In early August Google created a stir when it announced local search “Best of” list for the best spots to eat and drink, and see reviews from top critics and best-of lists from “reputable publishers.” The problem? Google’s list of reputable publishers didn’t include TripAdvisor, Yelp and Zomato.
TripAdvisor and Yelp made a complaint; Yelp stating “This is just yet another example of Google finding ways to preference its house-owned properties since they don’t perform/score well organically.”
Well, the good news is that Google seems to have listened. Now any publisher can apply to be included as long as they have completed the appropriate markup on their review sections. It effectively means that behind the scenes, publishers tag their pages in a way to indicate to Google that they have a review of a local business. See instructions on how to do this here.
This is how the Critic Reviews section looks on a normal search:
Why should you care?
From our tests, it appears that the feature (for bars and restaurants) is yet to be rolled out locally. This does, however, open a massive opportunity for the likes of Yellow, OraHQ (Localist) and Zomato to get the jump on their competition and become approved.
They can improve their organic traffic numbers and increase consumer reviews, and may also benefit with more prominence in local search results.
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