Google – hiding links to independent sites in plain sight
No-one can say the strategists at Google are not clever! For many years now Google has been so dominant in search that it has created potential issues for itself with the US government – and the EU. As Far back as 2011 Yelp were appealing to the US Senate saying that Google was giving unfair prominence to its own services in search.
So what has Google done? Well, it has included independent review sites in search, just not too prominently.
Here is their latest concession – can you spot it?
First – desktop:
Take a closer look at the Knowledge Panel:
And now in mobile (60%+ of all search today):
Just to be sure – in expanded mobile search (for a hotel this time):
Lessons for us all:
Google will continue to do the bare minimum as long as independent review sites exist. But that will be all. The financial imperative at Google is to have us – and all our customers – using Google where possible (and justifiable to the authorities).
Don’t expect independent sites to be given any more prominence any time soon. Get reviews to your website and to Google – where they have the power – and the credibility* – to drive business your way.
*Yelp is the biggest general review site on the planet – how many of your potential customers have heard of it? Not many? As we expected. Now some of the smaller independent review sites? Quite. You need the credibility of Google reviews to drive business.