Let's take the mobile journey (estimates vary, but most agree that about 70% of all search is on mobile or tablet now):
Initial search: [business name + location]:
This gives the potential customer many options: map, address, opening hours etc. but we will stay with reviews for now. First there is the rating (numerical - 4.8 in this example) and stars (five) as well as the number of reviews - a click there takes the user straight to the business's Google reviews (see the third of the four screengrabs).
Underneath that is 'Reviews from the web' - again showing a score and number of reviews, but this time taken from the business's own reviews hosted on their own site.
In addition you can see two links to the business's website - centre right of the Google knowledge panel and right at the bottom - top of natural listings (as you might expect). Clicking on both of these will lead to reviews prominently displayed on the business's mobile site.
But perhaps most important of all - the change that Google has made - the 'Reviews' tab at the top - taking your potential customers direct to your reviews - again, both your own and Google's - without having to hit the arrow in the blue circle at the bottom of the knowledge panel:
There are three important routes to reviews here:
1. The three rich snippets - the first opinions a potential customer will see. They - as long as they are positive - should whet the customer's appetite for more. They then have a choice...
2. Read some of the 129 reviews - highlighted under 'Reviews from the web' - a click on which takes them straight to your website and the reviews you host there...
Three things here: a scrolling feed of verified reviews, a link to enable anyone to read all the business's reviews and a link to an explanation of HelpHound's role in the process.
3. Read your Google reviews by simply scrolling down:
And guess which tab in the drop-down menu most consumers choose? That is why it is so important to have a mechanism like Resolution™ that enables you to address inaccurate or misleading reviews pre-publication.
Don't miss the overall message!
Google has not made this change on a whim: by devoting more and more of the search experience to reviews Google is telling businesses that your potential customers want to read reviews.
It is slightly off-topic for this article, but we know many of you will be asking 'how does the business look in a generic search [business type + location]?'...
Answer? Top of the Google three-pack and top of organic search.