The Return of Five Gold Stars to Google Reviews

Well, that was quick. Less than two years after Google purchased popular restaurant review service Zagat’s to flesh out its local business reviews, Google is reverting back to the way things were.

The five gold stars are back, already appearing on Google+ Local pages and Google+ Business pages. What does this change for an orthodontic practice marketing on the Internet? Nothing. You’ve still got to work hard for Google reviews from satisfied patients.

One caveat to this: the five gold stars are not showing on Page 1 of Google search results; only after clicking into a Google+ page will you ‘see stars.’ For now, the Zagat’s-style review score is still showing on the Google search results page.

The Zagat’s review system is simple: 1 is Poor to Fair, 2 is Good, and 3 is Excellent. If a business has 10 or more Google reviews, Google will display the “average” score.

Google takes the average Zagat’s score (a decimal between 1 and 3) and multiplies it by ten. For example, if a business has 11 reviews and the average Zagat’s review score is 2.8 their listing will display on Google with “Score: 28/30” next to it. Once the user clicks one of the links for “Google Reviews” or “Google+ page” they will see the gold stars instead of the Zagat’s score.

Why use the Zagat’s score on Page 1 and then the gold stars on the Google+ pages?

Why doesn’t Google just pick one?

Both valid questions, and we’re wondering the same thing. The average score on the listings themselves are out of five, not three. Also, I did a new review for a local restaurant to see what sort of review scale Google would have me use. Sure enough, Google asked me to rate the business using stars:

1 star = Hated it
2 stars = Disliked it
3 stars = It’s okay
4 stars = Liked it
5 stars = Loved it

Since new reviews are using stars instead of the Zagat’s 1-2-3 system, it appears that the Zagat’s system is on its way out. Someday soon we will likely see the gold stars return to Page 1 of search. I would not expect Google to have an average score out of 30 on the results pages, and then use the gold stars on the +Local and +Business pages. But Google loves to keep us on our toes, so anything could happen.

To learn more about verifying and optimizing your local business listings, contact Orthopreneur Internet Marketing today.

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