In its latest effort to improve user experience, Google has made significant changes in its Places page. Regular Google Maps and Google Places users will immediately notice the difference. The Places page has been simplified across PCs and mobiles. The new look was announced on the 21st of July along with the promise of further changes. In the new layout, reviews are given great importance. The stress on reviews is obvious with the page now featuring two clearly visible call to action ‘write a review’ buttons.
The search engine giant’s issues with TripAdvisor and Yelp are well-known. The new layout of the Places page will not display third-party review content. Earlier, snippets from third-party reviews appeared at the top of Google’s Places page. But now the page will feature only the reviews offered by Google users. This may actually be a good thing because sometimes the snippets chosen by the algorithm used to be inapt. Instead of displaying external reviews, the page will now offer only the links to these third-party review sites subsequent to the reviews offered by Google users.
Another big change is the absence of citations or references. Earlier the Places page used to display some of the web pages citing the searched business. References are the local versions of links and important for local search engine optimization marketing. Their removal from the Places page will have a significant impact, especially on local SEO. Apart from these changes, Google has promised further upgrades to the Places experience across platforms and increased personalization of search results.