Businesses both large and small know how ratings can affect the bottom line, but Google’s recent “snack pack” update means small business owners should pay special attention to the attention given to them online by customers, says Steven C. Wyer.

It appears Google has made moves to consider the quality of a business as a search result ranking factor, says Steven C. Wyer, who defines “quality” as a business’ reputation as outlined by ratings and online reviews. Recently, the world’s largest search engine started incorporating quality into its “snack pack” results. According to Steven C. Wyer, the snack pack is simply a term used to describe the highlighted results available to mobile users. These are the three or so business listings that provide one-click contact, map, and direct website link.

This new filter appears to be related to all search queries where the user has input terms such as “greatest” and “best” when looking for a type of business, says Steven C. Wyer. Additional triggers include “outstanding” and “awesome.” Users inputting these terms are not simply looking for the closest business in proximity, but the most reliable, according to Steven C. Wyer. When utilized, the filter shows only businesses with a 4-star or higher rating, even if the locations are further away than lesser-esteemed matches.

Steven C. Wyer notes that searchers are always given the option to filter by ratings, but the inclusion of the “best” query auto filters for higher-rated business and appears in red rather than Google’s typical grey.

Many in the digital marketing industry, including Steven C. Wyer, have speculated that Google would focus on qualitative elements at some point, and this new feature is concrete evidence of that. Steven C. Wyer believes the change was necessary in order to keep pace with consumer behaviors.

The snack pack results are an indication that reviews will be increasingly important for business as Google and other search engines refine search filters, according to Steven C. Wyer. It remains unclear how much impact reviews have on “non-best” queries, though more favorable reviews certainly play a huge role in a company’s online reputation. Steven C. Wyer has noticed that some lower rated business rank higher than similar and better reviewed business. He believes this may be due to a number of factors, including the volume of posted feedback and location.

Steven C. Wyer leads a team of digital content and brand marketing professionals at Third Coast Interactive, Inc. The company offers a suite of practical branding and marketing solutions for today’s digital economy. Contact Steven C. Wyer at 3Ci by calling 888.626.6933