It’s an inescapable fact of modern business that the public’s impression of your company will be shaped in large part by what they find about you on the search engines, particularly if you are a small business. A couple of negative reviews or a few people venting on a Ripoff Report can deter customers from your business for months or even years to come. Up until recently, many of the channels for voicing your opinion were catered to the consumer, but Google is looking to even the playing field for those on the business side of things.
This problem has been an acute concern for locally based businesses in particular—such as restaurants and service companies—that pop up in a section of Google Maps known as Place Pages. Essentially, this works as an online directory, complete with directions, reviews and details about the company. Traditionally, customers have been able to post reviews and comments at will, but there has never been a formal avenue for a response from the company. Google recently announced that businesses will be able to respond to these comments, offering an opportunity to manage their public image.