Automotive Marketing Professional Community for Car Dealers, OEM and Suppliers
We have all had a day to take in the changes that Google made yesterday with the roll-out of Google Local. This change impacts every business that had a Google Places page and the reviews that were there. It is important to understand these changes and what this means to your dealership.
This latest change is further evidence that Google is placing a lot of importance on Google Reviews. Your Review Score will be presented in search results and will be part of that first impression that users have of your dealership. In addition, your Google Review Score becomes content that Google can incorporate into its search algorithm, impacting where you dealership appears in search results. If you have not been concerned about your Google Reviews before, this change should heighten your awareness of the importance of managing your Google Reviews, including encouraging customers to provide reviews, delivering awesome service, and responding to reviews when they are posted.
New Reviews Scale
Google is trying to get us to speak a new language as it relates to ratings/ reviews. They have adopted a new rating scale and scoring system that is based on the Zagat scale, made famous by the Zagat Restaurant Guides that have been around since 1979. This new scale is out of 30 points and is derived from a 3 point rating scale [explanation of Google / Zagat Rating Scale].
For all business reviews that had been submitted to a Google Places page in the old 5-star format, those reviews have been converted automatically by Google to the new 3 point scale. Then all the reviews are averaged together and multiplied by 10 to get an overall rating in the new 30 point scale. Below is a summary of what the scoring means:
With the Google acquisition of Zagat last year, Google obtained a large amount of content of professional reviews of restaurants, museums, golf courses, and other local businesses. Now Google is integrating that content into the Google+ Local business pages and giving it to users for free, as well as assimilating user reviews into the overall rating of a business. Link to: AP article on Google Local launch and integration of Zagat content.
Zagat broke down restaurant ratings into Food, Decor, Service and Cost. Now that these Zagat style ratings are propagating to different types of businesses, Google is adapting the rating categories so they apply to different industries. For car dealers, when a customer submits a review, he/ she will be asked to rate the dealership on a scale of 0-3 in the following categories: Quality, Appeal, and Service.
More to Come...
There is a Google Places to Google+ Transition presentation that is attached, which provides some more screen shots and details about the overall transition and how this impacts dealerships. This data is as of May 31, 2012. That is important to note because more changes will have likely propagated by June 1, 2012.