In the world of Google My Business listings, there’s always something new to keep your eye out for that could be a game-changer. This week, that news is that star ratings are now appearing in the review snippet on the Google My Business listing.

Spotted on Twitter by Tom Waddington on February 3rd, 2021, this change is yet another step from Google to bring online reviews front and center.

What’s new with Google reviews?

Previously, when a business’s Knowledge Panel was generated by a local search, Google would highlight potentially relevant keywords. For example, “great service” might be bolded for a local contractor.

Google already illustrates star ratings and reviews in its results for Google Product Search. Now, the same data is presented more prominently, too. Original: The stars that appear next to your company logo are just as important as your logo itself. Now, if somebody leaves a neutral or 1-star review, you’ll still be able to read it. You’ll also see general opinions of customers when reading those reviews.

Everything we do is in response to user feedback. Google is making reviews easier to find and incorporate into local search results in a bid to help improve customer satisfaction with local businesses. As people spend more time online looking for information and making purchases, they need to speak up about issues within the community.

We know that Google wants to give searchers enough information to make decisions, and this change to review summaries certainly provides users with more information to help them make a decision. For example, in the case of the Greek restaurant, the review summaries don’t sound altogether positive but the star ratings are still pretty high.
review summaries screenshot
This latest Google “Featured Snippets” change takes some of the guesswork out of browsing business listings, and allows searchers to make a decision even more quickly.

What do we know?

After a few months with this, Google is no longer testing the new look. Yes, this is a real change that has been rolled out almost globally (at least in my country) now. Take note of new reviews here and elsewhere: you might have more existing reviews appear as soon as your business listing is updated!

It seems that this feature update has rolled across all industries. Your star ratings in snippets are being used for things like legal and recruitment, something you may have never considered using them for. Amy Toman shared that she’s seeing star ratings in snippets for law, recruitment, and pet care listings.

What does SEO strategists think?

When a big change like this comes along we like to check in with the local SEO community. The good news is that so far there’s been little chatter on Twitter, but it is still early doors. That said, I wouldn’t expect to see a huge amount of talk about this Google My Business news, as it’s a very uncontroversial change.

A lot of people will be upset when this change comes into play. After all, experts agree that local businesses should be paying attention to Google reviews already; this change only reinforces that.
Of course, you’ll see the most amount of chatter about this on forums and socials about changes that local SEOs think could be bad news. Usually, though, they’re not as dire as a $50 investment to upgrade your GSB, but some angst always exists.

The Conclusion

Although this is definitely a notable change — getting great reviews and positive PR is even more important than ever — there is little you can do to react to this Google My Business news.

Remember: Excellent customer service online is just as important as a fast website or beautiful products. Google’s algorithm will continue to be your most valuable ally in the search engine rankings wars.

If you are not already, make sure you are serious and regularly handling customer reviews. What do you think of this Google reviews news? Drop us a line in the comments below and read more awesome blogs here.