Google Changes in 2020 That You Should Review


Google made over 3000 updates and changes to its search engine last year alone, once again proving that Google search engine is constantly evolving.

As a business owner, you need to update your knowledge of how the search engine works by keeping up with Google changes. SEO in 2020 is going to be all about your site’s E-A-T, which stands for Expertise-Authoritativeness-Trustworthiness. So for your content to have a high ranking in search you need to be an expert on the topic (think tons of relevant content), you need to be able to speak with authority (think well-researched content that adds value) and you need to be trustworthy (think backlinks and citations). Sounds easy, right? If the content on your site abides by these three rules, you have nothing to worry about.

While that’s easier said than done, the first step in the process is understanding the changes. Before you rush to work on your content, let’s understand Google Changes in 2020 and what you as a business owner need to know.

Changes In The Search Algorithm

Google’s search engine is constantly evolving and getting smarter. In late 2019, Google updated its algorithm based on BERT (or bidirectional encoder representations from transformers, phew now there’s a mouthful). BERT uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and a massive data set to help understand what people are searching for. Where a few years ago it only caught keywords in search, today the search engine also understands relevancy. Each update and change makes the algorithm smarter and the search engine better understands the end user’s (your customers) search intent.

Pandu Nayak, Google VP of research, said “This is the single biggest… most positive change we’ve had in the last five years and perhaps one of the biggest since the beginning.”

What does this change mean for your business?

Just stuffing your content with keywords won’t achieve good results. BERT is reading your content closely to understand how well your content matches with search intent. Work on creating top-quality content for your
customers, and not for the search engine. If your content is genuinely providing value, it will rank.

‘Local’ And ‘Near Me’ Searches

Studies show that 92% of customers choose businesses on the first page of search results. Google said that the number of mobile searches checking for local businesses grew by over 250% between 2017 and 2019. According to Google, there are three factors that matter when it comes to ‘near me’ searches: distance, prominence, and relevance.

What does this change mean for your business?

Keep your listings accurate and consistent across the web. Adding information and keywords that help Google understand relevance is important.

No Such Thing As Too Many Reviews

Reviews will continue to have an important influence on the ranking of the website. Businesses with positive reviews will continue to rank higher in regular and local searches. Websites that get reviews and comments will also rank higher in searches.

What does this change mean for your business?

It is important to reach out to customers for reviews regularly. Google places a high value on user-generated content, which also includes reviews. Respond and interact with your customers in comment sections, reviews
and listings — Google is paying attention (as are your future customers).

Talking About Schema

Simply put, schema helps search engines understand what content is present on a page. SEO experts swear by and your in-house SEO guy will agree that it is extremely helpful in getting those SEO results.
Schema helps Google understand if there is a list or a survey or an image on a page so that it brings up the appropriate search results. On January 21, Google announced that starting from April 6, 2020, it will go all-in with and will no longer support data-vocabulary markup (another type of code) for rich results.

What does this change mean for your business?

Tell your in-house SEO guy to start using Schema in your relevant pages, if you don’t already do so. It will help you get traffic.

Changes To Links And User-Generated Content

When you add links to your content, you are telling Google to ‘do-follow’ or ‘no-follow’ the link. Sponsored (think ads!) and User-Generated Content (UGC – think reviews, comments, photos and much more) are considered no-follow links. No-follow links are links with a rel=”nofollow” HTML tag applied to them. When a link is a no-follow, it just tells search engines to ignore that link for PageRank. From March 1, 2020, Google said that it will read these links and start considering these links as hints that may or may not influence search ranking instead of being completely ignored. This is a big change from Google’s stance on the matter.

Talking about this change, which Google insists is a ‘choice’, the company said: “Links contain valuable information that can help us improve search, such as how the words within links describe content they point at.”

What does this change mean for your business?

Decide which attributes you want to use on your links. Although you can label all your sponsored links as no-follow, differentiating between sponsored and UGC links can help Google understand your content better and give your search ranking a boost! And yes, Make sure you use proper ‘anchor text’ in case you want Google to take the hint!

Keywords In Your Google My Business Page

Earlier this year, a change in Google My Business (GMB) usage came to light — GMB profiles that use keywords in descriptions will rank higher. Responding to this change Google said, “The information in question is accurate. While it’s not guaranteed to improve the ranking, it could, depending on other factors, as well as information that is found online associated with the business.”

