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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Brian Pasch

Brian Pasch CEO

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Google Throws Out Third Party Review Counts

Change once again is rocking the automotive digital marketing world as Google today drops the third party review counts from its yellow stars. ONLY reviews directly posted on Google Places are showing.

This screen shot of BMW of Scherville showed all the DealerRater reviews last week in their star counts but not today.

This is what their Google Places account looked like last week:

This change is impacting all Chicago BMW dealers:

In-Store Reputation Management & Google Places

I've been coaching dealers to start using the Google Places App on their iPhones and iPads to increase directly posted reviews. The benefit? The dealer can use Google Boost to spice up their PPC strategy.

I also warned dealers that if Google every dropped the review "counts" from the stars from 3rd parties, they would be better protected by having a direct Google Places posting strategy.

Now keep in mind, Google is still showing the counts from third parties in brackets, but the key metric is that the yellow stars are what always show and not always do the consolidated reviews show.

I am not saying that 3rd party review sites are not IMPORTANT, they are. 

It is just that the MOST visible aspect of Google Places and SERP results is the yellow stars.  Secondly, there is not way to predict which 3rd party sites will show up in the brackets underneath the listing.

A Tsunami of Change

Acton Toyota has over 1,227 reviews posted on DealerRater but they only have 10 reviews directly posted on Google Places. A few weeks ago I saw their Google listing and it showed over 1,000 reviews with their stars. That is now history!

In fact, Google is not even showing all of their reviews from as shown below:

Dealers looking for direction on how to best adapt to these changes should start an in store reputation management process that include using 3G iPads and iPhone devices.

Dealers must set processes to identify consumers with Google accounts while they are in the dealership. 550,000 Android devices are activated a DAY and all have Google Accounts. Google empowered consumers can post reviews directly on Google Places, with their account, from a mobile device.

I told dealers this day would come and today is that day. If you need help with in store training, processes, and strategy on reputation management, give me a call. I'm here to help. We have the strategy and solutions.


Brian Pasch, CEO

PCG Digital Marketing


Jim Bell
That sucks! Thanks for the heads-up Brian.
Marketing Manager
Wow....although I just checked my local google and somehow one local competitor still has their dealerrater count still showing as part of the google stars and review count. Is google phasing this in, or is there a way around this?
Jeff Cryder
This needed to happen. It was becoming to easy to game the system.
Jeff Collins
This is exactly why you shouldnt hang your hat on your Places page. Its completely organic and you have no control. Keep your focus on page 1 and sub-page 1 dominance. This is where presto reviews has the edge over DealerRater.
Brian Pasch
I think that Google may take the stance that the review stars are their counts and that they are being democratic and fair by rolling up the review counts underneath the listing. It is also consistent that they want more businesses to use Google Boost and thus the stars in Boost will match their Places stars. It was odd to see a Boost PPC advertising on Page One with 11 stars and a Places Page with 300 stars on the same page. This fixes that conflict. Some people are still seeing a mix, but many places I have checked and the calls that I have been flooded with, confirm that this is a systemic change. As always, i wanted to keep the dealer community updated. We have been anticipating this and have been preparing our clients for this change. Google can reverse its decision however Google Boost represent big $$$ since it is ideal for the small businesses that can afford a third party to manage a PPC campaign.

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