Reviews From External Sources Appear In The Google Business Profile

Google Business

Spring 2024 will mark a turning point for the major digital platforms in Europe, and more particularly the famous GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft). Indeed, next March, the Digital Markets Act (DMA) will apply, and all market players who do not comply with the measures of this European regulation will be subject to sanctions. A few weeks before its arrival, the web giants are therefore making changes to their practices in order to comply. 

This is particularly the case for Google, which has discreetly started to make some changes to its Business Profile files. So, in recent days, the Reviews section of these sheets has evolved, as noticed by Daniel Roch, the founder of the Seomix agency. From now on, when an Internet user clicks on Reviews, they are redirected to a new Google search page with the “name of the establishment” + “Reviews,” which displays the reviews left by Internet users on different platforms (Tripadvisor, Justacoté, Google …etc.). 

However, before this change, an Internet user was redirected to a new tab listing only Google reviews. A novelty that does not arrive by chance and which suggests that the American firm has decided to bring its practices into compliance with the DMA.

What Do You Need To Know About Google Business Profile?

This evolution is visible in the Business Profile sheets, which Google set up to improve the visibility and local referencing of businesses. Free, they are primarily intended for local companies, such as restaurants, hair salons, bookstores, cafes, and grocery stores. To create one, an establishment must provide several pieces of information, including:

  1. its logo;
  2. pictures ;
  3. its services;
  4. its opening and closing times;
  5. their contact details (telephone number, postal address);
  6. a description of its activity.

For a company, whatever its size, activity, and turnover, the creation of this file has advantages, both for its SEO and for its reputation. It also allows its customers to give their opinions, which Internet users can then consult.

The Advantages Of This Tool For Businesses

Having a Business Profile sheet is a real asset for an establishment, a local business. It contributes to:

  1. Improve its natural referencing in Google SERPs;
  2. Develop your e-reputation by receiving reviews and ratings from customers and consumers, which can inspire confidence in Internet users who consult them;
  3. Improve its local visibility by being referenced and geolocated in Google Maps;
  4. Increase in-store traffic and sales volume by attracting customers.

It is also an effective tool for:

  1. Highlight its news;
  2. Better communicate and interact with its customers by responding to their opinions and any questions they may have;
  3. Simplify access to information that Internet users regularly seek: contact details, schedules, the link to the website, etc.

Customer Reviews, A Vital Element Of A Business Profile Sheet

As we previously stated, a Business Profile allows a company’s customers to leave reviews, which are accessible to everyone. They are clearly visible, which is why it is recommended to respond to them, including negative reviews, and to encourage customers to leave them. Likewise, they attest to the quality of the products or services of an establishment, a business, and the experience offered to customers. They are reassuring for Internet users since they prove that a company already has customers. When the opinions are:

  1. Positive, they demonstrate their satisfaction;
  2. Harmful, but in limited numbers, they bring credibility to other opinions.

In addition, we must remember that today, Google is the leading search engine used in France. He is known to a vast audience. Consequently, when an Internet user makes a query on the web to find a company, he goes to Google and has access to the reviews left by customers. Of course, he can then consult other sites, such as Tripadvisor and Justacoté, which list opinions, addresses, and advice shared by Internet users. 

But beforehand, an Internet user’s first instinct is to go to Google. Hence, there is a need for a business to have a Business Profile, which will be displayed in the SERPs with its reviews. In addition, for Google, the presence of these reviews is also a critical SEO criterion. They are highlighted in search results, and the more numerous and positive they are, the more a company’s positioning in the SERPs and its local visibility are improved. 

They, therefore, make it possible to gain visibility among Internet users. The integration of reviews from sources external to Google reminds us of their importance in the eyes of the search engine (even if we cannot deny the link between this appearance and the DMA).

New Opinions Integrated Into Business Profile Files In 2024

The year 2024, therefore, begins with an evolution for these sheets: the addition of new notices. Until now, only those left on Google appeared. But this practice was contrary to the DMA, and risked being considered a monopoly situation. To avoid sanctions, Google had to change its strategy. This was the case since, at the end of January, changes were noted in the Business Profile sheets, which we can all see today by searching.

