Based on the comments I am seeing on yesterday’s post, it appears that the new Google+ Local Reviews Pop-Up has gone global. Since it seems like this is a real thing and not a test, I started looking at it a bit more to figure out the implications. One question that popped up:
@localseoguide What do you think this means for the value of Google+ Local pages that aren’t receiving heavy reviews???
— Jason A. Keeler (@jkeys1313) July 31, 2013
The short answer is if you don’t have reviews, the current display shows a link to the business’ Google+ Local page along with a prompt to “Be the first to review” which launches the review pop-up. Here’s an example for East Bay Floor Covering:
As for what this means for a no-reviews business’ ability to rank well, on the one hand in many verticals, particularly where reviews are not so common, businesses with no/low reviews can still do well. On the other, Google is clearly signaling that reviews are a big part of their future, so ignore them at your own peril.