If you asked every customer to leave a review, what would the content of those reviews be? Would they provide a more accurate depiction of your business than what is currently displayed on your listing?

Google puts a good deal of weight in what customers have to say about your business—so much so that they’ve launched a new-to-Search feature that uses AI and machine learning to analyze your reviews. 

What are Google Place Topics?

Place Topics first came out on Maps this past summer. Google is all about improving searcher experience and as Mike Blumenthal said when the feature first came out, “That is where Place Topics shine. To a serious consumer, this new feature allows them to more proactively read and understand focused review content in the areas of most concern to them.”

Google explains how they work:

“Place Topics uses data from your reviews to provide concise information and keywords on what customers highlight about your business. Topics are only created when you have a sufficient amount of customer reviews for your business.” 

Joy Hawkins was the first to capture Place Topics in the wild when they first came out on mobile:

What do Place Topics mean for multi-location brands?

This categorization of your business based on consumer feedback makes a comprehensive Local Reviews strategy even more critical for multi-location brands. Google is applying its own version of neurolinguistic programming (NLP) to pull out and highlight the most present parts of your business. 

Not taking an active position in your local reviews strategy means you are leaving it up to users to categorize your business in this way.

This is an opportunity for brands to glean great insight into the customer journey at the local level, and to analyze how this varies across locations and regions. Knowing that Google is paying this much attention to customer feedback adds great value to reviews; they’re not only a source of social proof but critical to your discovery and conversion, as well.  

Place Topics also gives you a sneak peek at the specific keywords Google feels are relevant to each of your locations. 

Getting started with Place Topics

Google shouldn’t know more about your business than you do! Knowledge is power—make sure searchers are able to surface the truest form of your business and service.  

A comprehensive, scalable Local Reviews management strategy is more important now than ever. Consumers expect to see brands engaged and actively responding to reviews, whether positive or negative. When a happy customer goes to your GMB profile to leave a review, do they see a brand listening to and interacting with those who invest the time in sharing their feedback?

Or do they see that customer input falls on deaf ears?

Multi-location brands should also be using these insights from Place Topics to inform content strategy going forward. Google is actually making it easier for you to determine exactly what interests consumers in each market—that’s a win!

Want to learn more about monitoring, optimizing and activating the data from all of your reviews across hundreds or even thousands of locations? Check out our Ask the Experts: Reputation Management and Local Listings webinar, available now on-demand.