It was just last week that I wrote this article sympathizing with a local business owner who was agonizing over the fact that he had no way to respond to what he felt was a fake, malicious review of his business. Yes, just last week, but for years now I’ve bemoaned the lack of power local businesses have had to refute or reply to user reviews in Google Maps/Places. Well, my happy day has come, and kudos to Mike Blumenthal for breaking the BIG HUGE news that verified business owners can now respond directly to Google-based reviews.
My colleagues in Local SEO are speculating about Google’s motives for making this improvement – it may provide a new incentive for uninitiated business owners to get involved in Maps/Places, claim their listings and start actively managing them. Good point! Whatever the case may be, I just want to send a thank you loud and clear to Google for implementing this new feature. It was badly needed and I feel that this move on Google’s part is indicative of an increasingly committed attitude from Google towards the various aspects of their Local apps.
What a relief it will be for me to stop having to be the bearer of bad news to frustrated business owners on this topic. No more will I have to tell them they have no voice to respond. Let the owner responses flood in and the conversation begin!