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No. 701
October 14th, 2010

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New Place Page Reviews Format

Google is now segmenting out its own reviews from those of its data sources.  They’ve also added a Favicon for the ones they’re pulling feeds from.

I can see two reasons for doing this:

#1) It’s the beginning of segmenting out hReview testimonials from businesses themselves.
#2) Those favicons are a nice little incentive for more third-party local portals to start feeding Google data.

  • Aren’t these hReview testimonials going to get real spammy real quick? This seems like it will get abused until it’s rendered worthless. Am I missing something?

  • Mike Blumenthal

    Good find! I think you are spot on about the segmentation.

    As I noted at greg’s there is plenty of spam now in reviews. To some extent Google will know more about the testimonials and the businesses they are from, effectively giving them more control not less . With effective segmentation it can add value to the places page and be spam filtered as necessary

  • Mike Blumenthal

    could Google also be throwing a bone to the bigger review sites and giving them a more prominent position?

  • earlpearl

    Nice catch, David. I saw that today, and simply missed it while seeing a weird G Places result, but that is another story.

    Local is dynamic. The announcement by Facebook and Bing that they’ll start showing Facebook “likes” on the first page of results for local searches under bing’s maps info is conceptually very powerful. As someone in Greg’s blog posted, I’d go to a steakhouse if 10 of my friends said they liked it…is a testimony to how powerful that could be.

    What you reference is another interesting development. It could give more credibility to more review sites other than Yelp, whose data Google isn’t accepting.

    Who knows maybe we’ll see the big SE’s partnering w/ review/local portals with different teams of groups presenting different information.

    In the meantime this information is being presented inside of Google Maps, and inside the Places pages which still picks up marginal visits relative to Of course I’m sure Google is vigorously working to get all of us searchers into Google Maps and into the Places pages.

    Meanwhile I like the favicons. They are spunky 😀

  • I feel the Favicons add a bit of a touch to the reviews (just plain body of text and star rating). A bit more colour and visually appealing to pull users to read the listing more if a reconizable symbol/icon is displayed.

    Neat add.


  • I like the favicons too. In general, I think this shows Google is promoting the importance of a diversity in review sources, as well as the quantity. I’m very much looking forward to testimonials getting pulled through as reviews, and I wonder if those will have their own section on the Places page or if they’ll get mixed in with the other non-Google sites.

  • Micaheath

    This has to be the new incorporation of the hreview format right? I like that they are separating it, hopefully this means they are using this data differently for ranking as well. This could help with de-incentivising spammers from exploiting the hreview format. However, I wish they would have placed these below the Google reviews. I am surprised they featured third-party reviews before the fold and their own content. Bold move Google.

  • Micaheath

    Actually I changed my mind, I am ANGRY that they put the third party reviews first. They are displaying content from some sites that is old and outdated. One of my clients has amazing Google reviews which are now hidden below bad reviews from yelp from over 2 years ago when they were under different ownership. I am really confused why Google would make this placement decision…

  • Any idea on how long it takes for google to suck these reviews into the places pages after they’re posted to these other sources like yelp, city search etc?

  • myles

    With google giving greater prominence to 3rd party reviews that gives further proof that google puts more stock & value in 3rd party reviews vs. their own reviews.

    Surely the next step for google is to expand out the ‘user content’ part of places – currently it seems so limited given the growing prominence and trends in user content on other sites.

  • Micaheath makes a good point “bad reviews from yelp from over 2 years ago when they were under different ownership” We are occasionally called in to help with reputation management, it is interesting to note that anecdotally (rarely do they have analytics) business owners report that a bad review has reduced the volume of enquiry and of course how unfair it is.

    Normally we explain the benefit of a positive ratio and proactively seeking reviews from satisfied Customers. When old reviews though are put forward over current it begs the question when we constantly advise clients the importance of constant new content creation, what benefit does Google see in ranking these results above their own current reviews?

  • john

    how the reviews fardward beetween the local search website like kuzu to inside pages and more?