What does this change mean for your business?

Make sure that you are adding keywords to your Google My Business profile. While it is still unclear how much this will help, you should optimize your Google My Business profile and do everything you can to rank high in search

Letting Go of Rich Snippets

Previously, Google allowed businesses to use review schema to show the business’s overall star rating in their search result through a rich snippet. These rich snippets helped businesses stand out in comparison to their competitors in search results. In late 2019, Google has banned “self-serving reviews”. Google has defined this as “reviews of a business on the business’ own site”. This means that websites with schema “LocalBusiness” or “Organization” will no longer be able to display rich snippets in search results. Remember, self-serving reviews are reviews posted by a business on the business’s own website.

What does this change mean for your business?

There shouldn’t be a big change in your website’s search rankings. Rich snippets will no longer show on your website.

Build Mobile-First Websites

In 2020, the mantra is to build mobile-first websites and then adjust them for desktop. Mobile devices account for 53% of paid-search clicks and this number is only set to increase. Users typically bounce off a page with low speed. By building mobile-first websites, your website is also winning in the speed game. In recent years Google has made it clear that page speed is an important ranking factor.

What does this change mean for your business?

Use SEO best practices like avoiding redirects to other pages, optimizing images, among other things to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly.

What’s New To Google Ads

After their recent update, search results and Google ads now look quite similar to each other. Talking about the change Google said they would now be “presenting site domain names and brand icons prominently, along with a bolded “Ad” label for ads.” This is definitely good news for publishers and site owners since users need to be paying close attention to know if they are clicking on the content they are searching for or ads.

What does this change mean for your business?

If you have been considering investing in Google Ads, now is probably a good time. Experts think that Google Ads might have a higher click-through rate because of Google’s latest change, which makes it difficult for a user to differentiate between Ads and content.

Changes To Featured Snippets

First, what are featured snippets? They are a format of content, in which the answer to the user’s search question appears directly and concisely. A featured snippet comes up right on the search results page. The user doesn’t have to click through to a specific result. In February, Google also decided to de-duplicate featured snippets. This means that featured snippets are counted as first position results (as opposed to position 0 they enjoyed till now) and will now be a part of the main organic search results. Speaking about the change Danny Sullivan, Google’s Public Search Liaison, said, “If a web page listing is elevated into the featured snippet position, we no longer repeat the listing in the search results. This declutters the results & helps users locate relevant information more easily.  Featured snippets count as one of the ten web page listings we show.” Images are not deduplicated if the image URL is different from the text. Image carousels, listings, and top stories are not deduplicated either.

What does this change mean for your business?

While website owners feared this would mean a loss in traffic to their websites, studies have noticed insignificant changes so far. It is still a good idea to try and rank for a Google Featured Snippet.

Let’s Talk About On-site SEO

On-site SEO is an umbrella term for every detail on the page. This includes metadata, video, image tags, amount of text on the page, interlinking, keyword use, H1s/H2s, among other things and is still pretty important. Yes, Google algorithm has gone through a ton of changes and is much smarter about picking up relevant information but on-site SEO is still key.

In their own words, Google’s ‘How Search Works’ report states, “The most basic signal that information is relevant is when a webpage contains the same keywords as your search query. If those keywords appear on the page, or if they appear in the headings or body of the text, the information is most likely to be relevant.”

What does this change mean for your business?

The biggest change to on-site SEO, keeping in mind the changes to BERT, is that keyword density is no longer a strong focus. The focus should be on creating a relevant piece of content that adds value to the user.


Keeping up with Google’s changes is important. You want to make the search engine work for you and your content. But, that doesn’t mean that you change your content strategy every time there is a change. The biggest learning from Google’s changes in 2020 is that content is king, indeed. Google wants you to create good quality content that provides value to real people. Gather and respond to user-generated content (reviews, comments on social media, etc.), post this content on social media, manage all your listings for consistency and accuracy and reap the rewards of your efforts.

Don’t create content for the search engine. Create content for your customers and end-users. Google will find you.

Online Reputation Management: The Guide for 2020 Chapter 2

Get more reviews. Get more customers. Automatically.


If you have not made an investment into making sure that you are capturing their feedback, take a look at the information below and see if that shifts your thinking.


