As Google builds up content directly, they are dropping third party review sources and expanding the use of the Place Pages information across Google platforms. This has immediate implications, but may also be foreshadowing a deeper integration with Google Plus.
Implications for businesses are multi-faceted. But two key points are essential, highlighting the increasing weight of recommendations we have made to clients regarding Google Place Pages.
Asking satisfied customers for reviews is critical to leveraging Google Place Pages for driving business. Since Google launched HotPot last Fall, they have been building their review content and are now at a place where they have enough to stop using 3rd party reviews from sites like City Search or yelp. Even more telling, Google is placing more focus on the reviews on the Place Pages. This will not only affect how users interact with the Place Pages, but have even more impact on a business’ chances of appearing in the search results.
Based on careful thought about the future direction of Place pages, and feedback we’ve heard over the past few months, review snippets from other web sources have now been removed from Place pages.
Enhancing the content beyond Name, Address, Phone and URL has also been critical. Google is taking even greater steps to elevate content from the Place Pages and push it out to other Google platforms. For our clients, we have been driving home the need to provide all the content Google will accept. From the standard fields of Brand, Products or images, to the custom fields allowed, businesses must provide quality content in order to take full advantage of Google Place Pages as well as other Google properties.
…our long-term vision for local search includes… Integrating some of the great information that’s been buried on Place pages into your web search experience across all Google platforms;
Google has always been about content. Driving reviews and encouraging businesses to share more information continues this focus. What will be interesting to see is how this integrates with Google Plus. Keep an eye out as Google has already told business owners to be patient with Plus and not create a profile yet, while they work on an integration specifically designed for businesses. Will this be the distinguishing factor Plus needs to compete?