In a typical Google move, the company has redesigned and upgraded its popular place-reviews site, Google Places. By doing so, it has altered some content that will greatly affect a rated firm’s SEO. Specifically, Google Places will no longer be drawing reviews from other mass-review sites from around the web like Yelp or Merchant Circle.
Google Places allows web-users to both post and read reviews of businesses when they search for that place in Google Maps. Google’s presence on the company review landscape has enticed many savvy, SEO-oriented businesses to take an active role in shaping their Place page.
Previously, Places pulled reviews and rankings from sites around the web, allowing, for example, a Yelp review to appear as a review on Google. Now, however, evaluations of businesses must be posted directly to the Places page to appear as a review.
By eliminating reviews from third party sources, Google retains greater control over reviews posted on Places, clearly spurred on by the belief that it has enough of a presence to stop piggy-backing on already established sites.
With this new awareness, your business should add Google Places to your roster of sites that help promote your services. In addition to monitoring reviews, you should request clients to post feedback directly on your Place page, rather than simply on sites like Yelp.
Although Google Places is relatively new to the scene, its influence cannot be overlooked, as Google has proven time and time again with its many other popular applications.