Google+ Local Removes Stars & Stores Lose Business

Jun 13, 2012 • 8:14 am | comments (11) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Maps

Google & ZagatWhen Google pushed out the Google+ Local changes it brought to the front Zagat reviews, which replaced the Google star ratings in the Google Maps results.

Prior, Google showed the average of the five star reviews in the search results. The more stars, typically the more clicks you get from the search results. So when Google changed this, some merchants and stores noticed a huge drop in traffic and sales from Google.

Here is what it looked like before (courtesy of agency3):

Old Google Places with Stars

Now, those stars are removed and replaced by Zagat scores:

Google+ Local Zagat Scores

Does this make a huge impact in the click through rate from the Google search results to the store or merchant? Some merchants are saying yes, it makes a huge difference.

A Google Business Help thread has one merchant who said on average he received 30-60 visits per day from Google from his maps result and not it is down to 0 to 5 visits per day. He said it is "destroying" his business:

I know for a fact that I am not the only one that feels this way as I have talked to others who have also experienced the same problem.

Everything about Google+ seems to be fine if not better than Google Places except for the removal of the stars. Ever since they removed the star ratings, my actions or clicks went from 30 - 60 or more a day to 0 - 5. I am still on the first page of Google for relevant search terms and in most cases I am also the first listing, I am also receiving the same amount of impressions as before, but the absence of the stars has caused an obvious hit on my Google Business Listing effectiveness. Injunction with that, I have seen a drastic decline in business. Is there not a way to compromise and use the Zagat reviews as well as the stars?

Have you felt the same way?

Forum discussion at Google Business Help.

Previous story: Daily Search Forum Recap: June 12, 2012


Andrew Whyman

06/13/2012 12:23 pm

It sometimes makes me wonder if Google even bother to look into the impact this will have on businesses with listings... At least if they gave some warning these businesses could at least have time to make some form of plan, but they don't.

Billy J

06/13/2012 01:04 pm

I wonder if the businesses that have felt this bite actually dropped in ranking from Panda 3.7 and are wrongly assuming that it is due to the rating change....


06/13/2012 01:11 pm

injuction? Nigga be makin' up words.

Claude "CodeAngry" Adrian

06/13/2012 01:26 pm

People understand star ratings. Any kind of visual rating (progress bars, stars, thumbs-ups) just works. They don't understand numbers. And when higher ratings are in red... it's even worse. Numbers in red usually mean danger. Anything in red means danger unless it's properly used to grab attention and visibly labeled as a call to action. It's freaking common sense.

Helen B

06/13/2012 01:37 pm

Zagat's rating system is meant for RESTAURANTS! Why Google decided to apply it to all businesses is short-sighted and stupid.

Webstats Art

06/13/2012 07:26 pm

Use Siri to find stores instead

John D Braun

06/14/2012 02:52 am

Did you consider that Siri uses Google?


06/14/2012 03:25 am

I know it is never fun because I've been there but I have to think the drop on some of these rankings is more of an algorithm change rather than removing stars. As Google announced they are relying on the Zagat reviews and Google + reviews now and it is evidenced by the two pictures above. Before the change there were about 80% less reviews. Which means all the non-google and zagat reviews were removed and probably given less weight. I do agree the stars look better however, I think Google can convert their new ratings into some graphical representation. I think everyone would appreciate that. Great article BTW!

Josh L. Konigsberg

06/14/2012 11:13 am

Perhaps Google is trying to leverage the Zagat's brand to lend credibility to Google+ Local, or perhaps they are trying to increase Zagat's brand breath and scope? We will find out soon enought.


06/28/2012 01:48 pm

Its about time the average American citizen has a voice in reviewing and telling of their experiences in how they were treated. If a business is forthright and professional, such reviews will do far more and have greater impact than advertising can ever do.

Former Google fan

06/28/2012 09:46 pm

I REALLY miss the star system. When I pull up maps on my android the level of stars on a place made it quick and easy to determine if it was good or not. Now I have to memorize this bogus number rating system ? No thanks, Google. I'm hating you more and more each day ever since you decided to creep my privacy through Gmail.

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