Google is on the move again with possible (at the time of this posting) changes hot off the heels of a move to Google Instant. In my opinion these changes should have a much more obvious impact on local businesses than what we’ve seen from Instant thus far.
Google is becoming much more integrated by combining Places (formerly known as Google Local) with Reviews and placing it inside the organic listings.
This move calls for an immediate need to concentrate on your online reviews that push stars to Google. Right now that would be Google reviews themselves or DealerRater.
Dealers could get away with having bad reviews in the past because the maps and reviews were separate from the organic listings, but now it is really hard to miss those bad reviews.
So, what are the changes in this new integration?
- Prioritization or organic rankings also being seen on maps
- Reviews showing on Organic Listings
- Address and Telephone number showing on organic listing (could change your website conversion numbers)
- Ads from Google Places showing on Map and bottom of your organic listing
- Removal of common links under the first organic listing
- Link to Place page on organic listing
- Links to Review sites on organic listings
- Map moved to the right
I can’t stress enough how important it is to work on your customer reviews. If anything that should be the most obvious thing these changes bring. He with the best and most reviews will be chosen when up against someone who has few and/or bad reviews.
Thanks to JD Rucker for putting this screen cast together:
And for additional reading Matt Murray has a take on what this means as far as screen real estate goes: Google Heightens the Space Race.
Has anyone seen how and if this changes the need to keep up with a Places listing for your dealership? We’ve had some significant amount of pain with Local/Places for years (as seen from these DealerRefresh forums threads):