Google just revised the Google+ Local review experience for users. This revision has improved the ability to write reviews, but in the process it has created a random and unpredictable route to accessing the Google+ Local page for a business.
Searchers of property reviews can now read and/or post a review of a business from the search results page rather than navigating to a Google+ page. For example, if you were to do a search for apartments in your area, several local pages will display. Clicking on the number of reviews under a location will open a pop-up that includes the property’s reviews, a review filter and a write a review button.
Search Engine Results Page for "Portland Oregon Apartment Homes"
Sample Google+ Local Review Pop-Up
Key takeaways on what this means for searchers and advertisers' local presence:
- Writing reviews is now much easier. No longer do you have to fill out a multiple question, Zagat-style survey. Now, a reviewer of a property can simply click on the “Write a review” button, grade on a five-star scale, write a summary of their experience and click publish, all without leaving Google.com.
- Google appears to be working to increase review engagement. These updates improve the property review process, but at the expense of the overall local search experience. The ability to navigate to a Google+ Local page is unpredictable. You can still click through to a property’s page from search if the “Google+ page” button displays next to the number of reviews associated with that location. However, it is common that searchers are not served the “Google+ page” button and they must visit Google+ Local to search for the business page.
In summary: We can hope for an improved search experience as Google continues rolling out updates to their local search products. In the future Google+ will likely be seamlessly integrated into the search results page making it easier to interact on a social level with local businesses and gain more insight into the property. We look forward to this enhancement and the opportunities it provides for enhancing the digital experience for businesses in the property management industry.
It is unknown exactly when Google will be rolling out additional features in Google+ Local. In order to maximize the benefits of these changes, and use them to enhance your clients' digital experience with your property, an experienced online marketing consultant can provide guidance.
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