It’s 2020 and you can no longer afford to ignore online reviews, it’s likely your competition isn’t. From doctors’ offices, restaurants, to software, consumers look to online review sites like Yelp, Google, and even Facebook to give them an opportunity to see what everyone has to say about your business. In fact, online reviews will influence consumer purchase decisions 93% of the time.


Online reviews create social proof, they will strengthen consumer trust, and they give you a direct line to consumers. If you’re not already putting effort into improving your online reviews, you should start now by sharing with your customers about the importance of leaving reviews, optimizing your listings on each platform, and providing excellent customer service.


At this point you should be more than convinced that your business must pay attention to online reviews, but just in case you’re not, below are online review stats to fuel your business for 2020.

Online Review Statistics

  1. 97% of people read reviews for local businesses. (BIA/Kelsey)
  2. 90% of respondents who recalled reading online reviews claimed that positive online reviews influenced buying decisions, while 86 percent said buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews. (Dimensional Research)
  3. 91% of 18-34 year olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. (BrightLocal)
  4. 93% of consumers say online reviews impact their purchasing decisions. (Podium)
  5. 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews. (BrightLocal)
  6. 93% of people who use a mobile device to research go on to complete a purchase of a product or service. Most purchases happen in physical stores. (Google/Nielson)
  7. 3.3 is the minimum star rating of a business consumers would engage with. (Podium)
  8. 68% of consumers will leave a review if asked. (BrightLocal)

The Value of Positive Reviews

  1. A one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue. (Harvard Business School)
  2. Customers are willing to spend 31% more on a business with excellent reviews. (Invesp)
  3. 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a trusted review (

The Cost of Negative Reviews

  1. 94% say an online review has convinced them to avoid a business. (ReviewTrackers)
  2. Only 13% of consumers will consider using a business that has a 1 or 2 star rating. (SearchEngineLand)
  3. Four out of five consumers have changed their minds about a recommended purchase after reading negative online reviews. (Cone Communications)
  4. Businesses risk losing as many as 22% of customers when just one negative article is found by users considering buying their product. If three negative articles pop up in a search query, the potential for lost customers increases to 59.2%. (Moz)

Industry-Specific Stats

  1. A half-star rating increase translates into a 19 percent greater likelihood that a restaurant’s seats will be full during peak dining times. (UC Berkeley)
  2. 64% of software buyers want to read at least 6 reviews before purchasing. (Capterra)
  3. 82% of consumers read a product review before purchasing an item online. (Qualtrics)


Get new reviews and boost your ratings. Manage your online reputation and beat your competition.

Get new reviews


With BirdEye, automatically send SMS or email review requests to your customers, making it effortless to score new reviews for your business directly on Google, Facebook and any other site that matters to your business.

Your business’s reputation is a valuable asset. Online reputation management can help you leverage it to its fullest potential. In this guide, we’ll go over how you can use online reputation management to rank higher on search, get chosen by more customers, and be the best business in your area.


Chapter 2: How to get started with online reputation management

Let’s talk about how your business can get started with online reputation management.

Building an online reputation management strategy


Before you dive into managing and responding to reviews, let’s talk about how you can build a strong online reputation management strategy.


Keep a close eye on how customers are discussing your business or writing reviews for your business on review sites like Facebook and Google.


Ask your customers to leave reviews. Chances are that you have tons of customers who would be happy to do this. They just need an extra push.


Keep track of your reviews from all over the Internet and respond to reviews – both negative and positive.


Once you have lots of great reviews, use them as social proof. Share your reviews on your website and on social media.


If all of the previous four steps went right, you should have prospects who want to contact your business. Make sure that it’s easy for your business to communicate. That means having the right contact information on listings sites and easy ways to get in touch with you, like Webchat or a textable landline number.

Social media reputation management


Of course, it’s also important to keep an eye on what customers are saying about you on social media. The last thing any business wants is to have a customer who feels like they had a bad experience going viral on Facebook and Twitter.

Managing your social media reputation has a lot in common with monitoring your reputation on review sites. Here’s three tips for managing your social media reputation.

• Monitor mentions of your brand

It’s important that you stay on top of mentions of your business so that you can know the moment customers talk about your brand in a positive or negative context.

