Google’s Decision to Promote Local Reviews Helps Small Business

Google has all eyes on local reviews lately. Considering that 70% of customers who are asked by a business to leave a review will actually do so, this type of customer feedback is not only highly valuable and persuasive, it’s readily available! Google is doing their part to inform consumers by not only encouraging feedback with their ongoing Local Guides initiative, they are also actively translating local reviews. Travelers, consumers and most of all local businesses stand to benefit from Google’s efforts to promote local reviews.

How do Translated Local Reviews Work?

On April 24th, Google announced the “local reviews in your language” update. Like the name suggests, the update automatically translates reviews to the language you’ve set on your device. Not limited by location, this new feature is a true boon for globetrotters from around the world. And local businesses stand to benefit quite a bit as well.

When you open up Google Maps or Search on your mobile device and perform a search in a foreign country where you may not know the language, every review will be automatically translated for you. It’s that easy. The hassle of copying/pasting reviews into a translation app is history.

No matter where you are, or what you’re searching for, any review for a business will be quickly and easily understood. Users will still see the original review, but the translated version will appear first. All translations will be based on the preferred language you have set up on your mobile device.

screenshot for local reviews in your language update on mobile device

Users won’t see the same translation results in Google Chrome or when using a desktop device. This is most likely because Google wants to focus on the local aspect of the translation feature. Web browsers aren’t tied to a location in the same way that Google Maps and search queries for businesses are. And desktops aren’t exactly on-the-go devices. When using Search and Google Maps, people want to know what’s around them, even if they’re abroad. Adding translations to reviews in-app makes perfect sense.

If you haven’t seen translated reviews just yet, be sure to update your Google Search and Maps apps!

taking picture of food

Translated Reviews Can Turn Tourists Into Local Customers

Traveling around the world has suddenly become much easier. Going on vacation is always a great time, but we all know there are bound to be some hassles along the way. Picture this: you’re in a foreign city, hungry, trying to find a great restaurant online, but every review you read is written in a language you don’t understand. Thanks to Google, that’s now a problem of the past.

The Google translation update makes local businesses more accessible to international customers, but the question is, are they local? It’s true that most of a local business’ client-base will live in the same area, but when searching for a business in a specific location, a tourist quickly becomes a local customer, even if they’re just visiting. Now, even foreign travelers who speak almost any language can be temporary local customers.

Let’s say you’re the owner of a poutine restaurant based in Montreal. You have a strong digital presence with tons of positive customer reviews. Most of those reviews are in French and English. Nearby, a tourist from Russia, who speaks minimal English, is looking for great poutine in the city. For the short time they’re here, this traveler is a local customer in Montreal. Now they’re performing searches for “best poutine” while they explore. But the Russian speaker can’t really make sense of things because none of the reviews are in Russian. This is no longer an issue.

woman looking at restaurant wall menu

The translation of local reviews for mobile searchers is really helpful in our international culture. In bilingual areas like Montreal where some Anglophones don’t speak French and similarly where some Francophones don’t speak English, this is a welcome feature. Even with this in mind, translated reviews are not only intended for users. Of course the update has travelers in mind, but local businesses benefit the most from translated reviews.

Google Encouraging Local Reviews More than Ever

Given the nature of a review and how helpful it can be, Google is encouraging this customer feedback more than ever before, no matter what language is spoken. I recently left a local review and was summoned by Google Local Guides immediately afterwards. After I submitted the review, Google took me on a local ambassador tour for my area. If you haven’t experienced Local Guides yet, here is how Google incites local reviewers to participate more in their own community’s business feedback:

Step 1: Leave a Local Review

Step 2: Get Invited to Google Local Guides, Set Location and Sign Up, Take a Tour

Step 3: Leave More Reviews and You’re In!

Gif of local guides step by step

Between local review translations and this local Google ecosystem continuing to entice even more reviews, it’s clear that this type of crowd-sourced customer feedback is extremely important.

Why Reviews Matter To Local Businesses

Reviews are a major touchpoint in the local customer journey. After performing a local search, up to 75% of consumers will actually visit a business. And you can bet that users are influenced by positive reviews.

A local consumer review survey provides insights into how positive reviews influence customer decisions:

  • Nearly 70% of consumers form an opinion about a business based off of 1-6 reviews.
  • 68% of consumers say positive reviews make it more likely they’ll actually visit a local business.

As this data demonstrates, reviews play a major role when consumers are choosing between businesses. The translations add a new dimension to reviews, now influencing potential customer in any language! And Google is certainly encouraging users to leave as many reviews as possible to help others make informed purchasing decisions.

Getting more reviews for your awesome business and having positive reviews understood by more people directly benefits local businesses with what they want most: more customers. With so much attention on reviews, businesses may also increase their standard of customer service to attract more positive feedback, which benefits everyone.

Image Credits

Feature Image: Unsplash/Kate Serbin

All screenshots by Chandal Nolasco da Silva. Taken May 2017.

Image 1: Google Blog

Image 2: Unsplash

Image 3: Pixabay

Image 4-11: Screenshots from Google Local Guides

Chandal Nolasco Da Silva

Chandal Nolasco Da Silva

With nearly a decade of digital marketing experience, Chandal has created content strategies for both the biggest and sometimes the most unexpected markets, while developing strategic relationships with editors and publishers. Chandal contributes to some of the highest authority industry publications, has been featured in industry events and is thrilled to be Acquisio’s Content Director.

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