On June 9, 2020, one of my clients brought to my attention that Google began testing a new feature in the Local Pack. On June 10 I was able to briefly duplicate it as well.
In some cases Google will display a message such as:
#1 rated Personal injury attorney in Sacramento by Google users, or
#1 rated Dentist in Charlotte by Google users
In other cases Google will display a message such as:
“Top-rated Roofing contractor in Charlotte by Google users”
When Google displays “ratings”, some businesses may be ranked #1, #2 or #3 or not at all.
When Google displays “Top-rated”, multiple businesses may have the same message of being a top rated company. In rare cases, ALL listings may show up as “top-rated”:
Some local packs have a combination:
What causes certain businesses to be “top rated” and not others?
This is the first question that popped into my client’s head and my own. Fortunately, they are listed as #1 in their city. So, that’s great for them. But how did they get this designation, and how do they keep it?
At the time of this article, I’ve only spent a few minutes looking around, but at first glance it appears that if your business displays in the local pack, Google may display various top rated designations to businesses with good review scores.
However, some results make no sense. An example of this is “Chapel Hill Dentist”. Below is a screenshot. As you can see, the dentist in this result with the MOST reviews and a perfect 5.0 review score is given a label of “#3 rated Dentist in Chapel Hill by Google users”, and a dentist with less reviews is given the label of “Top-rated Dentist in Chapel Hill by Google users”.
Is this a new feature?
I just Googled around and this was spotted on Twitter and reported by Search Engine Roundtable back in December 2019 as a quick test. Google is obviously testing the feature again. If it becomes a permanent feature or not remains yet to be seen. At the moment, it does not appear ready to be rolled out. But, it could be coming to the local pack in the future.