Google Launching Place Topics Adding More Value to Reviews

Last month Google rolled out Google Q&A Auto-Suggest Answer, using reviews to help consumers answer their questions. This month, in a still partial rollout, Google has launched Place Topics as a way to understand the themes and topics that recur amongst consumers when writing Google reviews about a business.

Above the reviews, Google presents the topics and the frequency with which they occur along with the number of times that a particular phrase was used. Each phrase, when selected, will take the user to just the reviews including the phrase.

First reported by Joy Hawkins, and still only available on Google Maps for Android, this feature uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to try to help consumers understand what other consumers found relevant about the reviewed business.

Place Topics Summarize Google Reviews For Easier Consumer Decisions

As Google accumulates ever more reviews, users are often confronted with an unmanageable volume of information about a business. Most businesses are bunched in the 4.0 – 4.5 rating with little to distinguish them.

Many consumers have looked to read the negative reviews to see if they can “live with the worst” about a given business. But this tactic has its limits and while it may allow a consumer to reject a business it might not provide the motivation to affirmatively choose one.

That is where Place Topics shine. To a serious consumer, this new feature allows them to more proactively read and understand focused review content in the areas of most concern to them.

So for example, in the above screenshot, rather than read all 44 reviews, Place Topics lets a consumer focus in on just the ones about Local SEO or whether folks do in fact consider her an expert.

How Does It Impact Your Business?

Clearly, with this feature and Google Q&A Auto-Suggest Answer, reviews are moving beyond just a way to understand the overall rating of a business into becoming a way for consumers to easily dig deeper and build a better sense of the business.

The goal of any business is to attract more customers. And with Google’s domineering position in delivering local search results both via search and Google Maps, Google will ask and answer more and more consumer questions. Hopefully, your review corpus will provide the searcher the information needed for them to call or drive to your location.

And, if you truly have built a better business, they will arrive pre-sold on the idea of doing business with you.

About The Author

Mike Blumenthal is a co-founder of GatherUp and helps oversee our research, industry insight and agency offering. Mike has long been regarded as the foremost expert on local search and Google Maps, earning the nickname “Professor Maps”. Mike also co-founded Local University, which provides small business and agency training in sustainable local search marketing. His motto: All Local All the Time.  He writes at his blog and does a twice a week LocalU podcast about Local marketing. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *