Have you ever wondered how Google “chooses” the local results that are shown on screen when users search for information? Well, we can sum it up in three words: relevance, prominence and distance.
As we all know, companies work really hard to impact these criteria to achieve greater visibility. But… How do they do that? Long story short: by filling in the relevant information suggested on Google My Business over time, Google will crawl and index that information, matching it with the users’ queries, and voilá!
It sounds quite simple, but in order for your stores’ listings to be more relevant, prominent and distance-suitable, you need to take care of your online presence and SEO positioning and take into account important aspects such as:
- Number of reviews
- Company rating
- Website ranking
- Completeness of the stores’ information
- Accurate addresses and coordinates
- Replies to reviews.
All of the above will play a significant role in the position that you appear in search results.
An indicator of a strong profile when it comes to SEO optimisation is appearing in the local pack in Google Search or ranking among the first results on Google Maps. As mentioned, Google will display as first results the more relevant, prominent and nearby locations, so if your store is selected by Google to be displayed, then congrats! You are improving your SEO!
However, when your store is displayed, so are the competitors in the area. But, what if you could further improve your SEO and online presence so that Google makes your location stand out from the rest? The good news is that you can, and here is where Google justifications come in!
What are Google Justifications?
A local justification is an extra snippet of text Google can display on business listings in the local packs, local finders, and Google Maps to signal to searchers that a feature of the business specifically matches their perceived intent.
What types of Google Justifications exist?
1. Website Justification
These justifications are taken from the website linked to your Google My Business listing. For this reason, it is very important to have optimised Store Pages with specific store content the company would like to see in justifications.
When searching for a category or sector-related keyword, such as “dance classes pimlico”, Google can detect if the website, previously listed on GMB, contains the keywords “dance classes”. If it does, then it will add a snippet that will make the company stand out. As you can see in the image below, the sentence shown will be: “their website mentions dance classes”
2. Review justifications
These are taken from business reviews left on Google, hence why companies need to have in place strategies to encourage your customers to leave reviews and hopefully even mention some of your products! Find out more about the strategic impact of reputation management here.
When searching for a product or service, the snippet will show customers’ reviews that mention the keywords introduced in the search bar.
3. Post justifications
These pull in words from Google Posts content, which is a free tool that can add great value to your business. By choosing the right content and keywords you can earn yourself justifications that will definitely catch your customers’ attention and could even overwrite other justification types. (Pro-tip: Given most of the types of posts expire after 7 days, we should create at least one post per week.)
In the images below you can see how Google displays the Google posts that contain keywords that match the user’s query. Also, have you noticed that they all have an exclamation mark next to them? If you ever doubt which type of justification is being shown, this checkmark will help you identify the post-related ones.
4. Services justifications
These are extracted directly from your Google My Business dashboard, where you can find the “services” section. In order to influence this type of justification, we encourage you to add as many relevant services as needed so that your profile is complete.
5. Sold here justifications
As the title suggests, these justifications show a specific product that your business sells. According to Miriam Ellis, it is not known where Google obtains this information from, but it could include your website, reviews or user feedback aggregates such as “Know this place?”.
In the image below you can see a store that offers jewellery, which was the keyword introduced in the search engine.
6. Menu Justifications
This type of justification shows up for restaurants and shows things that are either listed on the menu in your GMB or are featured in the menu highlights section of your Business Profile, which is controlled by users and the photos they add. To make the most of this feature make sure your menu is accurate in both your website and your GMB listing.
7. In stock justifications
These Google justifications prove companies need to keep working on adding relevant content to engage more with their customers but also, to help Google make them stand out.
It is important to keep in mind that there is no way a company can “force” Google to show any justification. However, companies can follow Google best practices and make sure that their stores’ listings are accurate and complete in order for Google to index that information.