Google has loosened its restrictions on who can leave reviews. Once requiring a Google+ account, now reviews can be left whether signed in to a Google+ account or not.
To be clear, a Google account is still required, but a Google+ account is not. This was first spotted by Conrad O’Connell of Serptests.com, with further coverage by Mike Blumenthal.
This could potentially be a benefit to businesses; it could lead to a measurable increase in reviews left in Google search now that it’s easier for people to leave reviews. This is paramount since overall review counts and score are top ranking factors in local search.
The first and last name on the individual’s Google+ account will still be appended to the review, so reviews won’t be anonymous but mark a continued separation between Google+ and Google Search.
Blumenthal also points out this this update fixed a longstanding bug which would prevent reviews being left using a mobile browser for businesses that have no reviews to begin with.
The combination of making it easier to leave reviews, plus fixing a review-killing glitch, has the potential to lead to more reviews for businesses. Google has effectively removed a couple of major barriers to entry which would have otherwise prevented interested parties from leaving reviews on desktop or mobile.
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