Google is one of the best places to get a positive review for your business, especially for local search. Not only does it give you that warm and fuzzy feeling, but it also goes a long way in attracting prospective customers to your business.
Google frequently changes its approach to its review system to best represent the best businesses in the area. Even though Google’s choices are out of your control, you can still prove to be the best with your business’s products, services, and customer service. Go with the flow, do your best to stay on top of the latest changes, and adjust your strategy.
Google recently made some changes to how it displays and calculates star ratings. These changes may affect how your business listing appears in local searches in two important ways.
1. Google is now displaying gold stars for business listings that have as few as one review.
In the past, the company’s policy was to only display a star rating after earning five reviews. However, the five review minimum is no longer. If your Google listing has a few reviews, make sure that they’re positive. A single, one-star rating now stands out, and can have a significant and adverse effect on your listing.
2. Google is taking a new approach to calculating a business’s star average.
In the past, Google used the Bayesian average. This means Google took ratings data for all businesses into consideration when calculating an average. Because of this, five-star ratings held more weight than others.
Now, Google is relying on the arithmetic average to calculate star ratings. Google calculates the arithmetic average by adding all star ratings together, then dividing the sum by the number of reviews. For example, consider a business with following star ratings:
Five 5-star ratings,
Three 4-star ratings,
Two 3-star ratings.
By using the arithmetic average, the business’s average star rating is now 4.3 ((5+4+3)/3=4.3).
Many agree that Google’s shift from the Bayesian average to the arithmetic average is a good thing. For one, it’s easier to understand and is a more accurate way to calculate star averages. However, the jury is still out on the change to the way star ratings get displayed.
As noted, you have no control over what Google does with its star rating system. The best thing you can do is to understand the system, stay current with changes, and do your best to earn great customer feedback on your Google listing.