The importance of Google reviews in local search continues to increase for contractors

May 3, 2017 - By Aaron Hockel for AltaVista Strategic Partners

Google Using Reviews in Superlative Searches

People often search for things on Google using superlatives, such as "best local roofer" or "outstanding HVAC repair". While this is nothing new, the way Google shows the results for this type of search might be changing. According to a report from Conrad Saam of Search Engine Land, it appears Google is testing a new local results format. The rating drop down has changed from grey to red and filters to show businesses with a 4.0 or higher star rating. This example for the search "best Atlanta personal injury lawyer" highlights the changes:   Google expanding presence of ratings in local search results  

How Google Reviews Influence Search Results

While this update has not rolled out globally, it fits the trend of Google expanding the use of qualitative measures to rank local businesses. Google has already established that reviews impact local search results by helping business's establish prominence. The quantity, quality, and even actual review content are all factors that influence local search rankings. This potential update, however, would take things a step further. It would establish benchmark rating for businesses that hope to show up in superlative based searches. Based on early test results, it is unclear whether overall star rating or quantity of reviews will have more influence on results. In the example search result, the second position has a lower rating (4.3 versus 4.4) than the third position but almost 3 times the number of reviews (288 versus 97). The first position has the highest overall rating and the second most reviews. The best interpretation is that both quantity and quality will influence the rankings.

What Does This Mean Big Picture to Contractors?

For contractors, this means a strategy to drive Google reviews is more important than ever. Even if this does not become a global rollout, it is clear Google is giving reviews more influence over local search results. Showing up in searches that include superlatives like "best" and "outstanding" is a definite way to drive more leads. More importantly, the risk of NOT showing up for these types of searches could have significant negative consequences. Contractors need to recognize this is coming and react accordingly by putting a plan in place to generate more Google reviews. Have questions about driving more Google reviews or your local SEO presence as a whole? The team at AltaVista works with all types of residential and commercial contractors to help them build and execute growth oriented marketing plans. Schedule a free consultation today by filling out the contact form on this page, calling us at 1-800-313-2168, or by sending us an email.

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