Last week Google was granted a patent enabling them the ability to check whether users follow through with recommendations in search results to visit geographical locations made to them.
Bill Slawski from SEObytheSea, wrote a wonderful description about the patent. The example Bill gave was “For example, people living near a certain restaurant may be recommended as a place they might like to go; and the patent determines whether or not people may be following those suggestions.”
On top of that, this morning Google announced a new feature to keep track of your favorite places and share them with friends via Google Maps. Here is the full announcement: https://blog.google/products/maps/keep-track-your-favorite-places-and-share-them-friends/.
Could these two features be tied together? I don’t think it’s a coincidence that as soon as Google was granted the patent that a new Google Maps feature that aligns very closely with the patent was announced.
Does this mean that Google is going to start using this in their ranking factors? Not yet but I can see the reasoning of why Google might want to potentially go down this road. Google understands that personal recommendations hold more weight than an online review.
Think about all of the data Google can gather from this: how many users add a particular location to a list, how many users visit that location, how many then review the location, and ultimately what was the review rating. As more adoption to the new list sharing feature takes place, it is going to be interesting to see if Google utilizes this data to incorporate into their ranking signals but the writing is on the wall.