In an earlier blog this month, we talked a bit about how Google was introducing Reviews in Google Places for Business and the importance of actively seeking positive reviews for your business from satisfied customers and clients. Another aspect of this new development, which should also pique the interest of business owners and site managers across all markets, is the fact that Google is including a massive quantity of business review data in a new module for the updated Dashboard in Places for Business. Some have said that this data module makes the Places for Business Dashboard the “Mother of all Monitoring Systems” for small businesses. We agree!
Here’s what the updated Google Places for Business Dashboard module will include:
- Google based reviews
- Business reviews from thousands of Google-indexed review sites
- Review analytic reports on volume and rating stats of reviews from Google and other indexed sites
- Ability to respond to review from the dashboard for those who have a fully-social Google+ page
Why is this update to the Google Places for Business Dashboard significant? A great question! First off, it represents an incredibly powerful tool for business owners who wish to manage client reviews and participate in the ongoing discussion. In the Web-enabled world where 75% of consumers are walking around with smartphones, and many are posting reviews of businesses from their phones, it makes good sense to “monitor the chatter” and respond when the need arises. Also, the updated Dashboard represents a cost savings, given that other tools that collected and managed business reviews from around the web and displayed them in dashboard form typically cost business owners a few hundred bucks each month in the form of a subscription fee. Also, the updated and free Google Places for Business module creates one more reason for business owners to return to the Dashboard, a welcome sign that Google has seen the value of these management systems and intends to make improvements from time to time.
The global roll-out of this new Google Places for Business Dashboard module has already occurred, so all new Dashboard users can log in to see reviews data (in snippet form). Unfortunately, Yelp reviews will not be included. This comes as a bit of a mystery, since Yelp is one of the premiere search and review sites on the Web. Many business owners who actively participate in gathering and managing online reviews turn their customers and clients to Yelp first, so we’re remaining hopeful that Google will begin to include Yelp reviews sooner than later.
This article is brought to you by Rank Fuse Interactive, which serves both businesses and agencies alike as a provider of search engine marketing (SEM) programs, including search engine optimization (SEO), paid search advertising (PPC), social media marketing, content marketing, mobile web marketing, and search-friendly web design.