By: Jes Cote, Senior Reputation Specialist, Dominion Dealer Solutions
Each time Google makes a change, whether it is Google+ Local, Google Search, a 5 star rating or a 30 point scale, dealerships hold their breath. Consumers rely on search to give them quick, relevant information and with these new changes. This is exactly what Google is delivering.
So what are the new changes?
Well, they are the best to date!
Google has made a remarkable change to Google Maps. This change has not yet been released to the general public, but will be rolled out on Google Maps for Mobile, Google search results and Google+ Local in upcoming months.
Old vs. New
The most prominent change in this version of Google Maps is how business results are now displayed during a local search. Most of us are familiar with the current Google Maps interface with its two-column design. Currently, Google Maps places the search results and directions on the left and the map on the right. This will soon be no longer the case. The new Google Maps interface breaks the map out of the box and, instead, labels results directly on the map. This makes it much easier to see multiple results at once. Also, the more relevant results have a larger Google Map icon and the business name listed. The days of associating a Pin with the business listed on the left column search results are gone.
Floating search bar
The Google Maps search bar now sits at the top of the map, rather than being separated out. Once a specific location is decided upon, Maps displays additional detail beneath the search bar with floating “information cards”. This provides navigation shortcuts to that location, along with the ability to save it for later or examine the business’ star rating and number of reviews. Selecting the reviews section within the information card takes consumers directly to that business’ Google+ Local page.
5 Star rating system
When the change goes into effect within Google Maps, consumers will rate businesses on a review scale of one to five stars. This new rating system maintains the precision of the former 30 point scale while improving the readability and accessibility of the business listings.
Jade W, a Google representative states “as a business owner, you’ll notice that past ratings have been translated to a five star system. Previously, users rated businesses from “Poor” to “Excellent” on several dimensions. These ratings were converted to numerical scores and expressed on a 30 point scale.”
A dealership’s overall rating is calculated from both the old and new review systems to configure a 5 star rating. Sub categories such as “service”, “quality”, or “appeal” also contribute to the overall rating. According to Google, the new Google Maps algorithm takes into account statistical uncertainty when compiling the straight average of user scores. This means that scores will be more reliable for those dealerships with only a few ratings. With the Zagat rating, at least 10 reviews were needed to show the 30-point scale for any business. With the new 5 star rating, only 5 reviews are necessary to compile an actual star rating.
Google’s new mapping of individual ratings, as translated to star ratings, is:
Poor-Fair = 2 stars
Good = 3 stars
Very Good = 4 stars
Excellent = 5 stars
So what does this all mean? First, Google has brought back the 5 star rating scales. When Google moved to the 30-point Zagat rating back in May 2012, it threw a wrench into a long standing 5 star scale. It became confusing for consumers to understand the ratings for a specific dealership during the search process. With this new change comes simplicity. Search for dealership. Find dealership listing. Click dealership to receive info card and read reviews. It truly is a glorious site.