Local searchers and local businesses will see a fairly substantially different Place Page the next time they’re poking around Google Maps/Places. The company announced a new look Thursday and promises more changes to come.
The new layout of Place Pages puts a heavy emphasis on reviews. More specifically, it emphasizes reviews from Google users and no longer shows review content from third party sites. (Google had issues with both Yelp and TripAdvisor over review snippets last year, you may recall.)
Rather than showing external reviews, the new Place Page only links to third party sites after showing a selection of Google user reviews. The review emphasis is also obvious with not one, but two cherry red “Write a review” buttons. Here’s a look at an example Place Page with Google’s new look-and-feel.
The Place Page will look slightly different depending on the type of business; for example, hotels and motels will have the “Book now” interface above the Photos section from Google’s Hotel Ads program.
Google removed a couple important pieces of the old Place Pages, too:
Citations/references: Place Pages used to show a selection of other web pages that referenced the business. These citations are the local version of links and local SEOs mined the competition’s citations the same way link builders look for competitors’ links. Removing these from the Place Page will have a big impact on local SEO.
Review snippets: Google used to show snippets of those third-party reviews up near the top of the page, but those are gone now. That’s probably a good thing, because the algorithm occasionally chose disastrous snippets.
Google promises more changes, including increased personalization of local search results and additional upgrades to the Places experience on other Google platforms and across different devices.