Has Google Forgotten About the Quality of Local Search Results?


Joined
Sep 9, 2018
Messages
14
Likes
4
Which Business Would You Call?
A. The nearest business with no customer reviews
B. The business with good numbers of customer reviews even if the business is located on the other side of your city
 

Cherie Dickey

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jan 30, 2018
Messages
124
Likes
74
Hey @OnlineLobstar,

Personally, like most folks, I do take reviews into consideration when choosing a local business. I also take photos into consideration, replies the business owner may have left, the website, and other information I can find about them in other parts of the Web. That's part of the reason I recommend businesses focus on fully optimizing their listing, their website, and other sources of information about the business. The other part is that I know these are also ranking factors.

I think the nature of your question is curiosity as to why a business with more reviews might not outrank a business with no reviews, but is closer to the searcher? Is this correct? Or are you merely looking for opinions on what business I would choose based on reviews alone?
 
Joined
Sep 9, 2018
Messages
14
Likes
4
I think the nature of your question is curiosity as to why a business with more reviews might not outrank a business with no reviews, but is closer to the searcher? Is this correct?
Yes, exactly. Right now, Google is showing only the nearest businesses in the 3-packs. Don't you think Google is losing their quality when it comes to user-experience?
 

Colan Nielsen

Administrator
Administrator
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
2,896
Likes
881
Yes, exactly. Right now, Google is showing only the nearest businesses in the 3-packs. Don't you think Google is losing their quality when it comes to user-experience?
Hey @OnlineLobstar It really depends on the type of business and what their services are. Like Cherie, I also pay attention to reviews but I also know how reviews can be spammed and/or biased. If I was looking for a Dentist or a Lawyer, proximity would matter less than reviews to me. But if I was looking for a grocery store or a pub I would factor in proximity to my decision to a higher degree.
 

mborgelt

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 22, 2012
Messages
467
Likes
148
Unless the businesses in scenario 1 have bad reviews then I'm not driving across town for much (especially with Denver traffic). Businesses can have great reviews and terrible service so weighing them only by their online presence can be misleading.

Unfortunately since Google caters to millions of people every day, it behooves them to do things for the majority. Urgency is more of a priority for local searches so Google showing them the nearest business makes sense when you look at it from that way.
 

HoosierBuff

Forum Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2013
Messages
191
Likes
32
I think it's more interesting that google considers proximity very important for searches when the contractor comes to you!

I don't care if they drive 20 miles, I want the right guy (and plus, I'm not driving).

Similarly, if I ever need a lawyer, I want someone good, not neccesarily nearby.
 

Tim Colling

Moderator
Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 3, 2014
Messages
801
Likes
290
It would make sense for Google to decide how to weight proximity vs "Quality" based in part on the primary category of the business.

For example, you might be most interested in convenience, and therefore, proximity, when choosing a hardware store or a garden center or an auto parts store. Why? Because:
  • The merchandise tends to be somewhat the same quality no matter where you go
  • You have to invest the time and effort to drive there
However, you would hopefully be a lot more concerned about quality than proximity when choosing a company like a non-medical home caregiving agency. Why? Because:
  • You aren't doing the driving, so it only matters whether the company has employees who will come to the client's home, not whether the company has an office near the client's home.
  • The services definitely are not the same from one agency to the next. One agency may provide services that are a lot better and a lot more trustworthy than those provided by another. After all, this about the safety, comfort and security of you or your loved ones, with strangers coming into their homes.
 

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
1,288
Likes
672
@OnlineLobstar, these guys and gals have explained well the finer points of "distance vs. reviews."

I'd add only that in competitive industries, where a lot of local businesses compete with each other, Google can cherry-pick. Usually Google can find a business that's both close and that has good reviews. That business usually does well.

Also, the link-juice matters.
 

brettmandoes

Forum Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2018
Messages
9
Likes
7
It depends on the niche. For gyms, most people are looking for something within a 3 mile radius of their home or work. It's a non-negotiable factor, so it makes sense that proximity is a ranking factor. But I don't care about a plumber or drain tech's location. I just want someone who is respectful of my home, can get there quickly, and doesn't charge me a college tuition to repair a leak. Proximity for that type of business doesn't make sense, but Google has made proximity a ranking factor for local search, and it is what it is.

You may find it interesting that in most cases, adding "best" to a local search will return results in the local pack that have at least 4 star reviews, and the proximity factor seems to be dampened somewhat. That could be due to closer businesses being filtered out, but I've noticed the range changes somewhat so I'm assuming Google's algorithm has identified that people are looking for slightly different criteria when they want the best, and reviews may be weighted differently in that instance.
 

Local Search Forum


Weekly Digest
Subscribe/Unsubscribe


Google Product Exert

@LocalSearchLink

Join Our Facebook Group

Top