User Ratings recently became critical in Internet Marketing
Google Reviews transform Local Search with Above-fold Local Display
Google recently launched a scrollable display bar with local search results that can be sorted by user ratings. See below.
When I searched for “Guitar lesson Orange CT”, below is what I received. If you search for “Pizza Your Town, Your State”, similar scrollable bar should appear. Basic structure is “keyword city state” or “keyword zipcode”.
These reviews are being provided from Google Reviews. From internet marketing perspective, this is a game changer for reviews and ratings.
Impact of modification of Local Search Display to business as well as to users
Short answer is now it is more than critical to have user feedback embedded on your website. In absence of user feedback, the local business listing will be drowned to the bottom of the list or even possibly not show up at all. Even if the listing shows up, the conversion from the results would really rely on the best feedback present. If you don’t have great (good is not good enough) reviews, you don’t have customers.
Like in any other rating system, here users will be able to see Overall rating, number of reviews as well as the actual reviews. Overall rating itself from 0 to 5 stars seems to be the most important factor. The search results would list the best possible rating despite # of reviews. This might be slightly flawed because as a user I might go to a pizza place with 4.5 stars from 66 reviews than visit a place with 5 star place only from 6 reviews.
Why this is important?
One of the reasons, this is very important is the positioning of the display results. It is placed in the highest possible position on the screen even above paid ads of Google. Google might be testing the placement however as long as stated Google Review based scrollable local result is placed at this critical above fold position, it will command an extremely high click-through rates and for those who have built great Google Reviews, it will most likely generate a windfall of traffic. This is a huge improvement from previous result set for both local businesses as well as its users.
Businesses, start building your reviews very fast.