Google is prepared to change the way it collects local business reviews and displays the ratings in search results. In fact, new reports show Google plans to make Zagat reviews a less prominent piece of information. This downgrade could be the first step toward the complete abandonment of the Zagat rating system in Google SERPs.
Recently, Megan Stevenson wrote on Google's own Google+ page that review authors no longer have to use the Zagat scoring system and can now choose phrases like "Very Good," "Excellent" or "Poor-Fair" to describe a local business.
The Zagat system requested users to rate a business on a scale of 0 to 3. The system would then convert those 0 to 3 reviews into a Zagat score that ranged from 0 to 30. This system was confusing for users, as most consumers are familiar with a five star rating system.
The changes made to how Google ranks local businesses may seem arbitrary for business owners, but the update highlights the search engine's continuing focus on developing local search initiatives. Business owners who want to position their operations on the web effectively and improve online visibility need to understand that new Google features can greatly impact the traffic they see at their brick-and-mortar locations. To help optimize web a presence, professionals can partner with B2B marketing agencies to bolster local search programs.