Google Launches New Review Monitoring, Reputation Management Module


Linda Buquet

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Excited to announce that today Google is launching a brand new product that may surprise you.

<span style="font-size:48px;color: orange;text-shadow: 1px 1px 1px #000; face:century gothic">Reviews</font></span>
(Yes that's the product name!)


"Reviews" is a new FREE review monitoring/reputation management module that's built right into the new Places dashboard. (Screen shots below.) The "Reviews" dashboard shows all your Google reviews/ratings AND reviews from thousands of 3rd party review sites. (Pretty much everyone except Yelp.)

This should come as no surprise, if you read between the lines and watch hints she's been giving us about how important reviews are... like the review overlay right on the search results page and the new Google+ Local page design that features Google reviews AND 3rd party reviews more prominently.


HERE IS THE "REVIEWS" WIDGET
(My Google test account for Lindas Snow Shop)





Here are some Google reviews (My test account with fake reviews) ;)
There would be 3rd party reviews below that if my Snow Shop had any.






REPLY TO REVIEWS RIGHT INSIDE THE REVIEW DASHBOARD
Here is the negative review Joel Headley from Google gave Linda's Snow Shop...
...and my snarky response to his review. :p






REVIEW SENTIMENT ANALYSIS
(They look cool and colorful with 3rd party review which my fake listing does not have





OFFICIAL GOOGLE BLOG POST HERE:
Announcing Reviews in Google Places for Business

I'm really excited about this option and feel it's a win for local businesses everywhere. We all know Google has scrapers. Usually we see those scrapers gathering data for CONSUMERS so they can find all the info they need right on Google. (Info like reviews, flights, hotel rates, related businesses etc.) With this update they put their scrapers to use to help the business owners with meaningful data that can help them manage reputation and hopefully use the info to improve customer service or quality of care.

OUCH! Just looked at pricing for some of the companies that offer review monitoring. They are going to feel a big dent from this new free Google service. They charge $29 - 400 a month for something Google will now do for free. Big win for all the small businesses that use Google, eh?


Linda's Q & A (Here are a few Qs I can anticipate...)

Q: Are "Reviews" available in the old Places dashboard?
A: No only in the new dashboard, but don't worry you should be upgraded fairly soon.

Q: Will there be alerts or notifications of new reviews?
A: Not in this version, but Google is aware it's a much requested feature.

Q: I'm in X, Y, Z country, will I get this new toy?
A: This rollout is supposed to be worldwide all at once, not a gradual rollout. So as long as you have the new dash, you should have "Reviews".

Q: Does anything change with the review process or consumer-facing G+ L page display?
A: No this feature is tool for business owners - the only change is inside the Places dashboard.

This would have really surprised me if I didn't know about it, but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense for Google to gather this data and show it in the dashboard. And as I said it's a BIG win for business owners to help them stay on top of their reputation across the web.

For consultants, it's one more report or metric you can share. (Since we know many business owners never log in and check their dash.) I don't think there is a report export option or anything and I'm not sure there will be. But just take a screen shot and add to your monthly reporting.


What do you think???

Surprised? Impressed?
Questions?


Disclosure: I got a preview/test account. Google did not pay me to write this PR and opinions are my own.
 

Ashwin

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Here are my initial notes:

1. Third party reviews are displayed in the Google Places dashboard only when they are actually discovered by a Googlebot. Since, there is no set schedule for a Googlebot to visit your profile on a review site, the review monitoring they offer is not really on-demand.
2. Google pulls review data from structured hreview data (if they didn't, they'd have to write custom scrapers for each review site) - this means that they are missing a lot of sites, including - Tripadvisor, Opentable etc.,
3. Because they are pulling reviews from structured data, those reviews are snipped at 150-200 characters, and users will need to visit individual review profiles to go read the reviews.

In all, even though Google is stepping up the game, this is far from being an ideal solution for review monitoring. This was data Google was already providing to us in the form of structured data that they have just aggregated and decided to display in one place now.
 
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Super rad update! I think it's great. Small businesses are going to be super happy to have this in their dashboard. It's great for Google too as it will encourage more business owners to actually use their dashboard, and it will encourage more reviews for Google.

Under Whitespark's listing, this is the only other "review from around the web" it found:
Whitespark - whitespark.ca - PageSpan.com
Haha. Not really a review worth reporting. I know we have others out there that they missed.

Really interesting points Ashwin. I think there may be a lot of companies that will keep their review tracking service running if Google isn't finding all the reviews and isn't sending alerts.
 

Phil Rozek

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This is great news. To me, it's another data-point - of many this year - that tells me just how badly Google wants G+ users to start laying down reviews.
 

Margaret Ornsby

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Woo-Hoo!

I do agree with Ashwin that local businesses may be easily mislead to think this covers all review sites. I know at least one major review site in Australia you have to log in to view anything other than the most recent entry. I don't see how Google could pick the rest of entries up. So it has the capacity to skew results (no, that's not new).

Even with the limitations, I'm cheering!
 

Bobbie

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Appreciate the heads-up Linda! I shared your G+ post too. I'm jazzed that Jade says businesses can "encourage" their customers to do reviews. Way better than Yelp!
 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks all for the comments and resharing this post.

FYI not sure if this is related to the update or separate or has been around or just happened, but...

You know how folks were upset when Google started showing reviews in the SERP overlay because it only showed reviews and no owner responses - therefore could look bad to potential customers if they only saw the bad review and not the reply?

Well owner responses show in the SERPS now too.



(FYI not a client or anyone I know, just random example.)
 
