Local Justifications? What are they and why should I care?

Google displays validated snippets of text on a business listing in the Local Packs, Local Finders, and Google Maps.  The idea is to show the Google searcher the local business listed precisely matches their search intent.  The justification is Google’s way of validating the business.  For example, if you were to search “bathing suits” on Google you will notice the following snippets in the Local Map Pack below the ads.

Sold here Justification

Google search results are based on your geographical location.  This is why you will always see Local results on the top of a search query.  Google is validating for the searcher that swimwear is sold at the top two locations and that Target has swimwear in stock.   These justifications stand out and are more likely to engage a user.  It also improves a business click through ratio (CTR) on their listing.  The more clicks a business receives on their Google My Business page the more relevant they become to Google.  You may have seen many different types of  local Google justifications and didn’t realize how significant they are for your business.  This article will share what types of justifications Google has and how we can influence them.

7 Relevant Google justifications that influence search intent.

1.    Review Justifications

A business’s Google review can be a local justification that Google will highlight.   Review justifications are influenced by the keywords embedded in the reviews.   Encourage your reviewers to use keywords when leaving reviews.  My favorite example of a review justification uses the word “best.”  I often insert the word “best” to see how it will influence my search.  Take a look at the example, “best prime rib”.

 

review justification

Google highlighted two businesses that had reviews mentioning best prime rib.  Reviews account for 15% of how you rank on Google.  For more information on why reviews are so significant read our blog, Building Reviews Drives your Local SEO.

2.      Service Justifications

Adding services to your Google My Business profile is relevant.  Prior to the services justification, adding the text in the services often felt like a waste of time.  Besides showing up in the services tab of a business listing it did not appear that Google was using this section for much else.  We now see that Google is using a business’s services as a justification.  For example, my search was “landscaping services.” Google’s Local Map Pack presented the following options:

Services Justification

As you can see Google is using “provides” to represent the service provided by the business.  When entering in your business services make sure to use text that will make sense to the searcher.

3.      In Stock Justifications

In order to show your items that are in stock you must enable the See What’s in Store (SWIS) function.  The process is easy and FREE and may take a business less than 10 minutes to complete.

Google Justification

To see the integration, search “Target” and select the store closest to you.  After you select the store near you,  Google’s Map page for that store will appear.  If you scroll down you will see the section titled “See what’s in store.”  Your customers can search what’s in stock and pick up that same day.  SWIS is designed to help local business compete against Amazon.  Any product that is searched and is in stock can potentially show up in the local Map Pack for a business with the “In stock” justification.

SWIS Google

4.      Sold here Justifications

Sold here justifications cannot be influenced.  That’s not to say Google won’t change that.  In order for Google to know what is sold at a local business they ask the consumers.  On the business profile you will see Know this Place? in bold.  Once you select share the latest info link a small box will pop up and ask you a series of questions.

 

know this place on google my business

Google trusts the consumers more than it trusts the business.  You may find that your Google My Business page shows pending edits.  This is directly influenced by Google users that have answered questions about your business.   The edits are typically highlighted in orange on the info tab of your GMB page.  The image below highlights the edit message a business may see in their Google My Business account.  This message is a direct effect of the Know this Place? option to Google users.

Google Justification

5.      Post Justifications

Post justifications can easily be influenced.  Google posts are highlighted with an exclamation point icon next to them.  They are pulled from Google posts that were created within the last 60 days.  In order to influence your posts, try to use keywords that are related to a user’s search term.  For example, let’s look at the search term “Botox”.

post justifications

The text within the post is featured here.  As you can see the search term was “botox services” but Google pulled up a related search term “botulinum toxin injections” for Botox.  In order to optimize your post justifications, try to post for a single service or topic.

6.      Their website mentions Justifications

Website content is critical for SEO.   While we have always known that our website content influenced our search results, we can now visually see how it can directly impact the search.   Website mentions are of the more popular justifications that Google uses.  Website mentions supply another reason why website needs to be optimized with keywords and internal links to your services pages.

their website mentions

7.      Menu Justifications

menu highlight justification

There are two types of menu justifications.  One is “on the menu” and the other is “menu highlight”.  Google is pulling “on the menu” items from the website menu associated with the business.  On the other hand “menu highlights” are controlled by Google users that upload photos to your GMB profile.  You will oftentimes find images added to the user’s review highlighting how great their lobster tail was.  As you can see in the image below, the lobster tail photo is a user photo that Google used.  You can view a restaurants menu highlights on a mobile phone by selecting the menu tab as shown in the image below and scrolling through the menu highlights section.

Menu Highlight