There’s 3 significant changes to Google Place Pages today.
First, Google has really improved the ease of editing a business listing. It’s easier both for business owners to claim their listing and for others to make community edits to a listing. At the top right, there’s now an obvious checkmark & “Owner-verified listing” if the business is verified.
Non-verified listings replace this with 2 simple links: “Edit this place – Business owner?” Previously, the link to claim a business listing on Google was buried several clicks away. Nice improvement.
The second and third changes escalate the prominence of consumer reviews. At the top of the page, Google now displays selected review snippets just below the business description.
Google has also added a “What people are saying about” section. It looks like they’re automatically slicing & dicing phrases from the consumer reviews to come up with scores for each category. On Salon Disegno in Lawrenceville, the categories are staff, prices, atmosphere, service and customer service. Notice that each category shows a single snippet but I clicked to view all of the “Staff” related comments.
Mike Blumenthal points out that these categories only display on listings with at least 11 reviews. It also appears that Google needs to recognize/classify at least 3 comments for a category to show up.
It’s interesting to note that the original reviews are still there. Google has effectively tripled the prominence of consumer reviews on the Place Pages with these changes.
Based on these changes, it’s pretty clear that Google values consumer reviews. If you don’t already have a plan in place to monitor and manage consumer reviews on the review sites that Google trusts, now’s the time.