At last week’s Google I/O conference, Director of Google Maps Daniel Brath announced that Google Maps ratings are going to return to a 5 star scale. The move helps simplify listings, and in doing so will likely motivate car shoppers to leave reviews for their dealerships of choice. It’s also part of ongoing enhancements to Google plus. Here’s what dealers need to know about the change:
Google is Simplifying Reviews
In 2012 Google decided to incorporate the 30-point Zagat ratings system into their reviews, and in the process managed to confuse just about everyone. Instead of using the industry standard ‘1 to 5’ points or stars, users had to choose points that correlated to a descriptive rating. 0 to 9 points represented ‘Poor to Fair’, while 26 to 30 points counted as ‘Extraordinary to Perfection’.
Multiple ratings categories compounded the complexity: Auto shoppers were prompted to select from attributes such as ‘Quality’, ‘Appeal’, and ‘Service’ (Did ‘appeal’ refer to the cleanliness of the dealership or the car being sold?). Google continued to make adjustments to reviews, which now were part of the Google+ ecosystem and meant to gain more viewership in search results, such as removing numerical ratings from individual reviews and only applying them to the overall store total. The result left a rather complex review process:
Return of the 5-Star Scale
Be aware that only users of the newest version of Google Maps will be able to see the new ratings system (request an invite). Once the system is fully in place dealers can go back to requesting that buyers rate their business as they see fit, noting that other shoppers will benefit from descriptive reviews that include the make/model of the car they bought or service performed. Here’s how the simpler, 5-star reviews will appear:
Google+ Continues to Evolve
The entire Plus experience has received an upgrade along with reviews. Pages are cleaner and it’s easier to take actions such as starring a location at your desktop for future reference on your mobile device. And you can dive deep into a stream of posts without needing to scroll back to the top of the page to get directions, add a photo, or write a review. And thankfully there is now a compelling reason for page owners to upload photos and videos since Google has added links to them at the top of the page in a central, highly noticeable location.
Key Action Steps:
Now that you’re briefed on the latest changes, here are a few key takeaways:
- Don’t have a Google+ Page for your business? Manage or create a Google+ Page now.
- Brief your associates about the change and how to relate the information to customers.
- Upload photos and videos that are short, to the point, and reference current interest
- Make sure your dealership principals have the current Google username and password to access your page!