• Respond to customer complaints

If a customer complains about your business, get in touch right away. If you get to the bottom of the problem, the customer will most likely be happy to update or delete their original comment.

• Encourage customers to post

Just as you should encourage customers to leave reviews, encourage customers to share your business on social media platforms. It’s an easy way to get more awareness for your brand.

10 steps to a stellar online reputation


So now that you know why your business’s reputation is so important, let’s talk about how you can create a stellar online reputation. We’ve put together these ten tips to lay the foundation for a great online reputation and future business growth.

Step 1 – Aim to provide quality service

The first step to building a great online reputation is by providing a fantastic customer experience from start to finish. Make sure that you are making an effort to consistently delight your customers.

Step 2 – Send review requests to all of your customers

Next, you want to make sure that your customers are sharing their great experience, on review sites and social media. Remember, a business with 500 reviews looks a lot better than a business with 5. There’s an easy trick to getting more reviews: just ask. By sending review requests via text and email to all of your customers, you will make the process of leaving a review easy. All they have to do is click on the link and write a review.

Step 3 – Be on the first page of Google search

75% of users never go past the first page of Google. By taking the steps to rank higher on search, your business will get discovered by more customers. To increase your business’s visibility on search, get more reviews and make sure that your business listings are accurate across the Internet. It’s estimated that reviews and listings together account for more than 25% of ranking factors.

Step 4 – Monitor all relevant review sites

Customers are constantly making the decision whether or not they want to buy from your business by through the hundreds of review sites on Internet. Bad reviews on one site can lead to customers turning away from your business and going to a competitor. Make sure that you’re keeping track of every review site that you appear on to prevent damage to your reputation.

Step 5 – Engage with all of your customers

Be sure that you’re responding to your reviews to show that you care about the experience of all of your customers. Responding to a positive review is a great way to show appreciation and build loyalty. On the other hand, responding to a negative review in the right way can help turn an angry customer into someone who is ready to have a conversation with you or even an advocate of your business based on the way you handled the situation.

Step 6 – Treat negative feedback as an opportunity to improve

Remember, negative reviews can also be an opportunity to improve your customer experience. For example, if you see a customer complaining about something like “long wait time”, you might want to explore how you can make your processes more efficient. Use the insights that you get from reviews to better understand what aspects of your business customers love and what aspects need to be improved.

Step 7 – Fight slander against your business

Occasionally, you may get a bad review that comes from a someone you don’t recognize or is reviewing the wrong business. In this case, put your evidence out there strongly and politely so potential customers know that they’re looking at a fake review. This shows the public that the review doesn’t actually represent your business.

Step 8 – Make sure that your listing information is accurate

Incorrect business listing information can spread across the Internet and cause serious damage to your business. Because there are just four major data aggregators that distribute listing information, a wrong address or phone number can quickly spread all over the Internet. That means a lot of confused and angry customers.

Want to check if your business listings are accurate? Check out our free Scan My Business tool to find out if your contact information is accurate across the Internet.

Step 9 – Keep track of your competitors

Whether customers are trying to find a new restaurant or a new dental practice, they’re probably going to look up multiple different businesses online. That’s why it’s important to see what customers are saying about your competitors on review sites. If there are areas where your competitors are excelling and where you’re falling short, you can figure out what you can do differently to stay a step ahead.

Step 10 – Stay active on social media

Customers do keep track of what friends and family are saying on mediums like Facebook and Twitter. So make sure that your business is posting regularly on social media. Recent news about your business, a new offering, a promotion or sharing one of the great customer reviews you recently received are all great things to share with your social media followers.

Can I do online reputation management myself?


Yes, you can do online reputation management yourself. However, if you do choose to do this, be prepared to invest a lot of time and energy.

Sending review requests to every customer is not something that most business owners have the time or energy for. Fixing listings, responding to reviews, and keeping track of competitor reviews requires a lot of effort on your part.

On the other hand, you can invest in an online reputation management software. This can help you automate these tasks and give you more time to run your business.

Reputation Management Software


A tool like Birdeye can make the process of managing your reviews significantly easier. Here are a few ways reputation management software can help your business.

• Stay on top of customer reviews

Your customers aren’t just on big sites like Facebook or Google. Customers are discovering your business all over the Internet, making it important for you to stay on top of your online reputation on all platforms. Of course, this isn’t easy. It’s hard for business owners to go through every single review site manually, there just isn’t enough time in the day.

