When it comes to Google, its main goal is to provide its users with the best possible search experience, and Google leaves no stone unturned to ensure that. In early 2017, a new local search filter was introduced that allowed users to sort search results based on price, ratings and hours of operation. They have not taken this one step further and are now automatically applying those filters.
This change is user convenient for obvious reasons. Users get the best possible relevant search results for their queries, on the go, and without applying any filters.
However, this change has been a big blow to business owners who have not maintained a good online reputation. Now that Google automatically filters local businesses, those with lower than 4-star ratings, are at risk of losing online visibility. When people search, it’s quite common for users to search terms like “Best Plumber,” “Best HVAC Company” and “Best Roofing Contractor” when they are looking for a local business. Such businesses, if they do not have more than a 4-star rating, you will find it extremely difficult to keep a measurable presence on local search.
Nonetheless, this is a golden opportunity for less popular businesses. What you can do is invite new reviews & make sure to keep the information consistent and updated on your Google My Business listing. Remember that the ones who are at the top already can share the spotlight.
The New Filters
Finding the best of everything:
Now searchers can automatically filter their results automatically just by just adding the words “best” to the search term. If you search “best plumber,” Google will show only populate plumbers with a 4-Star+ rating. This new filter is going to drastically influence the way businesses are ranked. Check out below how the results differ.
When open and closed matter:
A closed Truck Repair store is of no use to someone who needs to get their vehicle repaired ASAP. Now when someone types in “truck repair store open now”, Google will show only show stores that are currently open and can offer help on an immediate basis.
When on a budget or not:
Going on a first date and want to go to an upscale restaurant? Just search “fancy restaurant” & Google will show you the most expensive restaurants nearby. Or you can type “cheap restaurants” or “budget restaurants” when you don’t want to spend as much money.
The bigger picture here is that Google is heading towards providing a more advanced search experience where users will get results based on their actual intent. Local searches have grown to be 46% of all searches on Google, and this number is on the rise. So, Google is doing everything it can to improve the local search experience for its users.