Google has been spotted conducting another one of its tests in the search results; and this one involves third-party review sites
Traditionally Google has always shown its own reviews when searching for a location, which either come from Google Maps or Google+. In fact, the search giant has been often criticized for taking visibility away from third-party review sites in favor of its own properties.
With this latest test, reviews from third-party sites like Booking.com and Priceline.com are shown underneath the Google Business listing when conducting a search. Google reviews are still being shown, but underneath that section is a new addition underneath the heading “Reviews from the web.” This is where you’ll see reviews from sites like Booking.com, Priceline.com, Agoda.com, and so on. Underneath the reviews there’s even a link to view more reviews on the third-party website itself.
Right now the test is only being seen when searching for hotels, but who’s to say it couldn’t roll out for more types of businesses in the future. Is this Google’s response to the criticism from third-party review sites? If this change ends up being permanent it’s almost sure to drive more traffic to third-party sites and help them regain the visibility lost through Google allegedly promoting its own properties.
As always, never assume any changes to search results are permanent unless officially confirmed by a representative from Google. We will reach out to the company and report back with more details if it chooses to provide any.