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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Google Official - Reviews Will Not Come Back on G+ Local Pages

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    There has been much speculation and debate about the fate of Google+ Local pages, especially since the new Google+ update (preview) came out.

    By now most of you are aware that the whole review piece (and several other important pieces) are totally missing from the G+ Local pages. In my post about the New Google+ and Impact on Google Local I shared a comment Google had made to Ben Fisher saying the update was not finished and many features would be added back, including local features.

    I predicted that reviews and images would probably be coming back, because they are so important to Google and there have been recent GMB updates improving and emphasizing both.

    I don't have all the answers when it comes to Google. I usually make pretty good observations and am usually right, but in this case sadly no... REVIEWS ARE NOT COMING BACK.

    The Google My Business Community has been getting complaints (as you can imagine) about the review option being missing on the new Google+ pages.

    OFFICIAL WORD FROM GOOGLE:

    Per Elizabeth, our Google Community Manager.

    New Google+ Update doesn't show our Reviews!? - The Google Advertiser Community

    Reviews will no longer be shown on Google+ Pages in the new Google+ design. Reviews are still accessible on Google Search and Maps which have always been the primary way that users find business reviews.

    So there is the obvious statement - reviews are not coming back on the new G+ pages.

    Then there may be a subtle underlying statement, something many of us have suspected for a long time. "Reviews are still accessible on Google Search and Maps which have always been the primary way that users find business reviews." In other words (my interpretation) not many people went to, looked at, or used Google+ Local pages.

    Now I would posit that's due to changes Google made. When they started showing reviews right in the overlay on search, there were less reasons to go to the page. Then when they removed all the links it was practically impossible for the average consumer to even find the page. However, aside from the fact that Local is being distanced from G+, maybe the whole point is not many even looked at the G+ L pages to begin with. Likely folks like us and business owners were the main visitors to those pages. The great majority of Google users - every day consumers, probably didn't visit those pages very often.

    So we need to get used to the fact AND educate our clients that Google Local is no longer about the G+ L page. The data and images we enter into GMB and the reviews are just as important as ever. However the main places the data & reviews will show up for consumers (currently), is right in search, the Local Finder, the Knowledge Graph and Google Maps.

    So as I show in the image up top - you should review your client sites and emails to see how they are asking for reviews. Not only will the process change now, but the messaging and images may need to be revised as well.

    As far as figuring out the best review link to give customers now, don't fret, our smart pros have already figured that out for you. In fact a tool to make it all much easier was born out of that discussion:
    Google Reviews: Hacks for Creating Review URL Strings with the New Google+

    Keep on keeping on and remember what I always say in a gif...
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    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!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

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

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  3. #2
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    Re: Google Official - Reviews Will Not Come Back on G+ Local Pages

    P.S. Stay tuned tomorrow for a detailed post that will help you with this transition.
    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!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

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

  4. #3
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    Re: Google Official - Reviews Will Not Come Back on G+ Local Pages

    While I can certainly understand removing reviews form the new G+ L pages, it's nonetheless disappointing for us pros.
    Scott Rawlins - Find Local Company in Atlanta GA
    Follow Me on G+

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    Re: Google Official - Reviews Will Not Come Back on G+ Local Pages

    Hang on folks. I tried to be as clear as I could be in the post title and content.

    But some people are still misinterpreting and/or did not read the full post explaining why reviews are still as important as ever...

    TITLE: Reviews Will Not Come Back on G+ Local Pages
    NOT: Reviews are going away totally.

    I also said: "So we need to get used to the fact AND educate our clients that Google Local is no longer about the G+ L page. The data we enter into GMB and the reviews are just as important as ever. However the main places the data & reviews will show up for consumers, is right in search, the Local Finder, the Knowledge Graph and Google Maps."

    I want to share some important comments from my G+ post.

    Ryan Scollon
    This is really surprising. Especially as Google have really pushed the Local Guide thing recently. You think they would want to show them off as much as possible

    Peggy K
    I don't think it's that surprising. Google hasnt publicly pointed to reviews on G+ for a while. And with the new G+ emphasis on content, communities and Collections, business reviews don't really fit in.

    Linda Buquet
    +Ryan Scollon​ if you read full post - reviews are not going away at all. Just as important. It's G+ Local as a "page" that is being de-emphasized like Peggy said.

    Tim Capper
    I hope we get better info on this. How will a business: respond to a review, flag a review - currently unavailable in Maps.

    Guess that is an end to embedded reviews, but what about the api, will that still work etc etc

    Peggy K
    +Tim Capper​ it would make sense for review management to move to GMB wouldn't it?

    Tim Capper

    +Peggy K makes sense. A little tab somewhere in the dashboard so business owners can manage / keep an eye.

    Linda Buquet
    +Tim Capper and +Peggy K review management is already in the GMB dash. That's where you can respond to reviews. That's what the "Manage reviews" button is for. When you click there it says view and reply.

    And you would not flag reviews in maps because they are not connected to maps per se, they are connected to GMB. So you use the GMB report options now I guess.

    Linda Buquet
    You can also, as always, flag reviews when you pull them up in search or the KP. Just hover over one and you'll see the report flag.

