Don’t look now, but Google is quietly making some changes to its services that involve online reviews. And some of these changes may affect the way your business can be searched and found on Google – as well as the way your customers share their feedback and experiences.
Last week, for example, the search engine giant implemented updates that removed non-Google reviews from local search results. We’re talking about reviews that are on sites outside of Google (Google Maps, Google+, Google Search), like those on Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook, and Yahoo! Local. According to reports, businesses won’t see these “reviews from around the Web” on their Google My Business customer feedback dashboard, either.
Google+ “Local” Tab Removed
Then this week, Google tweaked the Google+ experience and removed the Google+ “Local” tab from the Google+ navigation bar. According to the company, it’s all in an effort to simplify the review writing experience, and to make the process of sharing customer feedback easier than ever.
It may not necessarily be simpler or easier for business owners, though. If you’re managing your business presence on Google+, the latest update means that:
Customers have to use Google Maps to find you. If a Google+ user wants to leave you with reviews and customer feedback, they will have to search on Google Maps, Google Maps for Mobile, or Google Search to find your page (unless they’re already following you). They won’t be able to do that now from within Google+.
Customers have to visit their own profile pages to manage review content. Google+ users who have written reviews of local businesses will have to visit the Reviews tab on their profile to see and edit their own review content. Again, this used to be accessible via the Local tab, which has been removed in the latest update.
Google+ tips and tricks
What we will recommend you do, amid all these changes, is to continue building out your presence across Google apps and services (including Google+), and to make sure you stay on top of all the customer feedback you’re getting from Google+ users.
If you’re actively managing Google reviews, find ways to generate more five-star ratings: not only does it help make your reputation on Google properties much more attractive, great review signals also help you become more visible in local search results.
Also, don’t forget to double-check the accuracy of your business listing and geographic location. That way, you can be found more easily when customers fire up Google Maps to search for your business.
Still don’t have a Google+ page for your business? You can start by claiming your business page via the Google My Business dashboard.
Looking for more tips and tricks? Download the ReviewTrackers 2015 Google+ Best Practices guide for free. (Or if you’d like to give something in return for it, we’re accepting virtual hugs.)