Dentists will remember hearing over and over again that good reviews are needed if they want their dental websites to rank high in Google Places searches. But what happens now that Google has decided to pull the plug on third party review sites in Places pages. This decision came just last week when Google announced that it will stop featuring ratings and snippets of information from third party review websites like Demandforce and Yelp from its Places pages. This may have been a move which was fueled by Google’s plans for exclusivity. At the same time, this decision is sure to bolster Google’s argument against violating antitrust laws.

The search engine giant has come under fire from third party websites alleging that the Web titan is exploiting the reviews created by clients of these websites in order to boost the ratings of their Places pages. Just last month, Google became the subject of a U.S. antitrust investigation last month. Google announced that it will no longer be featuring information from websites like Yelp in its location-based listings.

Google has not been shy about instituting changes. In fact, it retooled its Local Business Center search service in April 2010. This service has millions of businesses listed as Google Places. Changes ensued with Google’s overall look being updated just in time for the launch of Google+. The various branches of Google which were affected by the changes included Maps, Gmail and Calendar.

Currently, only the ratings and reviews written by Google users will be featured in Places pages. However, Google will still be providing links to various third party sites in order to help searchers find what they are looking for. The question which most individuals want answered is what will happen to those listings which have built their credibility through these third party review sites?

Google has that covered quite efficiently. Since the Web titan will no longer be making use of third party review sites, it has made it a lot easier for Google users to write recommendations and ratings. According to the Director of Product Management Avni Shah, “ratings and review counts reflect only those that have been written by fellow Google users, and as part of our continued commitment to helping you find what you want on the web, we’re continuing to provide links to our other review sites so you can get comprehensive view of locations across the globe”. Hence, dentists need a strategy with regard to reviews and streamline their efforts to getting Google users to post testimonials for them. If you have more questions feel free to ask us and we can send more information on this very important subject Google Places and Dentists.

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