Google search is showing an inconsistent pattern while displaying Google review counts for lodging properties. While the search results for some properties show review counts, results for some properties do not feature the review count.
The ratings did not seem to impact the review count display. While some businesses with ratings above 4 stars did not show review counts, we noticed that businesses with 2-star ratings had review counts.
Mobile results were also inconsistent where few properties had a review count and others did not. We tested this on Chrome and Safari browsers for mobile, there is no sign of consistency in Google Review Counts at all.
Here are the results from Safari –
So far, we have not been able to track a pattern as to why some businesses show review counts and others do not. We tried running searches for different cities in different browsers. Every combination returned the same result – some businesses with review counts and some without review counts.
There have been a few other changes affecting Google reviews.
- Previously, Google was prompting users to “Review this hotel”. It is not being displayed anymore.
- Also, Google is testing the usage of “Excellent” and “Outstanding” in place of “4-star hotel” and “5-star hotel” next to the ratings.
These changes were visible only for a brief period of time.
Again, if you need to see the number of Google reviews for your business, you will have to look at GMB reviews screen.
A lot of business owners and local SEO agencies are hoping this trend doesn’t continue for all business categories echoing the thoughts of Darren Shaw on this thread. Like Aaron Weiche pointed out, maybe it simply doesn’t make sense to compare properties based on reviews. Most of the businesses have figured out the art of getting more reviews on sites like TripAdvisor and Kayak. And, this could be one of the reasons as to why Google is moving away from ratings to displaying “Excellent” and “Good”.
We will have to wait and see if Google is just trying out things or if this is going to remain for a while.
Here’s a summary of that update –
|1||While the Google Search results for some properties show review count, some do not feature review count.|
|2||This trend is currently being noticed for lodging properties only.|
|3||The ratings did not seem to be affecting the display of review counts. While some properties with 2-star ratings feature display counts, properties with 4-star ratings miss review count.|
|4||Google is also testing the usage of "Excellent" and "Outstanding" in place of review counts.|