Last month Google introduced best-of lists and critic reviews for local search. Google is now adding “Reviews from the web,” which brings user-generated content from third party sites to the knowledge panel and prominent placement in mobile results.
At the time critic reviews were introduced in August, there was criticism that prominent review sites such as Yelp or TripAdvisor were seemingly not eligible to be included. Reviews from the web, however, is intended for sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, whose content and reviews generated by consumers rather than “critics” and “experts.”
On the desktop, Reviews from the web will appear in the Knowledge Panel as critic reviews do. In mobile, they will appear above critic reviews and best-of-lists in a horizontal presentation. The screenshot above, provided by Google, shows how it will look on a smartphone. Any publisher using Schema markup for reviews is eligible to be included.
In the first version of this, which will roll out globally over the next 24 hours, there will be three review sources as in the example above. The order will be determined by “relevance” Google told me. Reviews from the web will appear across numerous local verticals, according to Google.
Google is still collecting its own reviews. With the addition of Reviews from the web, it will now be showcasing three review sources: its own, critics’ reviews and third party review sites.
Google critics may see the move as part of a larger land grab (this was Yelp’s criticism of critic reviews/best-of-lists). However, Google says it’s simply trying to bring as much useful content as possible about places to local searchers.