Google has been focusing on delivering better local search results lately, and this week they quietly made a change that’s going to affect a lot of local businesses (albeit in a fairly minor way.) In the past, when you clicked on “Google Reviews” under a result, you were brought to the Google+ page for that business. As of July 30th, when you click “Google Reviews” it opens up a popup over the results page to display the reviews. Earth shattering this is not, but it does have an interesting implication for local SEO. Let’s take a look at what that is.
First, here’s what it looks like when you click on the reviews:
So, for starers. It shows you the 10 most recent reviews, but has a “more” button at the bottom of the page that lets you keep scrolling down. The “write a review” button is featured prominently, as are the authors of reviews, but there isn’t a lot of other information on display. It’s a fairly streamlined view.
Now, what makes it so interesting.
Local search results no longer link to the business’s local Google+ page. This is bizarre because Google has been pushing Google+ so hard for the past year, and now with this update, it’s like it doesn’t even exist. Of course you still NEED a Google+ local page if you want to be in those rankings to begin with, users just can’t click through your snippet to find your Google+ page.
Does this mean Google is relenting about pushing Google+ on people? Are they acknowledging the failure of their social network? Unlikely. I bet we’ll see a different way to relate Google+ pages and local results before too long.