Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
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I was just going to share a great post today by Greg Sterling from the Local Search Association called "Review Inflation: What Happens When Everyone Has 5 Stars?"

But then, at the Local Search Pros G+ Community Colan made a discovery about a new Google maps feature that could make Greg's "Review Inflation" observation even more of a factor.

We all know reviews are important and so do business owners. Up until now however the quality or rating of reviews did not impact search results much. You could have 2 star reviews and still rank above someone with 5 Star reviews.

Colan spotted a new review filter feature in new Google maps today. (Good catch Colan!)


Colan's discovery above adds even more impact to the original post I wanted to share below.

<a href="">Review Inflation: What Happens When Everyone Has 5 Stars?</a>

This morning I was doing research on local electricians (for myself) and came across the above page on Yelp. There were at least 10 listings that had five stars and a comparable number of reviews. I had to go to the second page before finding an electrician that wasn’t as highly rated.

Either these are all great local businesses or these businesses have gotten very good at generating positive reviews — or both. I’m not suggesting that these reviews are fraudulent. However Yelp becomes less useful when there’s less variation among ratings...

This “review inflation” as I’m calling it won’t happen across all business categories. But it will likely be more common over time. The best and most digitally savvy local businesses will have mostly positive reviews, making it hard for consumers to use sites like Yelp to differentiate them quickly.

So I have 2 questions:

1) Now that you can filter reviews in maps, do you think that feature will spread to search?

2) If it does, do you think even more businesses will try to game the system to get more positive reviews? Do you think there will be even more review inflation?

What do you think???
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Jul 22, 2012
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I think it will spread to search. It's already visible in the new "hamburger pack" that replaced the carousel. lsf.jpg

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