As Google gets more nuanced with its algorithm over time, we are seeing reviews move up in importance and offer a lot more information than simply the overall score.  Sergey Alakov recently found Google showing thumbs up and thumbs down to specific features within hotel reviews. This is the canary in the coal mine for what is to come in 2020 and beyond.

Reviews within Reviews for Granularity

Replying to Online ReviewsWe already know reviews are not just a score. The quantity and frequency of reviews matter, as well as the words within the reviews. Google uses all of this to try to find information for users. I have shared the “best espresso martini” example in the past. This is not a business category, but Google uses text from reviews to find if people have mentioned espresso martini’s and then serves you with listing they feel are relevant to you.  Now they appear to be taking it up a notch.

It may have started with hotels, as Sergey found above, but it typically will always start in one area before expansion.  By this time next year, we can see these thumbs choices that show up for hotels on “amenities”, “bathrooms”, “service”, showing up on plumbers on “quality”, “on time”, “knowledge”, etc. You can see that it can easily expand to other local businesses based on often mentioned words within reviews, or things that are often searched for like “plumber who shows up on time”.

This is an exciting continuation of the trend to move reviews to a bigger part of a business ranking factor, which I think is a little better democratization of rankings than the high reliance on links today. There will definitely be more to come and keep an eye on this year, but for now, just keep asking for detailed reviews.  It helps to have customers point out your specific qualities because we know others are looking for the same.