Where Are My Google Reviews?
If you’re an active business conducting work or promoting your products or services on the Internet, you know how important it is to showcase your positive reviews online. This especially holds true for reviews on the search engine giant Google; since they display their review platform toward the top of their search results.
Have you noticed that some or all of your Google Reviews are missing or your reviews are no longer linked to your business listing? Have you also noticed Google telling you to create a Google+ page every time you log into Gmail? You are not the only one seeing these modifications or experiencing these issues. Google is making major changes to their review process and products that are affecting millions of reviews and business listings in their search results.
Conversion Pipeline has compiled a list of your questions and provided answers below to help you understand what Google is doing. To start, you need to understand that “Google+” and “Google+ Local” are different products and serve different purposes.
Google+ is just for personal social use. (Just like Facebook)
Google+ Pages is just for business social use. (Just like Facebook Pages for businesses)
Google Places helps people find, share, rate, and recommend your business to their friends and people across the web.
Google + Local is replacing the Places product. It incorporates all the old features of Places and makes it easier for users discover and share your business. It also lets you see what people are saying about your business, and respond to customer reviews.
Bye-Bye Google Places…Hello Google+ Local
Google has been trying very hard to promote its Google+ social media platform (some say their version of Facebook). We believe Google is having a hard time finding adoption of the new platform so they’ve decided to tie other important Google services like Business Listings and Google Reviews into the platform to make it “more sticky”. Google also wants to maintain their dominance of the online advertising market, so this move helps them get a bigger piece of the mobile ads pie too as they know more and more people are using their phone to find great places recommended by friends. To start this metamorphosis, Google Places has been swallowed up by Google+ Local, merging all business listings into one to be used across search, Maps, mobile, and Google+.
If you log into your Google Webmaster Tools account you will see a message stating, “We’ve made some improvement to the reviews and layout of local listings. We hope to make it easier for our users to discover your business and share it with their friends and across the web”.
After reading this and understanding the direction Google is heading, if your business does not have a Google Plus account, you better create one in order to properly manage and promote your Google Business Listing(s) and showcase your reviews. We also know that companies who actively use these Google products can help their rankings in Google search engine results.
What Happened To Google Places
Google goes on to state that as a business owner you can still use Google Places to manage your business. As a user, you can now rate, review and upload photos through their new local search experience, Google+ Local.
Google+ Local is a new destination for all your reviews, plus much more. You’ll get personalized recommendations, see what your friends are up to, and help others find great places. You can also get deeper insights into locations from Zagat’s expressive 30-point scoring scale and Zagat’s summaries of user reviews, and even make reservations with OpenTable directly from a business’s Google+ page.
If you (personally, not your company) previously wrote reviews or uploaded photos in Google Places, all of your old Google Places reviews and photos are currently public but attributed to, “A Google user.” If you want to attribute these reviews and photos to your Google+ name, all you need to do is migrate your old Google Places reviews and photos to Google+ Local. At that time, you can choose which content to make public and attributed to your Google+ name, and which content to make private. Private reviews and photos will not appear publicly across Google, but you can view or delete your content by clicking on My Places in Google Maps, and selecting Rated from the More menu.
Check out these Google help center articles for specific steps on how to move your Google Places content into Google+ Local, and for more in-depth explanations about what will happen to your old reviews and photos:
Where Are My Company’s Google Reviews?
Why didn’t they move to my Google+ Pages?
If you have noticed that some or all of your reviews are not showing up within the search results, it is more than likely because not all of the reviews have been migrated over from Google Plus or Google has flagged some reviews as “suspicious” or questions the authenticity of the review, which in that case, probably won’t be published any longer. (Yes, Google is arbitrarily deciding which reviews they think are legitimate….Remember Yelp?). For companies who have been adding business reviews by using fictitious email addresses and leaving reviews to pump up their overall review rating…you probably lost some reviews. Google knows when users sign in from the same IP address accessing multiple Google accounts for the purpose of only to leave reviews.
If you rated or reviewed locations in Google Places (previous to May 30, 2012) and you can’t see them under Your places in Google+ Local, try following these steps:
- Go to maps.google.com.
- Select My Places in the left hand panel.
- Click the Rated tab in the More menu.
This will show you all your reviews and ratings, including:
- Those you haven’t yet moved to Google+ Local
- Those you have moved to Google+ Local and marked as private
- Downgraded content
- All your public reviews published on Google+ Local
- Google is starting to convert your star ratings into numerical score equivalents. This content will appear in your Google+ Local page.
Not everything is bad with this transition. The Benefits of Google+ Local are:
- Get Google-based recommendations based on your Google activity in circles, reviews, and your geographic location. Since Google knows a lot about you, the recommendations are tailored to your actions/feedback.
- Add event-related information
- Ability to create an online “Community” within Google plus that are interest based like Linked-In Groups.
- Ability to publish & read Google reviews (Zagat Summaries) and photos in one location.
- Review local businesses’ Google+ page to see reviews, photos, and other business-related information.
- Read reviews from people you know (within your circles) highlighted in your search results.
- Ability to edit your reviews or make them private.
Your Google+ Game Plan
Your fist action: log into your Google account (Gmail, Places, etc.) and then create a Google+ personal account and a corporate page.
After adding your business phone number you’ll go through another series of steps verifying ownership of your business listing in Google+. Don’t be surprised if you find incorrect addresses for your business. Google has taken feeds from other 3rd party providers and has populated its database with that business information (whether it’s accurate nor not). This validation process actually helps Google determine which addresses are legit and should be shown in local search results. The final step is Google will mail a postcard to your address with a pin # in it.
After you have requested the postcard, do not alter your listing. If you do so, you will have to request another pin! Once your account is verified via postcard and pin, you can then see all of your reviews and your Google Places information will transfer over. More importantly, you can control your brand’s online identity.
Setting up your page is only your first step! You now need to market and promote your page. Contact Conversion Pipeline to assist with your Google+ set up, gain back your missing Google reviews, and help your business’s website and Google+ Page appear higher in search results.