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  1. #1
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    Effect of 3rd Party Reviews on Google Local Rankings

    I'm speaking of Smile Reminder and Demand Force in particular. I know that they're still recognized with a link at the bottom of a G+ Local page, but how much of an impact do they have on actual positioning?

    In the most recent Local Search Ranking Factors it states that velocity and number of 3rd party reviews are important, however, has anyone seen it have a noticeable impact with these two, or any other 3rd party review aggregators that are industry specific?
    Last edited by Linda Buquet; 02-20-2013 at 10:09 AM. Reason: Expanded title to be more descriptive

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    re: Effect of 3rd Party Reviews on Google Local Rankings

    Hi David,

    Thanks for posting a great question!

    In my experience more reviews and more citations for that matter only move the ranking needle on the old "pack style" algo, which as you know does not show up much any more and typically does on the lower competition KWs.

    Core and competitive and popular KWs normally pull blended. And in my opinion blended ranking order is still primarily dependent on ORGANIC ranking factors. So # of reviews and citations does not have much if any impact.

    That’s why you can see an A listing that's unclaimed with no reviews outrank others that have lots of reviews. That's my viewpoint anyway.

    However also important to realize the algo may have changed somewhat since the last LSRF was published. I believe there are over 200 ranking factors now (in fact I think it's more like 300) and blended does include somewhat of a blend of factors from both sides. I used to say blended was 90-95 organic, but now I think it's a little more blended up and mixed than that - maybe 85% organic?

    There seem to be new factors that are shaking things up a bit and making it not quite as easy to analyze. Have not had time to try to reverse engineer the algo for awhile so have not figured the new changes out yet.

    Would love to hear opinions from the rest of the community on this.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

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    Re: Effect of 3rd Party Reviews on Google Local Rankings

    Linda,

    I would have to agree with you that before the algo's where blended reviews had a lot more factor on rankings, now much less. I think it is a great point that you mentioned the listings that show up as "A" but are not even claimed show the important of organic rankings factors in the algo.

    If you have detailed out those 300+ ranking factors I would love to see them.
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    Re: Effect of 3rd Party Reviews on Google Local Rankings

    @David

    Iíve also found third-party reviews to be a major factor in my clientsí Google+Local rankings. Even now itís all a black box, so itís hard to say exactly how much they count for, but the clients of mine whoíve done the best tend to be the ones who can get reviews not only on Google+Local but on third-party sites. Diversity of sites matters, too: even if youíre getting DemandForce reviews, definitely also do what you can to scare up reviews on CitySearch, InsiderPages, and maybe even Yelp.

    Hate to do this, but Iíll have to differ from Linda on whether the algorithm has changed since last June. As much as has happened since last May when we participated in the LSRF survey, I just havenít noticed anything different ingredients in the burrito. The overall arc over the last couple of years has seemed to be that on-page factors matter increasingly more, and Iím sure weíll see some changes as the year rolls on. But for now Iíd say last yearís LSRF still paints a very good picture.

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    Re: Effect of 3rd Party Reviews on Google Local Rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Rozek View Post
    Hate to do this, but Iíll have to differ from Linda on whether the algorithm has changed since last June. As much as has happened since last May when we participated in the LSRF survey, I just havenít noticed anything different ingredients in the burrito.
    Well I have to agree with that too Phil and maybe what I said was not real clear.

    I guess what I should have said is I'm seeing lots of rankings shifting and my 'gut' tells me some things may be shifting, plus I've had other consultants tell me that they don't think organic is playing as big a part as it did for awhile. PLUS on some rankings I've tried to reverse engineer - the ranking order made NO logical sense at all.

    So in a way I agree nothing definite has really changed. But it just seems like things are shifting. I don't pretend to have a very clear picture yet. It's just gut feeling and speculation at this point.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

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    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

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    Re: Effect of 3rd Party Reviews on Google Local Rankings

    I think getting reviews from other 3rd party provides is important especially if you have a lot of review at Google Places (just look natural to have them at a number of different places). Not sure if you know but from about July to the end of Dec Google was on a rampage to remove fake reviews from listings and it was pretty difficult to get good reviews from happy customers posted. Now I think Google has reduced those strict requirements and its easier to get reviews posted again.
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    Re: Effect of 3rd Party Reviews on Google Local Rankings

    I usually make a point to help our clients direct their clients to 3rd party review sites that happen to be linked to G+ Local.

    So if our client has an Insider Pages, City Search, and a Kudzu listing, and only the City Search listing is linked to the G+ Local page, I will give that one priority over the others.

    Seems like a logical thing to do.
    Colan Nielsen l GMB Top Contributor
    Vice President, Local Search at Sterling Sky
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    Re: Effect of 3rd Party Reviews on Google Local Rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by mborgelt View Post
    If you have detailed out those 300+ ranking factors I would love to see them.
    I've seen several pros on the organic side and I'm pretty sure I've even seen Google come right out and say there are over 200 ORGANIC factors, including all the obvious things we know for sure, plus less obvious things like site speed, click through rate, stick rate and a bunch of other things.

    Mat Cutts said there were 200 factors at Pucon in 2009 and Eric Schmidt referenced the same # in 2010. But now I think there are a lot more with all the new social signals in the mix.

    Matt Cutts Nov 2010 quote:
    Google has 200 ranking factors but those ranking factors may have 50 or more variations within a single factor.

    Here are some older references:

    Schmidt: Listing Google’s 200 Ranking Factors Would Reveal Business Secrets

    Dear Bing, We Have 10,000 Ranking Signals To Your 1,000. Love, Google

    Chapter 1: Types Of Search Engine Ranking Factors

    The List: Google’s 200 Search Engine Ranking Factors!

    Google Algorithm - What are the 200 Variables? Google SEO News and Discussion forum at WebmasterWorld

    Then I believe there have been around 70 factors discussed for the local algo. Most of which are covered in the LSRF.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

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    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

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    Re: Effect of 3rd Party Reviews on Google Local Rankings

    @Linda

    I see what you mean. Thanks! Still not sure that social signals are much of a factor (at least in Google+Local), though I know they'll become increasingly important - fast and probably soon.

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    Re: Effect of 3rd Party Reviews on Google Local Rankings

    I'm sick and still loopy from sedation (makes you lose your mind for a day or two) so spacey as all get out. Don't think I was very clear on any of that.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

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    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

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