As I reported yesterday, Google has stopped including 3rd Party Review counts into their yellow stars. There was some disagreement if this change was permanent, and today we see that it is.
The product manager for Google Local had this to say in an article posted on TechCrunch
Based on careful thought about the future direction of Place pages, and feedback we’ve heard over the past few months, review snippets from other web sources have now been removed from Place pages.
Rating and review counts reflect only those that’ve been written by fellow Google users, and as part of our continued commitment to helping you find what you want on the web, we’re continuing to provide links to other review sites so you can get a comprehensive view of locations across the globe.
Changes Are Here To Stay
So there you have it, so it looks like this is here to stay. So like all changes, we adapt and adjust our strategy.
In-store IRM process like Google Places App and PrestoReviews is your best way to maximize the face to face advantage.
Then through cards, emails, and adjustments to communication channels, you can build post sale, at home review process.
The number of consumers that have GMAIL accounts will be growing, since Android activations are at 550,000 a day. I estimate that 20-25% of dealership clients today will have a Gmail account or associated business account. Those numbers will be increasing.
Jumpstarting Google Reviews
Dealers can get a jump start on this recent change in Google Places by searching their DMS for Gmail accounts, and sending them a special email encouraging them to assist your dealership with this change in Places. It will not fix any large drop in reviews, but its an easy way to jump start things.
Implementing an in-store process is critical and most effective to collect authentic reviews. Once you have these reviews, you can syndicate them on your blogs and platforms like Prestoreviews.com also provide an SEO benefit.
Dealers should be considering adding banners and desktop tent cards throughout the dealership to increase the feedback about the customer experience at the store. The signage starts conversations that can turn into in-store review compliance.
Anyone who needs help in this area, can call.