    Linda Buquet
    Oh and Tim, not sure why you think embedded reviews would be affected. I think they should still show because reviews still show in maps. And when you click they just come up in the overlay. (Aside from the current embedded map review bug, which I hope is not related.)

    --------

    So for those that have not been following all our conversations here about these issues...
    (Sorry for assuming most pros were aware...)

    Since the G+ L links are all gone, no one is going to see that page any more anyway.

    We all got used to thinking of the PAGE as Google Local. We need to change our thinking.

    Google Local data (listings and reviews) are wherever Google chooses to show the local data and which right now is in the most important places: right in search, the Local Finder, the Knowledge Graph and Google Maps


    Let me quote the wise words of Darren Shaw from the forum discussion I linked to at top of this thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by whitespark View Post
    I don't really see the big deal. Hardly anyone ever went to the Google+ pages, other than SEOs and the business owners. They have made it virtually impossible to get to the page from the search results.

    Photos, reviews, and About have just moved to Maps or the Local Finder, which we can consider the new home for our listing at Google. They want to separate G+ from local, and they have pretty much put the final nail in the coffin with this update. G+ is a now a social platform only, and no longer a local business listing site as well.

    The impact I see is this:
    - listing analysis and dupe discovery is a little harder for SEOs now
    - We have to update the link we send people to to read/write reviews
    - We have to update our links to our Google listing

    I don't really mind. Google Plus just becomes less and less important for local search and we'll focus on the data we see in Maps, Map Maker, and the Local Finder.

    Hope that helps clarify. I had a hard time with the writing on the wall at 1st too, but now it's starting to make sense.
    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!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

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

  6. #5
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    Re: Google Official - Reviews Will Not Come Back on G+ Local Pages

    Good to know, thanks Linda. I just noticed that the help page re: getting reviews reflects this information as well: https://support.google.com/maps/answer/6230175?rd=1

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    Re: Google Official - Reviews Will Not Come Back on G+ Local Pages

    Thanks for the quote, Linda.

    Ben, that's a good share. This support document on reviews, combined with the fact that the Google Places API returns a Maps URL, makes it pretty clear that we can start thinking of the Google Maps URL as the new home of your business' listing on Google.

    Think of Google+ as some weird abandoned social networking site. From now on, it has very little (or maybe nothing) to do with local search.
    Darren Shaw | Whitespark Founder
    http://www.whitespark.ca | @DarrenShaw_ | Google+

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    Re: Google Official - Reviews Will Not Come Back on G+ Local Pages

    Linda: While I don't see the disconnect between a local business in search from a G+ page as important, and agree with Darren, I'll add that reviews are or can be utterly critical and will or can be seen in search as clearly and visibly as before.

    For 2 of our smb's we really focused on adding reviews in ...say the last 1.5 to 2 years. We have probably increased total reviews by a factor of 3. Our review totals in Google are far greater than those of competitors.....by a lot.

    Most critically they are great. That is a function of great staffs providing great level of services. The review ratings range above 4.8 ....and they are from real customers.

    For these two smb's we manage to speak to an enormous number of customers while they use our services. Among reasons why they chose the two smbs---Google reviews. (not the only reason but an increasingly important one)

    They are front and center in search....and potential customers rely on them.

    I'll add something. In our efforts to add relatively large quantities of reviews we started asking for them on site--a review center, or review station if you will.

    Of course that made it easier to acquire them; far higher response rate than requesting them by email.

    But google frowns on that practice. We probably lost 15 to 25% of the new reviews. We have never gotten them back. Among the ones we lost were one's during that period which were written from afar, not at our locations.

    They are lost. I don't expect to ever see them again.

    Regardless reviews are ever as important as they were before. Give great service. Ask for reviews. Keep it up. They are valuable to the bottom line. Do not acquire them on site in a review station.

  9. #8
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    Re: Google Official - Reviews Will Not Come Back on G+ Local Pages

    It seems to me that Google isn't looking to get rid of reviews at all, just change how they are presented.

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    Re: Google Official - Reviews Will Not Come Back on G+ Local Pages

    Thanks, Linda! And Darren is spot on: While this change seems big--and certainly I was CURSING it as we were up to 3am last Thursday pinging the Google Places API to update tens of thousands of Google links in our review campaigns --it really just solidifies what we already knew: that the value of Google reviews is not to be found on our barely visited G+ profiles, but in local searches! (i.e. on SERPs, maps, KG and so on)

    In terms of review acquisition and getting customers where they need to be, G+ may no longer be an option, but there are as many options as ever. And people are tired of hearing me say it, but I still like driving customers to the GMaps apps with device-specific links. So we finally "toolified" our link generator for these as well as several browser-based options:
    https://www.grade.us/home/labs/googl...link-generator

    Would be curious what people think of this approach...
    Jon Hall | Founder of Grade.us, White-label Review Management for Marketers, SEOs and Agencies | Author of The Marketer's Guide to Customer Reviews

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    Re: Google Official - Reviews Will Not Come Back on G+ Local Pages

    Thanks Jon, anxious to look at it when I get back. Bet it's another great option knowing the work you guys do!
    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!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

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

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