Do reviews of businesses and products at Google influence how well those might show up in Place searches or product searches? It’s possible that they may, and a bigger question might be how much weight might Google give to each review that it sees. An answer, in part, to that may depend upon a reputation score associated with the people leaving reviews.
People do go online in search of reviews and ratings for businesses and products, and the search engines are trying to provide that information when and where they think it might be useful. Starred ratings are also showing in Google’s Web search with Rich Snippets, and the presence of ratings may influence whether or not someone clicks through a snippet from Google’s search results.
A recent change to how Google shows search results in Web search may mean that if Google thinks you are performing a search where local search results are appropriate, then Google may show those local results as if they were organic search listings. Google refers to this change as Place Search, and it can have an impact upon the amount of visitors a site may receive, and possibly increase the number of contacts for a business listed in those results.
A patent from Google granted today, Systems and methods for reputation management (US Patent 7,827,052), takes a closer look at the people who provide reviews and ratings for businesses and products, and describes a way of creating a reputation score for those reviewers modeled after Google’s PageRank algorithm.