Google’s primary goal is to provide its users with the best possible search experience and they are leaving no stone unturned to ensure just that. In early 2017, Google introduced local search filters that allow users to sort results based on price, ratings and hours of operation. Taking it one step further, they are now automatically applying those filters and it benefits the user for obvious reasons. They get the best possible search as well as most relevant results on the fly without applying any filters.
It has turned out to be a big blow to some business owners who have failed or have not focused on maintaining a good online reputation. A businesses Local SEO strategy has to be adjusted to take this in to account. When Google automatically filters local businesses for those with 4-star ratings and higher, it places a lot of businesses at risk of losing online visibility. It’s quite common for users to search using terms like “Best Plumber”, “Best Thai Restaurant” and “Best Roofing Contractor” when they are looking for a local business. For those businesses that do not have more than a 4 star rating, they will find it extremely difficult to keep a measurable presence on local search.
In chaos we can sometime find opportunity and the golden opportunity in this case is for the less popular businesses. By inviting reviews & keeping their information consistent and updated, one can share the spot light with those who are already at the top.
The New Filters
The best of everything: Users can now filter the results automatically, by just adding “best” to the keyword. If you search “best plumber”, Google will show only 4-Star+ rated plumbers. This filter will drastically influence the way businesses are ranked. Check out how the following results differ.
Open now: For example a closed Truck Repair store is of no use to a user who wants to get his truck repaired ASAP. So when a user types “truck repair store open now”, Google will show only those businesses that are open. Check out below.
Enjoy Fine dining: Want to go to an upscale restaurant for your first date? Just type “fancy restaurant” & Google will show you the most expensive restaurants nearby. Or if you just want to fill your tummy without burning a hole in your pocket, type “cheap restaurants” or “budget restaurants” and you will get the list.
I am sure you see the bigger picture here, Google is and has been heading towards providing a more advanced search experience where users get results based on their actual intent. Local searches have grown to 46% of all searches on Google and will continue to rise. So, Google is doing everything it can to enhance the local search experience for its users.
Marlin’s take on this
Businesses that fail to manage their reputation and update their listings with the most accurate, detailed and consistent information now run the risk of not ranking in searches when they would have in the past.
To help you get more reviews for your business our Local SEO Plans includes our review widget. It’s a small piece of code which is placed on your website and helps you get positive reviews on Google, Yelp and Facebook. In addition, it helps to filter out negative reviews too thus ensuring a positive experience for your website users. Would you like to learn more? Please connect with us.