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Google Boots Third Party Review Sites From Star Counts

Change once again is rocking the automotive digital marketing world as Google today drops the third party review counts from its yellow stars.  ONLY reviews directly posted on Google Places are showing.  This screen shot of BMW of Scherville showed all the DealerRater reviews last week in their star counts but not today.

 

This is what their Google Places account looked like last week:

In fact, all BMW dealers in Chicago are impacted:


In-Store Reputation Management & Google Places


 

I've been coaching dealers to start using the Google Places App on their iPhones and iPads to increase directly posted reviews.  The benefit?  The dealer can use Google Boost to spice up their PPC strategy. 

 

I also warned dealers that if Google every dropped the review "counts" from the stars from 3rd parties, they would be better protected by having a direct Google Places posting strategy.

 

Now keep in mind, Google is still showing the counts from third parties in brackets, but the key metric is that the yellow stars are what always show and not always do the consolidated reviews show.

 

A Tsunami of Change


Acton Toyota has over 1,227 reviews posted on DealerRater but they only have 10 reviews directly posted on Google Places. A few weeks ago I saw their Google listing and it showed over 1,000 reviews with their stars.  That is now history!

 

In fact, Google is not even showing all of their reviews from Dealerrater.com as shown below:

Dealers looking for direction on how to best adapt to these changes should start an in store reputation management process that include using 3G iPads and iPhone devices.

 

Dealers must set processes to identify consumers with Google accounts while they are in the dealership.  550,000 Android devices are activated a DAY and all have Google Accounts.  Google empowered consumers can post reviews directly on Google Places, with their account, from a mobile device.

 

I told dealers this day would come and today is that day.  If you need help with in store training, processes, and strategy on reputation management, give me a call.  I'm here to help.  We have the strategy and solutions.

 

Brian Pasch, CEO

PCG Digital Marketing

732-672-2356

Views: 268

Tags: dealer, google, irm, management, places., reputation, reviews

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Comment by Scott Falcone on July 22, 2011 at 9:11am

Rob,

 

You should have no problem with that at all. Google has been a promoter of "in-business" reviews for a while...case in point a mobile app for Places. With that said things could change tomorrow but for now, go get em.

Comment by Rob Fontano on July 22, 2011 at 8:55am
We are considering adding a Tablet Reviews Process. Has anyone seen any issues with IP addresses from their dealer being blocked by Google places?
Comment by Keith Shetterly on July 22, 2011 at 7:35am

I think this is a good spot to make a point about www.pcgpitstop.com and Brian's efforts online and with dealers:  Brian is doing very well leading the pack on SEO, from which river all the rest of this branches.  I present on process and CRM at his workshop tour, and since I'm a full-time-engaged consultant, I don't even have a product to sell--the point being I'm not doing the tour for the money, but because I believe in what he's trying to do.  And he provides that opportunity to me because he believes that all marketing needs process to convert to sales.  And the rest of his conference . . . well, if you've not heard Paul Potratz or JD Rucker or Ralph Paglia talk about digital marketing, you're missing out.  So please attend www.pcgpitstop.com in a city near you!

And, back to this thread, Brian's alert here scared me a bit, at first, as I'm sure it did some other folks, and like I said I really appreciated him taking my call and helping me understand.  It's really down to in-store reviews that help SEO and Page 1 dominance, and Google has just now stepped up their presence there.  Big time.  He mentioned Presto Reviews, which I'm using on the Road to SEO and SERP1 Dominance, as a strong piece of the strategy that now includes even more Google Places work.  Thanks Brian!

Comment by Brian Pasch on July 22, 2011 at 6:46am

Ralph, apology accepted.

The workshop on Sunday was called Google Places Optimization & Advertising and not an Internet Reputation Management session.  If the topic was IRM, I would have stressed a multi-pronged approach and sited examples of how to implement a strategy along the lines of what you suggest as well.

 

The number of consumers that have Gmail accounts will be growing, since Android activations are at 550,000 a day.  I estimate that 20-25% of dealership clients  today will have a Gmail account or associated business account.   Those numbers will be increasing.

 

Dealers can get a jump start on this recent change in Google Places by searching their DMS for Gmail accounts, and sending them a special email encouraging them to assist your dealership with this change in Places.  It will not fix any large drop in reviews, but its an easy way to jump start things.

