Google has once again updated the review system in Google+ Local, converting the numbered Zagat rating system to the text explanations. As Megan Stevenson explains:
Today it’s easier than ever to write accurate, useful reviews on Google+ Local, thanks to the updated rating scale we rolled out. If you want to rate the food at a restaurant, or the quality of a mechanic, just choose “poor – fair,” “good,” “very good,” or “excellent”. Behind the scenes, we’ll convert your ratings into numbers and factor them into the business’ precise 30-point score that shows up in Google+, Search and Maps.
Under the most recent version, visitors reviewed businesses in varying categories on a numbered, 0-3 scale. The system was then converted to a 30 point scale for a total ranking. The problem with the old scores is that users unfamiliar with the Zagat system were confused by the 0-3 scores. Without reading the individual descriptions of each number there is no means to generate an accurate score.
Does a 0 score mean there was zero service? There was no quality at all? On the other end, is a rating of 3 Fantastic or just Good? The new, written scores break it down.
The new categories, Poor-Fair, Good, Very Good, and Excellent, still leave room for interpretation; however, it is significantly less room than the 0-3 scores.
The heavy lifting of converting the categories to a score will occur behind the scenes at Google, keeping the process as simple as possible for users. The task of writing reviews is otherwise unchanged. Users simply select the appropriate rating for each category and add a personal testimony if desired.
At Clix, we’re well aware of the potential SEO value added by reviews, and encourage our clients with relevant businesses to promote positive references.