17Feb 2015
Why are my Google Reviews 4.8 when I only have 5 stars?

Google, on its help page says: We calculate an overall rating based on user ratings and a variety of other signals to ensure that the overall score best reflects the quality of the establishment. Obviously they are not calculating the average the way that most people calculate averages. If, like in the screen shot, you […]

17Feb 2015
When was your website last updated

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12Feb 2015
How to make your Google Plus Page pop!

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10Feb 2015
getting on the first page with google my business

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30Jan 2015
Is Facebook Working For You? Here's A Few Lead Generation Ideas

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30Jan 2015
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26Jan 2015
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26Jan 2015

Blogging isn’t for everyone… and when you mention the word to anyone who isn’t already in the internet marketing space or a blogger already, they might think you are a joke and have no idea what you are doing! However, blogging has changed a lot over the years and this can be mainly attributed to […]

19Jan 2015
Some Effective Ways To Start Your Social Media Campaigns

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07Jan 2015
What Type Of Website Do I Need?

What Type Of Website Do I Need? If you are thinking of setting up a website you will need to think about several factors before you set up the site. Some of the questions you will need to consider are outlined below. What is the goal of your website? What do you want your website […]

12Dec 2014
Does Google Know Your Website Is Mobile Friendly

Do you have a mobile friendly website? Google has confirmed that it’s has rolled out some new tools and that will encourage web masters all over to start focusing on creating a more mobile friendly user experience. The company has officially gone live with “mobile friendly” labels mentioned last month as well as some brand […]

19Nov 2014

Never sacrifice the quality of you websites content just to be SEO friendly. One of the requirements of building your own website, if you intend for it to be noticed, that is, is to learn about search engine optimisation, or SEO. SEO is the tool (and process) web developers use to get their sites to […]

19Nov 2014
Keywords Still Matter & SEO Is Still Hard

SEO takes time. It doesn’t matter if you are the owner of a huge or you have just began your very own start-up – if you want to be in business for the long run, it is very important for you to have your own official website.

18Nov 2014
Responsive Web Design by Psynapsis in Sheffield

If you have still have your head buried in the sand and have ignored previous warnings and your business isn’t taking advantage of responsive web design right now or planning on it in the very near future, you are in danger of going out of business in 2015 (well that’s a little dramatic!)

07Nov 2014
Corporate Email Signatures – You Need To Be Subtle

Some corporate email signatures look great; full of images & excitement. But are they putting style of substance? Spam filters hate images so if you’re emailing a perspective client, is it more important to purvey your message or to look good?

07Nov 2014
Is Google+ Worth It Without Google Authorship?

So now everyone in the SEO world knows that Google cancelled Authorship because “it isn’t as useful to our users as we’d hoped.” From now on, you’ll never see an author’s photo next to his or her articles in Google.

07Nov 2014
How Well Do You Leverage LinkedIn

Why do you use LinkedIn? Do you want to strategically improve and grow your connections? In building your LinkedIn network, the more selective you are, the more valuable your network is.

17Feb 2015

Google, on its help page says: We calculate an overall rating based on user ratings and a variety of other signals to ensure that the overall score best reflects the quality of the establishment.

Obviously they are not calculating the average the way that most people calculate averages. If, like in the screen shot, you have eight reviews that are all 5-star reviews you would be hard pressed to come up with 4.9 average if you did the maths.

There has been the suggestion that they may be counting other sentiment around the web which is a possibility. But in many cases I have looked at there are no other bad reviews around the web.

Why are my Google Reviews 4.8 when I only have 5 stars?

What is going on?

When you use reviews for ranking, like Google and many other companies do, you have a problem. Is a business with eight 5-star reviews actually better than a business with 48 5-star reviews and two 3-star reviews? Should the one with eight actually rank higher?

Probably not. Sooner or later the company with only eight reviews is likely going to get some lower reviews. Or so Google assumes and they don’t want to give them more credit than is their due. What is a company like Google to do?

What they always do. Write an algorithm.

Google clearly is weighting 5-star reviews differently if there are less than a certain number and they are probably using an algorithm that is something like a Bayesian average.

What is a Bayesian average you ask? From Wikipedia:

A Bayesian average is a method of estimating the mean of a population consistent with Bayesian interpretation, where instead of estimating the mean strictly from the available data set, other existing information related to that data set may also be incorporated into the calculation in order to minimize the impact of large deviations, or to assert a default value when the data set is small.

In other words, when you have a very small sample (i.e. few reviews), Google is using its large dataset of review stars to model and estimate what your average would be IF you had more reviews. All very Googly, as they say.

The problem is that Google doesn’t really explain all of this and folks fret a great deal. Often for good reason. The Bayesian logic, while integral to Google’s thinking, is very foreign to most of us. Here is a tale from the forums when I explained how Google likely calculated this “average”:

Well that is disheartening. I’ve already had one person accuse me of having a bad review that Google is “hiding” for some reason because it’s so obvious that the math doesn’t work out without a low review being factored in somewhere, I can only imagine that other people investigating my business might think the same. I really wish they would just use actual numbers instead of “assuming” that I’ll get a bad review at some point. I think real life is a lot more useful to customers than predictions!

What can a small business do? Not much, you just need to keep at the project of providing great service AND encouraging your clients to leave reviews. Sooner or later (20, 30, 40 reviews later?) Google will calculate a real average for you.

What should Google do? Be more transparent and tell people how this works. (It’s that time of year when I can ask for presents, no matter how unlikely I am to receive it.)

Article by Mike Blumenthal of Localu.org