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Here are my initial notes:

1. Third party reviews are displayed in the Google Places dashboard only when they are actually discovered by a Googlebot. Since, there is no set schedule for a Googlebot to visit your profile on a review site, the review monitoring they offer is not really on-demand.
2. Google pulls review data from structured hreview data (if they didn't, they'd have to write custom scrapers for each review site) - this means that they are missing a lot of sites, including - Tripadvisor, Opentable etc.,
3. Because they are pulling reviews from structured data, those reviews are snipped at 150-200 characters, and users will need to visit individual review profiles to go read the reviews.

In all, even though Google is stepping up the game, this is far from being an ideal solution for review monitoring. This was data Google was already providing to us in the form of structured data that they have just aggregated and decided to display in one place now.
I agree almost completely with Ashwin here, the only difference in opinion being the fact that Google does actually discover reviews even if hReview (or other type of structured data mark-up) is not in place. They rely heavily on contextual sentiment. However, this doesn't change the fact it might first take them some time to discover the review, and then to associate it with the corresponding business listing on Google+. This time might very well be a few months.

Super rad update! I think it's great. Small businesses are going to be super happy to have this in their dashboard. It's great for Google too as it will encourage more business owners to actually use their dashboard, and it will encourage more reviews for Google.

Under Whitespark's listing, this is the only other "review from around the web" it found:
Whitespark - whitespark.ca - PageSpan.com
Haha. Not really a review worth reporting. I know we have others out there that they missed.

Really interesting points Ashwin. I think there may be a lot of companies that will keep their review tracking service running if Google isn't finding all the reviews and isn't sending alerts.
Yes, this is one of the sites they frequently add to the Reviews from around the web section, and I believe this is again based on misunderstood sentiment. I remember the research of Adam Steele where he pulled and aggregated data from the Reviews from around the web section and one of the top sites he found were the likes of pageinsider.com, pageglimpse.com, pagespan.com, etc.
 
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This is definitely a cool new thing! But I am skeptical of the claim that Google's new "review monitoring" feature is designed to serve business owners over consumers. Why? A couple reasons:

1. As others point out, Google's spiders aren't likely to discover new reviews in a timely, consistent or comprehensive way. That means the data may be passively interesting but it's not very actionable for business owners.

2. If (or should I say "when") Google decides to show aggregate review data to consumers to compete head-to-head with nemesis Yelp for consumer trust at the expense of businesses' interests, I'm not sure this business "tool" is going to seem all that useful or special.

Still, it's great to see the Big G steering business owners not only to broader awareness of their online reputation, but to what they can do about it, finally taking an anti-Yelp stand and telling business owners to "remind your customers to leave feedback" on review sites. (https://support.google.com/business/answer/3474122) It's about time, sheesh.
 
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I LOVE IT!!

For the past 3 weeks I have been going back and forth with a client on Review Monitoring software b/c they simply have too many locations on hundreds of sites for one person to monitor for negative reviews. We came close to settling on Review Trackers (although I secretly dislike any local "tool" other than my own eyes) until I was able to give them the news today about this new, FREE tool!

Although, I find it strange that Yelp reviews are not included but Yelp pages flood page 1 of Google results more often than not....:rolleyes:

Good work G+ & Contributors! I cannot wait for all my clients to have this feature!!!

Thanks, Linda!!
 
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Hey Amber,

I think it's great, but I plan to keep my Review Trackers account because:


  1. Google's system won't alert me in real time when the reviews get posted. Acting fast is important with reputation management.
  2. Google's system, isn't finding Yelp or TripAdvisor reviews which is where the vast majority of one of my clients' reviews come from.

So, while I love that Google is providing this dashboard, it's still not a ReviewTrackers replacement for me. Not yet anyway.
 
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@Darren thanks for the testimonial and your business.

We are working hard over here on the next generation of our tool suite which will be launching early next year.

We are very excited to not only power our customers with daily and accurate tracking of all the major review websites, but deeper reporting and analysis with new tools to help generate reviews from customers that love your company.

We are more committed than ever to solving the problems of our customers and building the best suite of tools to help you track, analyze and generate online reviews.
 

Julian Thomas

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Very excited about this! Unfortunately I still don't have access.

I have an old style Google Places, and also a G+ Page (both verified). In Places when I click Reviews at the top right, it just loads my G+ Page but none of the options discussed here.

I've seen a few notes about "coming soon" and "you'll be notified" so I assume this is a wait and see for some. =/ (1 example)
 

Linda Buquet

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Hi Julian and welcome!

New dashboard upgrades seem to be escalating so hopefully you'll have it soon.

I think they are doing the easiest ones 1st and since I manually merged my Place page and G+ page early like you did, before I became aware that it was best NOT to merge and since I'm still stuck in the old dash, I'm thinking we may be in one of the more complicated buckets to upgrade. (Not sure, just guessing.)

But anyway, we should all be upgraded fairly soon.
 

tuffymp

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A few days ago I had 65 reviews and now I have 58 Why ? This appears to happen around the 25 of Nov. at this pace Google removes reviews I am going backwards. we origionally requested customers write a review while in our waiting room (we provide free WiFi) and several did. then Google erased all of them because they all came from the same IP. Even though the customer logged into their own account with their password. We stopped that months ago and now we loose more because of change ????

here is a link to our reviews https://plus.google.com/106450989585347565455/about?gl=US&hl=en-US

Dan :confused:
 

Julian Thomas

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Dan,

Yes, good thing you stopped that method. Better for folks to post reviews from their own home.

You're still doing great with 50+. I think we're all getting cut some as it seems Google's filters are kicking in strong lately. We're down 5 last week and 5 this week and 1 even, today. Reviewing this forum, and Google forums, it seems MANY are seeing this as of recent. I've resolved myself to wait it out to see if the filters+transition is "repaired" any and hope some may come back. In the mean time focusing on continuing to provide great service and wait for new reviews to come in. =/
 

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