Google Places Adds Best Ever Badge and Upload Photos

by Thomas Ballantyne August 5th, 2011 

The following is a screen shot of Bulwark Exterminating's Google Places in Phoenix, AZ.

Google Places Updates

Recent updates: A- the new call to action button for "Write a Review" (previously just a click on the stars to review) B – Upload a photo C – Best Ever Award

What does Upload a Photo mean for local search?

User generated content is what this means. And the search engines love user generated content. Getting photos up for your business by users will in my opinion become a trust factor. And when they assign a trust factor you can bet they are assigning a ranking factor. In fact, it seems that geo tagged photos associated with a business have actually helped some restaurants over come the centroid bias. Sadly this also means competition for business owners. Competition to keep user photos from out ranking the business owner photos. Take the place pages of this Seattle Conference Center (place rank E). This Seattle Conference Center has only one image from the owner showing on their places page. The other images have taken over the owner's images. As marketers, this may end up being a problem.

How do you get a Best Ever Badge in Google Places?

Best Ever Badges are an integration from Hot Pot. In order to get a Best Ever Badge the review must come from Hot Pot, and the reviewer must mark it Best Ever.

Best Ever Badge - found in Google Hot Pot.

Best Ever Badge - found in Google Hot Pot.

Best Ever Pest Control Company.

This most likely will not directly impact place rank. This may have some impact on conversions, but I believe that impact to be negligible. It seems highly unlikely that the small badge at the top of the place page is going to draw much attention. It does draw a bit more attention in the actual review section, but again, it's just a little bit of sugar that won't make or break local SEO. I highly doubt that someone would do business with a pest control company simply because of a BEST EVER badge in Google Places. And I don't think an exterminator that does not have a best ever badge is going to loose customers for not having it.

The Liked / Disliked Add on

Another transplant from Hot Pot in to Google is the addition of the liked disliked faces.

Liked Disliked Service

I believe this will be a very valuable addition. Someone may give a restaurant 5 starts but still not like the prices. Like so:

Value not liked.

Overall, this is a good move toward improving Google Places reviews. Once a user is trained to look for the Liked/Disliked section, they can see at a glance if the value, service, or other attribute of a company was liked or disliked. More importantly, a Google Places user may see a pattern that is not so obvious through the traditional star rating system; perhaps a company provides great service but the value of the service is questionable due to the cost. On the other hand, perhaps a company doesnt have friendly employees but provides the service at such a great price that it is worth ignoring the employees. When a customer is leaving a 5 star review, is it because they are doing an exceptional job or because they did the job so inexpensively. With two easy clicks of the mouse, a reviewer can qualify his or her review and make it much more useful for the end user.

That's the Local update from your neighborhood pest control guy. Follow me on twitter @Thos003 for more shenanigans.

Thomas Ballantyne

Don't mind me, I'm just the Pest Control Guy. Thomas Ballantyne

Bulwark Exterminating

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8 Responses to “Google Places Adds Best Ever Badge and Upload Photos”

  1. [...] Google Places Adds Best Ever Badge and Upload Photos, Search Engine People [...]

  2. Mark Upshaw says:

    I like the changes, albeit minute at the moment and not necessarily permanent. Any help in conversions with the best ever badge and the like/dislike indicators ultimately lead to a better user experience and better delivery of services by our clients. More user generated content/feedback leads to less gaming of the system, or when it is gamed it becomes all the more obvious.

    • Thos003 says:

      Mark,

      I agree. Anything that they add to help businesses distinguish themselves is a good thing for proactive marketers. And hopefully the user generated content will lead to less gaming of the system. Thanks for your comments.

  3. Nyagoslav says:

    Hey Thomas,

    The article is really nice, but I just wanted to mention that actually the best ever medal is there for quite some time (maybe about a year or so), although Google officially announced it about 2 months ago in a video tutorial with "Prof. Emoji".

    The "like/dislike" emoticons were also there for quite some time, and they always show up for restaurant/hotel businesses.

    But overall the article is really nice, and I really like the screenshots explanation!

    Greetings,
    Nyagoslav

    • Thos003 says:

      @Nyagoslav

      You are correct. Those updates have been live for some time. And it appears that you scooped me on your blog about the upload photos button as well. I guess that is what I get for taking time out to visit Seattle. =)

      BTW… I also liked that you highlighted the awards section. Thanks for your comments.

  4. Nyagoslav says:

    It is actually a funny story that you mentioned scooping. I was also out of town, chilling, and when I returned I noticed that there was this major change and I was hoping to be fast and to be one of the first to write about this. Then I realized that a few more local SEO specialized blogs already wrote some articles, so I just dug deeper and found interesting stuff like the awards section and the descriptive terms on the Place page.

    Thanks for the kind words!

    Greetings,
    Nyagoslav

  5. Phil Rozek says:

    Hey Thomas,

    Great post! I really like the terms you seem to have coined: "Liked / Disliked Add-on."

    I believe the Best Ever reviews first appeared around last October, when Hotpot was introduced (I only mention this because there was some debate as to when the Best Ever review option 1st appeared).

    Just to throw in my two cents, one benefit of Best Evers is that they automatically count as 5-star Google reviews (in addition to making for a nice feather in your cap).

    • Thos003 says:

      Yes. I missed the exact date on when the Best Ever appeared, but you are correct it most certainly was an add on from Hot Pot. Which actually makes me wonder if they will remove the best ever badge if Hot Pot gets pulled.