Do Ratings Matter Part Deux

I just got off the phone with Yahoo! prompted by a desire to clarify the information presented in my post below.

Here’s what I now understand:

  1. Ratings (stars) always matter and factor into the presentation of ranked local results in Shortcuts/Direct Display and Yahoo! Local.
  2. Most of the time the local results presented in search results and in Yahoo! Local will be identical (top three) but not 100% of the time.
  3. Reviews/review text don’t factor as a weighted variable in the algorithm for the presentation of local results via Shortcuts but may, on occasion, play a part in the ordering of results on Yahoo! Local.

Got it?

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11 Responses to “Do Ratings Matter Part Deux”

  1. Henk Jan Dulon Barre Says:

    No, I don’t got it.

  2. Matt McGee Says:

    So, they’re distinguishing between the stars and the written reviews? Innaresting.

    But how come I’m the one that does the reporting, yet you’re the one who gets the phone call? How fair is that? ;-) (Hey Yahoo – I’m easy to reach.)

    Seriously, Greg, thanks for following up on this. Those of us on the tactical side of Local appreciate it.

  3. Tim Cohn Says:

    I don’t either. What % use Short Cuts? Is the Centroid a factor? What about categories with no ratings?

  4. Greg Sterling Says:

    Matt:

    Yes they’re distinguishing between reviews and stars.

  5. Greg Sterling Says:

    Matt:

    Yahoo is trying to reach you. I gave them your email.

  6. MiriamEllis Says:

    “but may, on occasion, play a part in the ordering of results on Yahoo! Local.”

    This is the thunderbolt in your post, for me, Greg.

    Reviews may occasionally play a part???

    That seems so odd to me. Both Yahoo & Google have gone to immense effort to haul in all of these reviews and, according to Yahoo, that data might only be used some of the time?

    Amazing stuff. But kind of bewildering.
    Miriam

  7. Greg Sterling Says:

    They were a bit vague on when reviews entered into it on Y Local. But they said they did there but not on Y Shortcuts — although ratings/stars factored in both contexts.

    There is a bit of challenge (sentiment analysis) in assigning a value to a qualitative review and then adding that into the mix.

  8. AhmedF Says:

    From a programmer’s perspective, some things we had thought about in local search:

    1. Reviews age. This is partly why they matter. A review 5 years old – is it relevant? But a review from a month ago?
    2. Reviewers matter. Someone who reviews 100 businesses is more likely to be a real user than someone with 1 review. Do you ignore the 1 review user?
    3. Reviews are not just for ranking (ie sorting). They can also be for context – atmosphere, staff, etc. So reviews can be counted in some ways, but not necessarily in others.

    The one that really boggles me is #2 – why do the results change?

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