Google is very consistently inconsistent and their move from Zagat’s scoring system back to the star system is more proof positive that the search Titan is constantly keeping us on our toes. It’s been just over a year since Google Places officially rolled into Google Plus Local and it has been an incredibly bumpy ride.
One of the major changes highlighted in this move was the introduction of Zagat scores to all local businesses. Once just for restaurants, the Zagat scoring system rated all businesses on a scale of 0 to 30. Businesses could obtain a score once 10 reviews were reached and then the score was maintained by a running average formulation.
There was no shortage of temper tantrums in the marketing world as reviews went missing or failed to adjust to the new scoring system. Another downside was the fact a business now needed at least 10 reviews in order to obtain a Zagat score. Low-volume businesses or those whose clients didn’t regularly leave reviews often found this hard to swallow.
However, it now seems the star rating system has made a return to Google Plus. Below is a screenshot of one of my roofing client’s. Just a few days ago there reviews accumulated to a total Zagat score of 27, today they have a 4.8 on a five star scale.
It seems business owners need to collect at least five reviews prior to obtaining a score; however I have seen some businesses with only four reviews receiving one.
This may be one of the few times when I really have no opinion in regards to a Google change. An obvious advantage is that moving back to the star system will certainly give more businesses the chance to get an official rating.