Google decided to recent Google+ Local back on May 30th. It’s been just over a month now and I can definitively say CTR’s (click thru rates) and phone calls are WAY down for a lot of local businesses since they have moved from the five start rating system to their new Zagat review rating system.
Not only have I noticed it, my clients have noticed it and other people too across the world have noticed a CTR decrease and phone call decrease since migration from old review rating system to this new one. One Doctor in the Google Places Help forum states:
“Google+ is destroying my business. I know for a fact that I am not the only one that feels this way as I have talked to others who have also experienced the same problem. Everything about Google+ seems to be fine if not better than Google Places except for the removal of the stars. Ever since they removed the star ratings, my actions or clicks went from 30 – 60 or more a day to 0 – 5. I am still on the first page of Google for relevant search terms and in most cases I am also the first listing, I am also receiving the same amount of impressions as before, but the absence of the stars has caused an obvious hit on my Google Business Listing effectiveness. Injunction with that, I have seen a drastic decline in business. Is there not a way to compromise and use the Zagat reviews as well as the stars?”
CTR’s Rates Trending Downwards
I think this is been a very major shake up for a lot small businesses. I also found Aaron Wall’s recent post on the major reduction of organic search results pages in the search results pages in Google over time and the increase of “paid inclusion“. Matt Magee also posted an interesting blog post about 8 months ago on how CTR’s rates have been trending down for quite some time now.
What Can a Small Business Do About It?
If you have a small business, I’d suggest maybe exploring using Google Adwords Express to get those Golden Stars back next to your paid ADs. If you sell products, get involved in Google Products and participate in Google Checkout so you can get those golden stars next to your ADs. Man, I miss having golden stars next to your local listing. All you needed was 5 or more listings and call volumes would skyrocket overnight.
For organic search, I’d suggest making sure you have your author markup set-up right so that you can have your image associated next to your listings. Of course, continue to keep encouraging you clients/customers to leave reviews.
What Are Your Thoughts on Your Phone Calls and CTRs Since Zagat Update?
Do you have a small businesses or are you a local SEO’er? Let us know your thoughts on this matter in the comment section below.