Google announced some changes to Place Pages as part of its new refocused efforts.
For one, they’ve added a “write a review” button at the top of the page, encouraging users to talk about your business. I hope your customer service is good.
“Some of the changes you’ll notice today have been made so you can quickly get a sense for what other people are saying about a place, more easily upload photos of places you’ve been (by using a more obvious ‘Upload a photo’ button), and see reviews in a single section on the page,” said Director of Product Management Avni Shah. “Since the introduction of Google Places’ local rating and review feature last fall — originally called Hotpot — we’ve heard loud and clear that reviews help you find the places that are right for you, especially when you’re able to get recommendations based on your tastes and those of your friends.”
In fact, Google is relying solely on its own set of user reviews now, and has removed reviews from other sources This should make Yelp happy. I wonder how their traffic will be affected.
“Rating and review counts reflect only those that’ve been written by fellow Google users, and as part of our continued commitment to helping you find what you want on the web, we’re continuing to provide links to other review sites so you can get a comprehensive view of locations across the globe,” said Shah.
Google says its long-term vision for local search include more personalized results, integrating information from Place pages into web search, and providing more ways to rate, discover, and share places faster and easier.
Separately, Google says it will open up brand profiles for Google+ in the coming months. They’re making a big deal about how they want businesses to have a different experience than what the regular profiles have to offer, and have been talking a great deal about integrating Google+ with other Google products. It would not be surprising to see Place Pages and business profiles on G+ integrated with one another. That could be quite powerful for businesses.
Google+ should certainly help with that goal of making results more personalized.