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Google Changes Review Star Count Policy

Change once again is rocking the automotive digital marketing world as Google today drops the third party review counts from its yellow stars. ONLY 22 reviews directly posted on Google Places are showing.

This screen shot of BMW of Scherville showed all the DealerRater reviews last week in their star counts but not today.

This is what their Google Places account looked like last week:

Google Review Counts

This change is impacting all BMW dealers in Chicago, see below:

You Must Have An In-Store IRM Process

I’ve been coaching dealers to start using the Google Places App on their iPhones and iPads to increase directly posted reviews. The benefit? The dealer can use Google Boost to spice up their PPC strategy.  Boost is an up and coming strategic advantage which we have been discussing with clients.

I also warned dealers that if Google every dropped the review “counts” from the stars from 3rd parties, they would be better protected by having a direct Google Places posting strategy.

Now keep in mind, Google is still showing the counts from third parties in brackets, but the keep metric is that the yellow stars are what always show and not always do the consolidated reviews show.

I am not saying that 3rd party review sites are not IMPORTANT, they are.  It is just that the MOST visible aspect of Google Places and SERP results is the yellow stars.  Secondly, there is not way to predict which 3rd party sites will show up in the brackets underneath the listing.

A Tsunami of Change

Action Toyota has over 1,227 reviews posted on DealerRater but they only have 10 reviews directly posted on Google Places. A few weeks ago I saw their Google listing and it showed over 1,000 reviews with their stars. That is now history!

In fact, Google is not even showing all of their reviews from Dealerrater.com as shown below:

 

In-Store IRM Processes and Training

Dealers looking for direction on how to best adapt to these changes should start an in store reputation management process that include using 3G iPads and iPhone devices.

Dealers must set processes to identify consumers with Google accounts while they are in the dealership. 550,000 Android devices are activated a DAY and all have Google Accounts. Google empowered consumers can post reviews directly on Google Places, with their account, from a mobile device.

I told dealers this day would come and today is that day. If you need help with in store training, processes, and strategy on reputation management, give me a call. I’m here to help. We have the strategy and solutions.

Brian Pasch, CEO
PCG Digital Marketing
732-672-2356