Think your business’ reviews are unimportant or that people searching online may never see them?
Well, think again.
Google recently started experimenting with displaying customer reviews for businesses in the “Knowledge Graph Panel” to the right of organic search results. The knowledge graph panel itself has led to a significant decrease in traffic to websites like Wikipedia, and this new display of reviews will likely lead to a decrease in traffic to user review sites like Yelp, Insider Pages, Zagat and Merchant Circle. It is interesting to note that Google recently announced they will be discarding all Zagat reviews from anonymous users. This may, in turn, greatly reduce the number of reviews and affect the ratings for numerous restaurants and other businesses.
What does this mean for your business?
While it is still unclear as to what triggers these reviews to be shown however, various digital marketing blogs touch upon the point that the more recent a businesses’ reviews are, the more likely they are to show up in Google’s new Knowledge Panel. Also important to note, words that are repeatedly used throughout different reviews are bolded for emphasis, a very interesting and helpful new feature.
An example of this can be seen to the right, where the emphasized words for a popular Mexican-style restaurant and bar are burrito, margarita and waitresses.
Google’s new search feature is just another example of how search engines, particularly Google, have recently been placing a greater emphasis on high quality and non-spammy consumer reviews. Would you be willing to give a restaurant or business a try even if they had a number of poor online reviews? A majority of the online community would continue to the next business, made easy with Google’s “People also search for”, which you can also see in the screenshot to the right. This is a great feature for customers, but what Google has done online is essentially placed your competition “hot on your heels”.
What is your company’s current strategy for dealing with customer reviews? Where can you innovate or differentiate to attract positive Google reviews? You don’t have to let bad reviews limit your businesses’ potential, contact us today and see how we can help manage your online reputation.