The way people make purchasing decisions online has changed. A few years ago, when a user searched for a business on Google, they’d scroll right past the ads (we all know they’re paying for those!), go on to view organic first page results, and then click through to a website. But Google has reshaped this experience completely. Follow along as we recreate the journey.
Step 1. It still starts with Google.
One thing hasn’t changed: Most people still start their purchasing journey with Google – 89% of consumers begin the purchase process with a search. Google then delivers the best results based on the searcher’s query.
Step 2. Users view local results.
One change Google has made? Highlighting, underlining, and emphasizing local search. Try it yourself. Search for something like “best dentist near me”. You probably see a few ads, and below those, you see the coveted Google Local Pack – this may even take up your entire above the fold. It’s big, it’s bold, and it’s where most users will click next.
Step 3. Users view a Google My Business profile.
After a user selects a business from the local pack, they’ll view their GMB profile, learning about the products or services they offer and confirming they’re a good fit. And then the big one: They’ll dive deep into reviews. 90% of consumers say online reviews impact buying decisions. They’re also an important ranking factor for Google. Above, you’ll see all the Google Local Pack results have an average of 4.5 stars or more.
Step 4. Users compare businesses.
Next, users will view other Google My Business profiles, looking at reviews, hours, locations, photos, and more.
Step 5. Decision time.
The user now has enough information to make a decision and take some sort of action, like making a phone call, booking an appointment, getting directions, or visiting a website. Notice how up until now, this whole process has happened on Google, not websites.
Now for some takeaways.
If you want searchers to choose you, first thing’s first: you have to be on Google My Business because this is where purchasing decisions are made (see all the above). But it’s not enough to just claim a listing a move on. It has to have enough information to encourage someone to choose you before even visiting your website.
And second, you have to have reviews. Reviews are a ranking factor and the biggest influence on purchasing decisions. The more reviews you have, the greater your chance of showing up in the Google Local Pack. If you have a lot of recent, high quality reviews, people are more likely to seal the deal.
If you’re looking for an easy way to collect reviews, Testimonial Collector lets you automatically send surveys to your customers. Set it, forget it, and start collecting reviews in your sleep. And if you want to increase your reach in local results, our Local SEO tool adds your business to Google and 40+ other directories with just a few clicks. Email email@example.com or call 844-207-9038 to learn more.