In the world of local SEO, there’s always something new to keep your eye out for that could be a game-changer. This week, that news is that star ratings are now appearing in review snippet on Google My Business listings.
First time I’ve seen the star rating appear with the review snippet here pic.twitter.com/gXoP0mG7hn
— Tom Waddington (@tomwaddington8) February 3, 2021
Spotted on Twitter by Tom Waddington on February 3rd, 2021, this change is yet another step from Google to bring online reviews front and center.
What’s new with Google review summaries?
Previously, when a business’s Knowledge Panel was generated by a local search, Google would highlight potentially relevant keywords. For example, “great service” might be bolded for a restaurant.
Now, not only is a searcher presented with these highlighted keywords, but the accompanying star rating is shown too. So, if someone left a review saying “great service” along with a 4-star rating, that’s what will be shown to the searcher.
Google has been placing more and more emphasis on reviews for a while now. Most recently, Google review summaries were updated, but it’s long been a feature achieving a lot of attention from Google.
It makes sense that Google would be taking more strides to bring customer feedback to the fore in Google My Business given just how important reviews are to consumers. This latest change only supports the idea that reviews should be paid attention to.
We know that Google tries to provide searchers with as much information as possible to help them make a decision, and this change to review summaries certainly provides users with more information to help them make a decision.
For example, in the case of this Greek restaurant, the review summaries don’t sound altogether positive but the star ratings are still pretty high.
This latest GMB change takes some of the guesswork out of browsing business listings, and allows searchers to make a decision even more quickly.
What do we know?
While it’s often wise to be skeptical, as Google is known to frequently test features, it looks like this change to Google reviews has rolled out globally. Here in Brighton, UK, we can see the same thing as our friends across the pond.
For example, here’s what our own Google My Business listing looks like now:
It seems too that this feature update has rolled across all industries. Local SEO Amy Toman shared that she’s seeing star ratings in snippets for legal, restaurants, and pet care, while another SEO commented that she’s seeing this feature for recruitment listings too.
Seeing this in legal, restaurants, and pet care. In what categories are you seeing this? https://t.co/JixPVcGX2V
— Amy Toman (@BubblesUp) February 4, 2021
What do local SEOs think?
As ever, when a big change like this comes along we like to check in with the local SEO community.
So far there’s been little chatter on Twitter, but it is still early doors. That said, I wouldn’t expect to see a huge amount of talk about this Google My Business news, as it’s a very uncontroversial change. After all, experts agree that local businesses should be paying attention to Google reviews already; this change only reinforces that.
Usually, you’ll see the most amount of chatter on forums and socials about changes that local SEOs think could be bad news, such as what we saw with the $50/month upgraded Google My Business test.
Although this is definitely a notable change — getting great reviews is more important than ever — there is little you can do to react to this Google My Business news.
As always, we’d recommend you continue to focus your efforts on generating authentic, quality reviews for your business across third-party review sites, and especially on Google.
If you’re not already, make sure you’re actively reaching out to customers for reviews on a regular basis.
What do you think of this Google reviews news? Drop us a line in the comments below.