No. 549
October 19th, 2009

Google Place Pages Show Prominent Snippets of Consumer Sentiment

I was just doing a bit of cursory research this morning on behalf of a make your own jewelry company here in Portland whose website I had the pleasure of reviewing as part of the excellent Bend WebCAM last week.

The number one Lucky Pack result for “Portland Jewelry” was Maloy’s Jewelry Workshop, which had gotten 19 reviews in an otherwise-fairly-dead social space.  Nice job, Maloy’s!

As I browsed their Place Page (they do not appear to have claimed their listing yet, sadly), I noticed this little feature:

Reputation management, and incentivizing reviews, just got a whole lot more important.

It appears that Google is now showing Zagat-like review snippets in a very prominent slot within Places. Thinking that perhaps these were showing up simply because Google was looking for more information about an unclaimed business, I scrolled a few more positions down in the Lucky Pack and clicked on the Place Page for Gilt–right around the corner from my house–which had a whopping 53 reviews!  Same thing appeared there, and the listing was claimed:

I searched for both Maloy’s and Gilt on InsiderPages and Citysearch to get a feel for the full body of reviews for both businesses.  Given the number of stars and the overall sentiment voiced by users on these portals–incidentally, the overwhelming majority of reviews for both were on Citysearch, which was syndicating to InsiderPages as well–Google was quite accurate with the summary sentiments it chose to display.  It appeared that the summarizing was happening on Google’s end, as I did not see any corresponding snippets to simply spider on either InsiderPages or Citysearch.

Update from Mike:

This has been there since the beginning and is algo based. It doesn’t  show if there are not enough reviews to make a meaningful snippet so  you may not have seen them widely….Google feels like they have so  improved their algo that these snippets are spot on.

Additionally, I noticed on both Place Pages that there seemed to be much more structured content (such as payment methods, licensing information–hellooooo Locksmiths–and photos) coming in from sites that were formerly just portals, now turned data providers, like InsiderPages, Citysearch and AngiesList.  As I’ve been preaching for the last several months, it’s now more important than ever to pay attention to the high-traffic vertical portals in your space.

I’ve been traveling so much in the last two weeks that it’s possible someone else may have blogged this & I missed it!  Thankfully my travel schedule is fairly light for the rest of the year, so I should have a bit more time to blog and finally get some work done 🙂