 

As you stated, the best time to get a review is while two people are face to face in the dealership.  So, implementing an in-store process is critical and most effective to collect authentic reviews.  Once you have these reviews, you can syndicate them on your blogs and platforms like Prestoreviews.com also provide an SEO benefit.

 

Dealers should be considering adding banners and desktop tent cards throughout the dealership to increase the feedback about the customer experience at the store.  The signage starts conversations that can turn into in-store review compliance.

Anyone who needs help in this area, can call.  

Comment by Brian Pasch on July 22, 2011 at 6:24am

Thomas

Great link and it gives another view of the "why" behind the change.

Fron the article, here is the summary from the product manager at Google Places:

 

Based on careful thought about the future direction of Place pages, and feedback we’ve heard over the past few months, review snippets from other web sources have now been removed from Place pages. Rating and review counts reflect only those that’ve been written by fellow Google users, and as part of our continued commitment to helping you find what you want on the web, we’re continuing to provide links to other review sites so you can get a comprehensive view of locations across the globe.

 

So there you have it, so it looks like this is here to stay.  So like all changes, we adapt and adjust our strategy.  In-store IRM process like Google Places App and PrestoReviews is your best way to maximize the face to face advantage.  Then through cards, emails, and adjustments to communication channels, you can build post sale, at home review process.

 

Comment by Thomas A. Kelly on July 22, 2011 at 3:54am

My reading from various sources indicates that the changes are here to stay. Erick Schonfeld's article in yesterday's TechCrunch,Titled: Google Places Stops Stealing Reviews is a good summary of "why and how" Google arrived here. Now we react and move forward.

http://techcrunch.com/2011/07/21/google-places-stops-stealing-reviews/

 

Comment by Ralph Paglia on July 21, 2011 at 10:58pm

Brian - I apologize for incorrectly characterizing your emphasis on Google Places... I may have let your presentation last Sunday skew my perception of what you recommend as "Most Important" into an incorrect conclusion as what you are recommending.

 

My frustration with Google Places is born from working the service customer lounge at several dealerships that are my clients and trying to get reviews posted to Google Places/Maps.  I became very frustrated when out of 22 customers only one of them had a Gmail account and could post a review on Google Maps/Places.  I am a strong believer in generating reviews at the place of business while the experience is "top of mind" for the customer.  The only way i have seen this work effectively is with PrestoReviews and BusinessRater.

 

None the less, I am sincerely sorry if I offended you or mischaracterized your recommendations, which was certainly not my intention... Maybe i am suffering from Google+ fatigue due to over-exposure! 

Comment by Keith Shetterly on July 21, 2011 at 8:51pm
I lived through the dot com to the dot bomb, from the rest'rant of the mind t'the roadkill on the infobahn, from  "the Google" to "the Walmart".  And I ain't never seen nothin' like this here Google Places thingy!
Comment by Brian Pasch on July 21, 2011 at 8:32pm

My colleague JD Rucker posted this comment about the change on another forum:

"I spoke to someone at Google earlier today and it's definitely permanent and all-encompassing. If you're still seeing reviews pop up for you, don't worry. They'll be gone soon enough."

 

So, we will watch and wait.  Tom, consumers will post a negative review wherever they want and depending on whether Google Places rolls that review up on Page One, or the review is on page one organically, will determine the power and visibility of that review.

 

So, dealers need to have a multi-pronged IRM strategy but keep in mind that whatever is consolidated in Google Places, most likely will get the most attention.

 

Also, keep in mind that all review platforms are not created equal.  Some have additional benefits like content syndication, inbound links, geo-targeted organic search pages, and/or high visibility by brand.

 

Dealers just need to have a strategy that adapts to change, and that is why I brought this to everyone's attention.  Nothing stays static so dealers better assemble the right team to keep their processes in line with changes in the market.

 

Comment by Tom Gorham on July 21, 2011 at 8:10pm
Wow, I don'think anyone is grandstanding, but there is genuine disagreement of what this means.  Not to be a spoilsport but maybe time will tell.  We're always so quick to give advice but sometimes we have to wait to see the fallout.  Meanwhile, I will continue to use an approach that lets the customer decide where to post a review.  Afterall, the unhappy customer will go where he wants to diss you.  Might as well have some good reviews to counter it.  Don't you agree?

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