As far as online marketers and SEO experts are concerned, all things Google are of interest and the search engine giant does not disappoint. Change is probably the only constant at the company.
This month one of Google’s biggest purchases was Zagat, a well established local reviews provider. As Zagat’s majority of business is still in physical books and publishing rather than the internet, the company has been struggling for some time now to overcome the challenges of attracting customers who are increasingly moving away from the print media.
The purchase is likely to benefit both Google and Zagat. According to Nina and Tim Zagat, the founders of the 32 year old review business who are to continue active participation in the company as co-chairs, the merger will give them a chance to expand in a big way.
This is also a significant move for Google, especially its local offering. It may help the search engine giant catch-up with Yelp in the review space. This is particularly important now that the Places profiles are almost completely devoid of all non-Google reviews. The decision to remove other reviews for Places pages was taken in answer to complaints from publishers like TripAdvisor and Yelp.
The partnership with Zagat means that Google is now a content publisher and this will help the company build its local content. Apart from restaurants, Zagat also provides travel, wine and entertainment venue reviews and ratings.
However, certain questions like whether or not Google will continue to publish physical books, will it make Zagat completely free as the reviews are likely to be imported into Places and will the brand be preserved, are yet to be answered.
From a reputation management perspective, its more important than ever for local businesses to get Google reviews from their clients and to search Google for their brand name weekly to see if there are any bad reviews that they can deal with to reduce damage to their brand.
Feel free to contact us for help with your company’s reputation management.