Google kills 95% of your Google Places hotel reviews. What does it mean for SEO?

2 blog posts in one day! No we haven’t gone mad… yet. We just thought that you all should see this news as soon as possible.

In the last few hours Google has changed their algorithm that pulls in review numbers. Previously when you searched for a hotel, let’s say in Chattanooga TN, you were shown a count of reviews box to the right of each search result that numbered in the hundreds or even thousands for 1st page GP results. This was because Google pulled the reviews from a number of different sources to build the cumulative count of reviews. However, now Google shows an extremely low number. Why?





The review number for this hotel is now, just 15. Previously for the Chattanoogan this figure was in excess of  200 reviews ( Tripadvisor + + yahoo etc. etc.). This change may have a close correlation with the gaining traction of Google +1. Google wants its active members to get involved and have the main say behind review results.

So what is the impact hotel and other industry local SEO effort? The number of Google Places reviews (and their quality) will likely have a huge say in future SERP rankings. For instance my search above ranks the hotels almost perfectly in review number order – 32, 15, 4 & 5.

So what’s your follow up question to that? Hands up please… That’s right… How do we get more Google reviews? Thats something that agencies and clients need to think about and resolve before Google leaves them behind.