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Google Places Scraps Third Party Reviews and Citations

Posted by in Local Search

Noticed changes on Google Places again?  The design and layout of Place pages has been altered slightly, but the big change that is shaking up the Google Places Optimisation industry is all about content.

External Reviews Are Ripped

We are used to seeing excerpts of customer reviews from third party websites in Google Places. For example, snippets from TripAdvisor for attractions such as Sydney Powerhouse Museum, TrueLocal for service providers such as a computer repair shop, or Eatability for restaurants.

No more – Google pulled all these from its Place pages a few days ago, under pressure from third party review sites who have accused the search giant of ripping off their content. From now on, only the reviews that Google users have made in Google Places itself will appear. However, underneath the Google reviews, you can still click through to external reviews in the “More reviews from around the web” section.

To encourage more users to leave reviews now that the ones from third-party sites no longer appear, the option to review is now displayed as a prominent red button at the top of each Place page. Users are also given the option to upload photos.

Citations Get Censored

Another big change is the removal of citations from Google Places, for the similar reason that they were all sourced from external websites. These were formerly aggregated in a list under the “More about this place” section of a Place page.

Additionally, the “More details section”, service area radius, and business contact email have been removed.

How Will This Affect My Google Maps Rankings?

Not to worry!  Even though all the citations and third party reviews are removed, the rankings in Google Maps themselves haven’t changed. This means that all the citations and third party reviews have been deleted only from public view, not from the backend of the Google Maps ranking algorithm.

What Does This Mean For Google Maps Optimisation?

For a start, competitive research will now be more difficult, because you can no longer see which of your competitors’ citations you don’t have and should be replicating.  However, there are paid tools out there such as Whitespark’s “Local Citation Finder”.

The change equates to Google Maps Optimisation becoming even more like Search Engine Optimisation. You can no longer tell what your competitors are doing behind the scenes, and therefore it becomes even more crucial to liaise with Google Maps Optimisation professionals to make sure your Place page stays ahead of the rankings curve.

E-Web has extensive experience in Google Maps Optimisation, so contact us today for advice about how you can make sure your business is found in the local search results.

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