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Google Makes it Harder to Hide from a Bad Reputation

Google Adds Sources for Reviews on Place Pages

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Google is now including reviews from more sources on its Place Pages for businesses. They’re no longer coming from just review sites. They’re coming from news sites, blogs, and more.

Mike Blumenthal, who writes for the Understanding Google Maps & Local Search blog, has an in depth analysis of this change and received confirmation on its existence from Google Maps Product Manager Carter Maslan.

"This change portends a dramatically changed review landscape where both the volume of reviews for some types of businesses will rise and the dynamics of reputation management will change. It could very well shift  the balance of power away from centralized review sites and could be one more impediment to any recovery of the IYP sites," says Blumenthal.

"Google Maps is now using the new capability of sentiment analysis to better understand content and add ‘reviews’ from non traditional sources like newspaper articles and single blog entries that appear across the internet," he says. "This new capability will dramatically increase the reach of hyperlocal blogs, change how businesses manage the review process and could, over the long haul, change how and where reviews are generated and aggregated."

Place Page for Burdick Chocolate Cafe

It is not particularly surprising that Google would reach to more sources for review-like content on Place Pages. Considering the breadth of information Google indexes, it seems fairly obvious that when Google brings together information about a business it would pull from a wide variety of sources.

Blumenthal is right in that this highlights a possible need for some reputation management adjustments for businesses. However, it doesn’t seem like anything alerts won’t be able to help you keep track of, and you should probably be using those anyway if you are concerned about maintaining a good online reputation (which can increasingly affect your offlline reputation).

Provided that they offer customers a positive experience, Google’s inclusion of more sources in Place Pages could work to the benefit of businesses. It’s hard to earn a good reputation if you don’t deliver something positive to begin with. These new additions should only make it harder to hide from a bad reputation.
 

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Will Google Eliminate the Need for Small Business Websites?

Google Makes it Harder to Hide from a Bad Reputation
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  • http://www.seo4all.co.uk Gill Keeble

    Maybe I have misunderstood what you have written but in my experience in the UK Google has always, well as long as I remember, listed ANY website under your local business listing. Sometimes it has been quite frustrating as of course we have little control over who wishes to mention us or link to us.

  • http://www.blumenthals.com/blog Mike Blumenthal

    @Gill

    Google has included in their web pages sections (now called more about this place) some web citations from alternative sources.

    This new capability allows Google to take similar content, analyze it semantically and include in your review section. It will dramatically expand the amount of information and critical (good or bad) comment that Google makes available under the review section.

  • http://www.contentwriterhyderabad.com Sanjay Nannaparaju

    As I understand, Google aims to establish a search mechanism that presents quality, genuine and real-time information on its search results. The major issue that confronts Internet search – Is the information that we get on Google Search cooked up or real? Truly, there is lots of information floating on the Internet search that is either outdated or faked. The existence of such irrelevant information not only defeats the primary purpose of a Search Engine (to provide accurate and quality information), but also tantamount to cheating its users usually carried away by its brand value. This becomes all the more important when it comes to the crucial information on businesses, global and local. The process to validate information, by cross-referencing with reviews and real-time experiences online, and providing greater visibility to customer and user reviews, will for sure bring greater validity to Google’s Search results. This will for sure, will check the search-dominating unscrupulous elements, pretty soon.

  • Melih Oztalay

    Hello Sanjay,

    I certainly agree with you about Google Local Business Listings and consumer reviews. Certainly this is the first time that the Internet has become a good business marketing tool for the local business to reach the local consumer.

    This article about local public relations is right in line with your discussion.
    http://melihoztalay.ulitzer.com/node/1275583

    What I am most concerned about are small and local businesses having to contend with multiple websites when it comes to their local listing. What I’m really talking about are “time resources”.

    Afterall, there are over 60 websites in four different categories specifically geared towards local listings. How can a local or small business have the time resources to cover this space?

    Even if you made a conscious decision to not manage all 60, there are well more than Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Ask. The space goes to Local.com (they went public), Yelp, Merchant Circle, and many others.

    Consumers will be the ones deciding which of these local listing websites they will go and post their experience through consumer reviews. This adds to the burden that no one single local listing website will do the trick.

    Therefore, my argument is that “getting listed” is not the real services needed. The local business still has to claim, update and maintain their local listing at multiple local listing websites.

    “Getting listed” is an admirable starting point, but it will not address the long term need of the local business and their local marketing efforts.

    Something we recently read at KillerStartUps are companies that are offering a low cost service to update then manage these listings for companies. You can read about this at KillerStartUps here:

    http://www.killerstartups.com/Search/smartfindslocallisting-com-be-found-online

    It is a changing world and the local business will benefit. There will be some adjustment to this space needed.

    Good information from your post and hopefully varying opinions help give perspective.

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