A few days ago I wrote about an interesting new feature I found out by chance - “Featured review” on Google Places. Unfortunately, I struggled to uncover more about it as I don’t have an Android phone and the people in Google seemed not to be willing to give away some information on it. However, I spoke with Linda Buquet on that and she picked up the topic and wrote a two-parts article on the feature. Her blog is probably followed by Vanessa Schneider, who is Community Manager for Google Places and she clarified how these “Featured reviews” appear (she gave me the same answer as in the comments under the post of Linda, on the Facebook page of Google Places):
When a Google Places user posts their rating or review to Twitter using Google Maps for Android — more info on how to here: http://goo.gl/ohmqF — their followers receive a tweet containing a shortened URL. The URL directs followers to the Place page for the business, where the recently tweeted rating or review appears in an easy-to-find section called “Featured review.”
What new information did Linda discover and what more was brought by this answer of Vanessa:
- only Android users retweeted reviews are being shown as “featured”
- when you go to the Place page via organic search or via Google Maps you don’t see the “Featured review”, you can see it only if you follow the short URL sent with the tweet
- this feature most probably exists since the announcement of the option to tweet your reviews and ratings from March 3rd, 2011
What did I come out with from all this:
- “Featured reviews” do not expire
- every review from a Google User can be featured, using the correct URL direct
- this could be helpful only for businesses that use buttons such as “See our reviews on Google Places” on their websites, so it isn’t useful for the spammers
Here is how to create a “Featured review” out of any review:
1. Go to your Google Places Place page and click on “Link” in the upper right corner:
2. When you get the link, delete the bolded parts:
so that it looks like this:
The numbers after the “cid=” are the unique ID number of each Place page, so they will be different for your particular Place page.
3. Save this link somewhere and scroll down to the “Reviews by Google users” section. When you go there click on the nickname of any of them. A new page will open, whose URL will look something like that:
4. From this link, take just the numbers after “uid=”. In this case the numbers are “215234974382015503873”
5. Go back to the URL of your Place page (in this case: http://maps.google.com/maps/place?cid=5442487001343959034) and add the following at the end of it: “&cad=source:gmm-twitter&ppht=review_permalink&author=“. The URL should look like this:
6. Add the UID number of the user that you have chosen in step 4 (in this case: “215234974382015503873″) to the end of the URL that we just created in step 5. The URL should look like this now:
*Note: the numbers after the “cid=” and “author=” in this pattern URL are unique and they will differ when you create a “Featured review” URL for your own business Place page.
The “Featured review” section should appear right under your description on your Place page. In our example it looks like that:
Some examples how you could use that:
A) On your website, if you put a link leading to your Google Places page. The “Featured review” pops up almost on the top of the Place page, so that potential click-throughers (new word?) could immediately notice your great review.
B) Create a QR code leading to that “Featured review” Place page. As Linda Buquet noted, not only the “Featured review” section contains a great, clearly visible review, together with enlarged stars bar, but also a good call-to-action: “Local recommendations powered by you and your friends. Start rating“. This could potentially help you get more reviews from your customers that you do not directly ask for review.
C) Use it in your email review gathering campaign the same way as you are using the link to your Place page. This time you could link to the upgraded “Featured review Place page” (also a new term?)
These are just a few examples, but using your imagination, you can definitely think of something interesting. I’d be happy to hear some thoughts.