Google Displaying Review Snippets in Local Search Results
As you are probably aware, Google is constantly changing the way their algorithm ranks websites and how they display information to users in the search results. You might also know that Google loves reviews, and is heavily pushing their Google Local Guides program which in part aims to get passionate locals to rate, review, and snap pictures of the businesses they use. The recent LocalSEOGuide.com study even rated reviews on Google My Business (GMB) profiles as the top influencer in local rankings.
Given that Google is constantly changing, and has recently placed a greater emphasis on reviews businesses have on their GMB, it should come as no surprise that Google is now showing review snippets in local search results. Nicknamed, the “snackpack” by the local SEO industry, this is the area of the search results that shows business listings, right below their location on a map. The “snackpack” is most commonly seen by users who enter localized search queries, such as “near me”, or those that Google deems to be local in nature (like “dentist” or “restaurant.”)
What do Google Review Snippets in Snack Pack Look Like?
Here’s what this new search result looks like on Google for a few common searches:
These screenshots of Google displaying review snippets in the local snack pack search results was first discovered by CRW SEO in early December. Since then, many other local search experts have also confirmed that this is an active test Google is running. I’ve only been able to recreate it once, so it’s not showing everywhere, every time, for everyone.
What Does Google Displaying Reviews in the SnackPack Mean?
This test is just one of many that Google is constantly running, so it’s best not to get too far ahead of ourselves. That said, this test does show that Google – i.e. users – value online reviews. It signals what all the experts, evangelists, and real world practitioners have always said about online reviews; online reviews definitely influence the purchase decision.
In doing this, Google is working to learn more about just how much online review influencer the user. They’re likely looking at what types of online review snippets influence users the most. Which ones drive higher click through rates, more calls, and other actions once on a particular website.
What Can You Do to Influence Google Into Showing Reviews for Your Listing?
Unfortunately, you can’t, because it is just a test. Since this is just a test, and not a permanent enhancement to the Google search result interface, there’s also no reason to spend any time optimizing for it. That said, it does reinforce a growing trend of Google – and users – seeing value in online reviews.
If you’re not currently paying attention to your online reviews, or consistently generating them, now would be a good time to reevaluate wait why you are not doing something. There’s an overwhelming amount of evidence that points to reviews as a major influence in the purchase decision. If you’re not currently driving positive reviews to your Google My Business (GMB) profile, now is the time to start.
Otherwise, you won’t be in a good position to leverage this potential new Google search result display if it does become more common.