet genuine, user reviews are a great way to bring in business and encourage new customers to try your services and check out your business. Places photos also do a lot to help your search engine optimization efforts. Not only do they give your customers visual insight to your company, they also get indexed in Google images. In order to optimize your Places presence, encourage your happy customers to write reviews directly on your Google Places listing.
Expect more Places pages upgrades to roll out soon. Google also notes forthcoming advancements for increased user personalization of local searches, as well as platform and device flexibility.
For more information, view Google’s official statement on “The Ongoing Evolution of Place Pages.” For more do-it-yourself SEO tips from the Schipul SEM team, visit our DIY SEO page.