Over the weekend, I noticed that Google added top rating verbiage to local listings. I first spotted this on Sunday, May 24th. Depending on the search query, the message will show up in the map pack or when you click on to the local finder. I am only seeing these results on mobile (iPhone). I was able to replicate these results by searching in several different industries. For example, I saw it for “plumber Denver”, “plumber near Denver CO”, “personal injury lawyer St Petersburg”, and “dentist Irvine”. It does appear that you have to use an explicit search (a term that includes the name of the city). I am not seeing the same messaging for implicit searches, i.e. non-geo modifier terms such as “plumber” or “dentist”.
This was first spotted by Sergey Alakov back in December 2019. There haven’t been any additional users reporting seeing this since.
What Triggers Top-Rated?
It appears that Google has four different ratings to use. Top-rated, #1 rated, #2, rated and #3 rated. I found the four variations searching for “personal injury lawyer St Petersburg”. Google also doesn’t appear to differentiate between lawyer and attorney keywords with the text used.
For example, The Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA is marked as a top-rated personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg, FL. The top-rated label seems to be given to businesses that have an average of 4.9 and higher.
For the ratings with numbers (#1, #2, #3), it doesn’t appear that the sheer number of reviews is what is being looked at. Listings with higher review counts are not automatically being labeled as #1 rated etc. I am seeing listings with a 5-star rating and 530 reviews being labeled as #2 rated businesses. Please don’t think that a massive influx of reviews will trigger this. There doesn’t appear to be that a certain number of reviews will trigger this language. It also doesn’t appear the amount of place topics factors in. I am seeing businesses with only two place topics showing. This currently appears to be a test as others are unable to replicate it. It is something to keep any eye out for.
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