The big question on everyone’s mind this week is “Why did Google remove reviews from Google+ Local Listings?” Google doesn’t always reveal their plan to us, but rest assured, this is just one more step toward a bigger picture they have in mind. Here is what we know so far:
The Unofficial Statement From Google
Elizabeth, a Google Community Manager, who was responding to questions on the Local Search Forum stated “Reviews will no longer be shown on Google+ Pages in the new Google+ design. Reviews are still accessible on Google Search and Maps which have always been the primary way that users find business reviews.”
Her statement specifically regarding Google Search and Google Maps being the primary way users find business reviews indicates that they were most likely removed from Google+ because consumers just weren’t using them. The Google insiders in the forums are saying that some of the Google+ features will be returning once the update is complete, but reviews are not one of them.
What Businesses Should Do
Be sure that your business listing has been submitted to and verified on Google My Business, so that your business reviews will be displayed in search results and with maps. Businesses must also be sure to monitor their Google My Business listing along with their other online business listings to confirm they are consistent and put their business in the best light. You can run a free online visibility report with Local Site Submit and check for consistency right now.
Thinking About Abandoning Posting On Google+
At this point, keep posting on the Google+ business pages because Google owns it and using their platform will continue to increase the overall online visibility of a business. Plus Google+ is another contact point for businesses to interact with customers, clients and business peers.
According to the Google Blog regarding the new Google+ and its updates, they are focusing on Communities and Collections as these seem to have been the most popular sections of Google+. So, if you aren’t participating in communities get started. You’ll open up a whole new way to draw consumers to your business or your clients’ businesses.
As I am sure you realize, Google is going to continue to keep mixing things up for all of us, especially as it relates to local business and search engine optimization. Focus on getting found and minding your Ps & Qs.
Every change Google makes is an effort to make it easier for quality businesses that consumers want to find to be found.
What do you think about this change? Comment below and let’s discuss.