Author | Chatmeter TeamDate Posted | January 2, 2019

Google’s New “Sort” Tool Places Reviews at the Forefront of Local SEO

A major update from over the holidays may change the way customers view businesses forever. Google is now offering full filtering for local search.

The long awaited “rating search” will now ONLY show what the shopper wants.  And with 90% of shoppers choosing businesses solely due to ratings, the majority of storefronts will be completely filtered out of the vetting before the comparison war even begins.

There is no hiding the fact that the number and quality of reviews is a key factor considered by search engines when ranking your business. Directories know just how important reputation is when deciding on a local business and is giving its users easy access to all the reviews and ratings they want.

Google has now launched a new tool allowing users to filter their search results by segments such as ratings, hours of operation, price, and distance. The most impactful of these filter options is obviously the option to sort your search results by ratings. The option to sort results by ratings allows consumers to compare businesses’ rankings side by side, thus amplifying the presence of higher-rated businesses and encouraging users to visit those stores.

Previously only available for restaurants, this new tool has expanded to additional local business categories such as hotels, bars, retail stores and auto repair shops; this new tool will hopefully be available to all user search queries soon. The ability to refine your results and limit them to businesses with a rating of four stars or higher is generating a need for positive ratings and making review management crucial to a business’s success.

Whether your business is at the top of the list with five stars or nowhere to be found with two, review management is going to be vital for companies looking to stay at the top or make their way up to the number one spot. In order to improve local SEO as well as strong ratings, companies need to minimize negative reviews, and actively respond to consumers.

Without being pro-active, only about 20% of consumers who had a positive experience with your company will leave a review, similarly 20% who had a negative experience will take the time to make it known. With that in mind, how can you maximize your positive reviews and minimize the negative ones?

Having the proper review management tools in place your business can actively seek out customers who wouldn’t normally leave a review and request-via SMS or email-they post a positive review on Google-giving you the opportunity to increase that 20%. Additionally, the right tool will allow your company to monitor reviews being posted about your company in real-time and alert you of any negative feedback.

An important aspect for keeping your ratings strong is going to be actively communicating with customers and responding to their reviews. Responding to consumers helps to ensure happy customers stay loyal while giving you the chance to rectify any negative experiences. For consumers who left a negative review, 34% of those who received a reply in response to their review turned around and posted a positive review and 34% deleted their original negative review. Keeping a channel for open communication with your customers will increase your ratings and ultimately be rewarded by Google with higher search rankings.

Do NOT let Google’s new segmenting tool send your business to the bottom of the search results.

Find out how your locations are rating today (we’ll also compare these to each of your local competitors) with a FREE demo. We’ll show you just how easy it can be to take advantage of these new changes so you can win more business and leave your competitors in the dust!