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Google Relaunches the Zagat Experience with Curated Lists
Posted on August 7th 2013
Anytime there is a Google relaunch it’s a good idea to understand what has changed and how that could potentially change your SEO strategy. Just last week on July 29, Google announced that it has relaunched its Zagat rating system and will now offer access to all of the rating information without any type of registration. There are going to be new features to the Zagat website as well as mobile apps for Android and iPhone, making local search and finding local businesses even easier for users.
The biggest change is probably the introduction of curated lists, or different lists that help to categorize businesses and introduce related businesses to users. Moral of the story: If you own a business and are trying to stay active in the local search sphere, don’t ignore this relaunch.
How Zagat Reviews Work and What the Relaunch Includes
For those who are unfamiliar, Zagat is the system that Google acquired has been using to rate local businesses since 2011 (side note: this is the first major update Google has made to Zagat since that time). Overall, Zagat was seen as a positive for businesses because it gave users a chance to do the reviewing for a company the same way it is done on Yelp and Amazon. Google is no longer the only one deciding which businesses are quality. The new Zagat features include:
- News and Video Content. An entirely new Zagat website is being launched, complete with news and video content about different areas (lists, videos, buzz, etc). As mentioned above, there is no registration required.
- Mobile App. There are now Zagat mobile apps available for the iPhone as well as Android. You can download the apps in the Google Play store or iTunes Store.
- Curated Lists. And of course, there are the curated lists. These lists are a way for Zagat to help categorize notable businesses and, as Google says, help “cut through the clutter so you can find the perfect spot.” Lists include things like the spiciest foods in an area or best places for a quick bite (as you’ll see below). This is also a good way for users to find related businesses.
Below is a screenshot of my ffavorite restaurants in Chicago, Oven Grinder’s, that shows how Zagat is incorporated into Google search currently, as well as how these new features can be used and where you can find the new curated lists:
As you can see, the Zagat reviews show up right on a Google SERP when you search for a particular business. This is old news. What is new, however, is the “Featurd by Zagat” segment on the bottom of the listing. This won’t show up for every business; just the one’s Zagat chose to put into this curated list. In this case, Oven Grinder’s is included in the “Best Restaurants for a Quick Bite in Chicago” list. Below is a screenshot showing what happens when you click on that list link:
As you can see, the list is shown on the new Google carousel. Oven Grinder’s isn’t first on the scroll, but it’s still a part of the list. This makes it incredibly easy for users to find other restaurants that might be similar.
What the Zagat Relaunch Means for Your SEO
The question now for small business is how to make it onto a curated list. It seems that Google is putting those businesses with the most quality reviews on these lists. These are the businesses that stand out to Google, and these are the businesses reviewers trust. Although you can’t be sure your business will pop up on a list, you have a better chance if your business is well known. Of course, this means good SEO.
Put a lot of time and effort into optimizing your local business listing and encouraging reviews from your users. Use keywords and fill out all of your information, and ask some of your trusted customers to write reviews. You can learn more about customer reviews and optimizing your local listings here.
If you want to learn more about the new Zagat revamps, watch Google’s video below:
Currently, there are nine cities covered by the new Zagat, which include Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington, Austin, and London. As usual, Google of course plans to expand this in the coming months.