Luckily, there’s an easy way you can impress all of your potential customers, no matter where they discover you: Review Monitoring.

With Review Monitoring, it is easy to track all reviews from Google and Facebook to more industry-specific sites for lawyers, dentists, realtors, doctors, and more all in one place on Birdeye’s dashboard. Birdeye tracks reviews from over 150 sites, making it easier than ever to manage your online reputation.

• Generate new customer reviews

The more reviews you have, the better your business looks to customers. While sending review requests to your customers can help, it’s tough to manually send out emails and texts to your customers.

Luckily, there’s a better way. Birdeye can send review requests to your customers automatically. Birdeye can integrate with your customer relationship management or practice management system and generate new reviews while you do the hard work of taking care of your business.

• Manage reviews all over the Internet

Want to make sure that you’re dealing with negative reviews quickly and effectively? Birdeye gives businesses automatic notifications every time they get a bad review. That makes it easy for your team to deal with these problems before they escalate.

Birdeye makes responding to reviews easy. In order to respond to a review, all you have to do is type out a response within the Birdeye dashboard. Then your response will show up on the site where the review originally appeared.

Don’t have time to respond to every review? Birdeye also allows you to set up automatic review response templates. You can customize these responses so that they can fit your brand voice and circumstances.

• Share your reviews on social media

We can’t say it enough: customers value reviews. So why not share them on social media? With a review management tool, you can make sharing reviews on social media and on your website easier than ever.

Whenever you get a 5-star review, Birdeye allows you to share it automatically on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Your social media followers can see social proof from any one of the 150+ review sites that Birdeye monitors.

Birdeye also allows you to showcase your glowing reviews on your website with an easy-to-install review widget. All you have to do is copy and paste a simple line of code. After that, website visitors can see the testimonials of all your happy customers.

Reputation Management Examples


Want to know how businesses use reputation management to get results? Here are a couple of real-life examples.

• Brockport Smiles

Brockport Smiles is a dental practice based in Brockport, New York. Even though they were delivering great patient experience, Brockport Smiles only had 3 reviews on Google. The practice decided to use Birdeye’s software to collect more reviews.

With Birdeye, Brockport Smiles was able to send automatic review request texts to all patients. Birdeye integrated with the practice management system Brockport Smiles was already using, so the practice was able to send texts and emails to customers on the same day as their appointment.

The results speak for themselves. The practice now has more than 300 reviews on Google. Now, potential patients looking for a new dentist can find them in the top search results and see social proof assuring that Brockport Smiles stands ahead of the competition.

• Accent Roofing

Accent Roofing is a family-owned roofing business in the Atlanta area. While the company had a long record of satisfied customers, they were facing a stigma against roofers in their area. Since their state did not require licensing for roofers to operate, Accent Roofing realized they needed to build credibility with potential customers.

The business turned to Birdeye to collect reviews from customers. Birdeye’s review software made the process easy. All employees had to do was enter the customer’s name and email or phone number at the end of the job to send a review request. With Birdeye’s help, Accent Roofing now has more than 2,000 reviews.

Of course, Birdeye didn’t just help Accent Roofing with collecting reviews. Monitoring reviews is now easier than ever. Employees can keep track of reviews posted across the Internet within the Birdeye dashboard.


Reputation Management Cost


Investing in a reputation management software is totally worth it. It’s an easy way to rank in the top search results, build credibility and social proof for your business while saving your team’s valuable time.

The price of reputation management software can vary based on the size of your business, the number of services that you want to subscribe to, and the number of locations that you have. Birdeye offers different plans for businesses with different goals.

We recommend that interested businesses speak with one of our reputation experts to better understand how your business can get the best results from online reputation management.

Why Birdeye?


If you’re looking for an online reputation management software, choose Birdeye. Birdeye is the most comprehensive solution on the market. G2 has named Birdeye the #1 online reputation management solution for 9 consecutive quarters among many other awards and recognitions.

No other company on the market can compete with Birdeye’s all-in-one platform. Only Birdeye allows businesses to send automatic review requests, respond to customer reviews, send surveys, get actionable insights, fix listings across the Internet, and easily interact with customers through website chat and text messaging.


Ken G.