Google+ Local provides users with a new landscape for leaving reviews as well as researching new restaurants and other local businesses. Building on the already strong trust of Zagat’s review system, Google+ brings several game-changing features to users looking for reviews of local businesses, as well as to the process of users contributing reviews.
Reviews are nothing without input from the local community. More importantly, the social integration of Google+ Local reviews brings a new level of trust, prioritizing reviews from people in your circles before those of people you don’t know. Gone are the days of wondering who the heck wrote that awesome review for such awful tacos. Expect a new level of trustworthiness in a space previously dominated by anonymity.
How do you pronounce it? Zagat?!
Zagat, previously known for their restaurant reviews and ratings and publishing annual restaurant review books, is now playing in the digital space since it was acquired by Google. Zagat scores on Google+ are based on a 30 point scale and range from “poor” to “excellent”. Users also have the ability to include an average cost per person (if applicable) as well as a brief review. As described above, reviews are also posted publicly and associated with a users’ Google+ account, encouraging honest and legitimate reviews.
Once a user leaves a review, it is automatically integrated in Zagat’s 30 point system. This allows users to understand average scores for restaurants much easier, without having to sort through countless summary based reviews. Zagat also displays a brief review summary, including quotes from many reviews, as well as an average cost (if applicable), just below the 30 point based scores.
OK, how can I contribute?
Find a place you love! Maybe a less than perfect restaurant experience is something to share among your followers and to the community. Google+ Local reviews makes it simple to leave reviews anytime, anywhere. Simply search for a local business, and leave a review. The best part? This can all be done on mobile devices by downloading the iOS or Android apps. Feel free to leave a review while you are waiting for your check!
Users can also take advantage of other fun aspects of the Google+ integration, including:
- Submit photos
- “+1” or share a local business as a way to encourage others to check it out
- “Star” a restaurant to easily find it again later
- Create an online event at a local business and invite people in your circles
- View menus
Integration across Google’s family of products
With Google+ Local reviews, your friends’ reviews will start to become part of the full Google experience. Expect to see local reviews within Google Maps searches, within regular organic search results and within the Google+ social network. Google now provides a very comprehensive view of local businesses within organic search results, providing users with nearly everything they could need to assess to research a local business and how their network interacts with it.
Let’s talk about it!
Do you have a new-found love for the Google+ Local/Zagat review system? Leave us a comment, a tweet, or connect with us on Google+, and let us know what you think!
Michael Klein is a former SEO Analyst at Digital Third Coast, a Search Engine Marketing company based in Chicago. You can find Michael on Twitter and Google+. Connect with Digital Third Coast on Google+.