Both reviews and Google Business Profile images are now moderated via AI, for better and for worse.
The year 2022 saw the appearance of some interesting new features for local SEO, marked by the end of Google My Business, now Google Business Profile, or the arrival of “Live View”, which allows your smartphone to report precise things thanks to augmented reality.
Some of these changes can improve your visibility in the SERP. Which is not nothing, for example for companies with a physical store. For the record, a Brightlocal survey shows that in 2020, 93% of consumers searched online to find a local business. About a third of respondents conducted this research daily and more than two-thirds weekly. Here are three ways to take advantage of these new features…or not suffer from them.
How do I still get reviews despite Google’s new review filter?
For the past few months, Google has been filtering reviews via its AI. This includes reviews that violate its rules, but also a number of legitimate reviews. “We’ve seen a dramatic increase in reviews not appearing on a profile, reviews removed, and entire categories of businesses no longer eligible to receive reviews,” said SEO consultant Mike Blumenthal. local search to Near Media. This can be detrimental to your business, as 87% of consumers read reviews, according to a recent study by Brightlocal.
How to explain this? Mike Blumenthal thinks it’s hard to know the cause of review removals. For him, the AI is indeed using learning data that Google has introduced via spammy opinions. This creates an internal logic on the models of these opinions, which is difficult to know. Mike Blumenthal notes however that, as with all AI, there are “false positives”, that is to say that Google can make errors, which could amount to 30% according to him.
Many companies feel helpless in the face of this, especially in the United States, where the legislation on fake reviews is less draconian than in France. Especially since the lack of help from Google is felt. According to a study by Mike Blumenthal, the removal of reviews would be influenced by factors such as the category of business, real estate and the legal sector being more affected than others; or by the date of creation of the company’s establishment record, the most recent being those most penalized by the AI.
What to do ? If reviews considered legitimate have been removed, Jamey Lee, CMO and co-founder of LocalRanker, advises to contact Google, show the affected reviews with screenshots, and try to demonstrate their legitimacy.
Mike Blumenthal suggests approaching Google with caution. According to him, it may make sense for companies with few reviews to attempt to restore them here. He also advises making a copy of your reviews to return to Google in the event of deletion deemed incorrect. To make the American search engine less important, he also recommends using a tool like GatherUp, which allows users to be asked to leave reviews on sites other than Google.
How to submit images that are not filtered by Google?
The American search engine is increasingly using images and videos in local search results, according to Mike Blumenthal. “Google has doubled the inclusion of images in search results. In fact, 36% of mobile search results are images, up from 0% just four years ago. Google now shows images that match the intention of the researcher.
To avoid having to be filtered via the AI because of images that do not meet Google’s standards, various actions can be implemented. To understand the content of the image, “the Alt attribute of the photo is no longer enough for Google”, evokes Jamey Lee. “Now it knows how to recognize photos. Just look at Google’s photo API to see that.”
In order not to be caught in the trap of Google’s filter, Mike Blumenthal explains: “It has become essential for companies to regularly upload images that reflect the products and services they offer. And before doing so, to check that Google understands the content of the image well.”
The watchword for overcoming the obstacle of the filter therefore seems to be relevance, both in substance and in form. “We also ask our customers to avoid putting a photo from an image bank,” adds Jamey Lee. “It’s about giving priority to real photos, of good quality. Also avoiding screenshots, GIFs, photoshopped images, blurred images, or those with text written on them. There must also be consistency between photos on the business listing and on the site. For example, photos of a hamburger restaurant should appear on its listing and site.”
How to take advantage of the Live View feature of Google Maps?
The Live View feature of Google Maps makes it possible to display items in a close environment while walking around with your smartphone thanks to augmented reality. The user can for example display the opening hours and the degree of affluence of the place. Note that this feature has been deployed since last November in London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Paris and Tokyo.
Although live view is quite limited at the moment and does not necessarily have a big role in terms of SEO, it is not forbidden to try to take advantage of it. “For that, the most important thing is to make sure that his location marker takes people to the right place to enter his business,” says Mike Blumenthal. “The company should also verify this information on other mapping services like Apple, Here and Uber, so that customers can find them easily. There is indeed no worse customer experience than ending up in the trash from the alley behind the store, without being able to enter it.”
At the level of the information mentioned by “Live View” on the company, “if things are well optimized at the level of the establishment sheet, the collection of opinions or even photos, there should not be any problems. “, launches Jamey Lee.
It remains to be seen whether “Live View” will become a leading means of navigation. “It is currently limited to major metropolitan areas eyou requires the user to allow Google access to their privacy to use it,” says Mike Blumenthal. “These two issues could limit its adoption in the short term.