Google is on the move again. As announced last evening in the Google LatLong Blog - many businesses noticed a change on their Google Places Page this morning:
The first big change you see is two large review buttons at the top of the page and under the photos. These buttons allow a Google user to mark a number of stars from 1-5, then type a review. This leads to the second big change. The only readable review snippets on the page are actual Google reviews. It appears that the star rating is based on the Google reviews. You will also notice a set of stars with the words "your rating" - this allows a Google user to leave a number of stars, or to also add a review.
The next big change is that the photos and videos are now listed right under the contact info and star ratings, and as a Google user, you can upload your own photos of the business you are viewing.
Also, your additional details information is missing. According to Googler Vanessa, Google still wants that information, even though they are not showing it.
Under the Google reviews, you will now see links to three other review sites. These can be any review sites. In perusing inn's Place Pages today, I have seen everything from Tripadvisor to BedandBreakfast.com and Yahoo Travel. No other place to see review links.
We then see "related places", which are listings of other local businesses within the same category- in other words, your competition.
One of the biggest changes we see is below the related places- no more citations. We no longer see links or mentions of the business. Google hasn't explained that move.
Google is ever-changing. I don't expect to see these changes to be the last in the near future. I do think this all has to do with the upcoming release of Google+, and Google's attempt to the be-all, end-all in social media and Local search.
Acorn Internet Services