Carlos A. Espitia

For several years we have been stressing to our clients the importance of reviews. Reviews provide social proof that a company is (or is not) recommended by others. Google makes it clear that reviews are important and it prominently displays those little stars for companies with reviews on Facebook, Yelp, Google My Business (Google Maps), as well as others. However, Google upped the ante yesterday and made (positive) reviews much more important in their search results, especially for businesses with a local market. Search queries that include words like “best” or “great” will trigger an automatic filter in Google’s local 3-pack.

As reported by Conrad Saam on Search Engine Land:

Google seems to be making moves to use the quality of small businesses — as determined by user ratings and reviews — as a ranking factor. The search giant has begun incorporating the quality element directly into the 3-pack’s interface for some local searches. Note below on the search for “best Atlanta personal injury Lawyer”:

local business SEO 3-pack

The functional filter appears ubiquitously for queries with the word “best” and other such superlatives. “Awesome,” “outstanding” and “great” all trigger the filter, although “stupendous,” “kick-a**” and “supreme” didn’t. Note that even without a qualitative element in the queries, the filter still shows, though it’s not pre-filtered for 4.0-star and higher rated businesses, and it appears in gray rather than in red. :

ranking on local business seo 3-pack

Google is very clear as to what it finds important, and often it will give us clues as to what will be increasingly more important. Reviews is one of those things that’s always been on my radar, and it’s really interesting that Google is now using reviews as a qualitative element for local search results.

Local search update: ‘Best’ filter invading the local pack

Saam goes on to say:

It’s not clear what weight the reviews take in the rankings. In the first example above, the third result actually has a higher rating than the second one. This could be because the second result has a higher volume of reviews — more than twice the number of reviews — or this could be due to physical proximity to the searcher or some other factor.

Google’s job is to serve its clients – you, the person searching on Google. So, Google takes the quality of its search results very seriously. This focus on quality is now making its way to, and showing up directly on Google’s local 3-pack (see above). This undoubtedly makes reviews a vital component to the small business marketing arsenal.

Anticipating this move by Google, acquiring (legitimate) reviews for our clients has been a core focus of our agency in 2017. Case in point is the launch of our automated marketing software, earlier this year, that asks your clients for reviews and feedback. It also helps grow your client and prospect list 24/7.

Carlos A. Espitia

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