Google and Yelp may seem like very different services, but Google has been encroaching on Yelp’s territory for more than a few years. With products like Google My Business and local service ads for certain states, it’s easy to see why Yelp should be concerned by Google’s inroads into Yelp’s territory. Earlier this week, SEO marketers noticed what may be the next stage in Google’s ongoing battle against Yelp. Google is testing (or beginning implementation) of using request forms online to gather more information.
Tom Waddington became one of the first people to notice the change. On his Twitter handle, he wrote, “’Request Quotes’ button above 3-pack. Lets users request quotes from multiple businesses using messaging. The Google Guaranteed badge shows for businesses participating in Local Services ads.”
The functionality comes as part of Local Services Ads (LSAs). Currently, LSAs deliver phone leads to local businesses participating in the program. Using this program requires businesses to jump through extra hoops before their ad is ready to be served to the public. Local Services Ads require businesses to be “Google Guaranteed” and pass licensing, insurance and background checks.
Without an official announcement from Google, it’s hard to know where the company sees this test going. Adding a “Request Quotes” button could lead to increased sales and customers, but that may not be the overall goal. The “Request Quotes” don’t allow for a lot of information, and in most cases, it asks for so little that it limits the amount of useful quotes a person would get from this arrangement.
Some have suggested that the overall goal is to encourage businesses to communicate more effectively with businesses through Google My Business. The quote is delivered to the business via Google My Business (GMB) messaging. This means that businesses that want to use the quote feature would need to download the GMB app, which benefits Google’s use of their internal messaging services. The change could also be related to Google’s recent update to the RCS messaging system that replaces traditional SMS texting.
However the test is used, it represents a good chance for business owners to connect with people who need their services. Requesting a quote from local service providers is one of the most challenging parts of interacting with companies like plumbers, electricians, and other providers that don’t have standardized pricing. If adding a “Request Quote” option is all it takes to get the information that people need, then it’s useful for most consumers.
Marketers will need to pay attention to Google to see how these tests will affect SEO marketing for local services in the future. And for companies that use products like Yelp to reach their customers. These updates could lead to a large shift in the way these companies do business.
For more recent news about updates to Google, that may change SEO marketing, read this article on Google’s latest change to privacy options on Google Maps.