Google Search introduces new Review Profiles for users

Is Google quietly building a one-stop shop for online reviews? A recent update introducing Search Review Profiles has sparked speculation about Google's long-term plans for user reviews.

Google Store Insights Panel
Google Store Insights Panel

Google Search last month introduced a new feature: Search Review Profiles. This update centralizes review management and potentially increases the visibility and impact of user reviews.

Search Review Profiles are a new way for users to view and manage all the reviews they've written for various content on Google Search. This includes reviews for movies, TV shows, places, and potentially other searchable content in the future.

According to Google, profiles will initially be private but will become public on June 24, 2024. Public profiles will be accessible to other Google users who can see them by clicking on a user's name or picture associated with a review.

According to Gagan Ghotra, an SEO Consultant, profiles can be accessed by URL.

What can users see and do in their Search Review Profiles?

  • View all written reviews: Users can see a comprehensive list of all reviews they've submitted on Google Search.
  • Manage reviews: Profiles allow users to edit or delete past reviews they've written.
  • Public visibility (starting June 24th): After June 24th, other Google users will be able to see a user's profile and the reviews they've written. Public profiles will not display any personal details from a user's Google Account, such as birthdays.
  • Profile deletion: Users who prefer not to have a Search Review Profile altogether can delete it entirely.

Gagan Ghotra believes Search Review Profiles are part of a larger Google strategy that could ultimately sideline independent review sites. Ghotra points to several recent Google updates that appear to prioritize user reviews within the Google Search ecosystem. These include:

  • UI Tests: Ghotra has shared details of various Google user interface (UI) tests that experimented with increased prominence of user reviews within search results. This suggests Google is actively exploring ways to elevate the role of Search Reviews.
  • Merchant Center Updates: Google Merchant Center, a platform for businesses to manage their online presence, recently introduced the "About the Store Quality" program. This program allows businesses to showcase positive customer reviews directly within Google Shopping results. This further emphasizes the importance Google places on user reviews within its own system.
  • Organization Schema Support for Merchant Return Policy: Google recently enabled support for the MerchantReturnPolicy attribute within Organization schema markup. This allows businesses to specify their return policy within structured data, potentially influencing how return information is displayed in search results. Ghotra sees this as another step towards Google consolidating key purchasing information within its own platform, potentially reducing reliance on external review sites.

While the ultimate goal of Google's strategy remains unclear, Ghotra's perspective suggests Search Review Profiles could be a cog in a larger machine aimed at centralizing the online shopping experience within Google Search. This could lead to a future where user reviews on Google hold more weight than those found on independent review platforms.

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