 

This new feature places greater emphasis on reviews, which count for SEO in the SERPs, and allows Internet users to access a variety of sources. Their importance is increasing, and this implies that companies are paying more attention to them (responding to reviews, particularly negative ones, encouraging their customers to leave them, checking those published on other platforms, etc.).

Customer Reviews, An Essential Criterion For Google

As we explained in a previous paragraph, Business Profile reviews play a role in the ranking of businesses in Google SERPs. The web giant also considers that they:

  1. Participate in the customer experience;
  2. Help Internet users make their choice since they are consulted before making a purchase, making an appointment, or making a reservation;
  3. Build consumer confidence when they are recent and positive.

For a business, reviews also increase traffic on a site or site and, therefore, sales. This is why, in just a few years, they have become essential. It is a holy grail that establishments with a Business Profile are looking for. And this is likely to continue with the integration of reviews from sources external to Google.

External Sources Are Now Mentioned In These Files

Since the end of January 2024, the opinions listed in the Business Profile files are no longer limited to those of Google. Other sources are being integrated, and this represents a fundamental change. First, Google agrees to comply with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, which aims to combat monopoly practices on the Internet. We will come back in more detail in a future paragraph on the DMA. 

But it is worth pointing out that displaying only Google reviews can, according to this regulation, be considered an anti-competitive practice, due to the dominant position of the American firm in the search engine market. By mentioning reviews from external sources, Internet users benefit from a more global view. The results displayed seem more relevant and authentic and thus improve the credibility of an establishment or a business. 

For Internet users, this allows them to have access to reviews from several sites without having to consult them. But this change raises some questions. How will the sites react, which certainly see their opinions displayed in these files but risk losing traffic since Internet users will no longer necessarily need to visit them? And are all the opinions published really relevant to an Internet user’s search? 

For example, if a restaurant has reviews on Indeed from its employees, and Google highlights them, are they exciting to an Internet user who is simply looking for a place to dine? For the moment, it is early to answer these questions, mainly since a refinement will be carried out soon by Google to improve the relevance of the opinions integrated into the Business Profile files.

A Development Linked To The Digital Markets Act (DMA) Regulation

This display of reviews from external sources in Google Business Profile files appears a few weeks before the Digital Markets Act comes into force. It is unlikely to be a coincidence.

Indeed, this regulation was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, following a proposal from the European Commission, to limit monopoly practices in the digital sector in the European Union. It has several objectives, including:

  1. regulate the economy of significant web players in the EU to avoid abuse of a dominant position;
  2. curb anti-competitive practices;
  3. better protect Internet users and consumers;
  4. promote equitable relations between these digital platforms and businesses;
  5. allow users to uninstall pre-installed apps on smartphones

To give web players time to comply with the DMA, its application is being done gradually. Thus, from May 2, 2023, until March 2024, they can take measures to comply with this regulation. Otherwise, sanctions will be applied from March 2024 (usually). 

What Are The Consequences For A Company’s Customer Review Strategy?

This change also has an impact on companies with a Business Profile file, which will have to adapt to it by:

  1. rethinking their local SEO strategy since Google reviews are no longer enough to maintain their e-reputation, and it is now necessary to integrate other platforms listing reviews (TrustPilot, Tripadvisor, social networks, TripAdvisor, etc.);
  2. having a page on their website where their customer reviews are published;
  3. responding to reviews left on different platforms, predominantly negative comments.

Of course, this takes time. However, this diversification of review sources can have an impact on the referencing of companies in the SERPs; it should be addressed. It is also possible to receive support and advice from experts, such as our Powertrafic agency. 

Our team helps local establishments and businesses improve their online visibility and their local SEO thanks to a personalized strategy based on their objectives and their activity. With this change from Google in Business Profile files, the race for reviews is on! So make sure to take advantage of the start and contact us to benefit from the advice of our experts!

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