Google My Business has confirmed it has begun rolling out a feature that will allow users to see an estimated cost for services in the local search panel. The feature is being tested alongside Homewyse, an independent reference for home improvement estimates, so it's currently only applicable to businesses that work within this sector. And, so far, these price estimates are only available for U.S. users to view.
As it's early days for the testing, there's no confirmation yet that Google will be rolling this feature out on a larger scale, but if they do, it'll be important to understand how this can impact your business and how you may need to adjust your organic search strategy to complement it.
In this blog post, I'll be discussing what we know so far about this feature and what it'll mean for the digital marketing landscape.
About the update
In their Local Services Help forum, Google highlighted that the prices shown for local services are just an estimate, with the benefit being that potential customers get a ballpark figure for work they need carrying out. The cost estimates in the trialling period have been generated alongside data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and other references, to try to give a comprehensive estimated cost.
However, in the forum discussion, the tech giant goes on to warn customers that the figures shown will need to be cross-checked with specific providers in the area. This ensures that businesses won't be greeted with hordes of angry customers and that customers won’t be misled by the cost estimates shown.
U.S. users will be greeted with something similar to the below when searching for home improvement providers in their area:
While the trial feature doesn't seem to show individual cost listings for each business in a local area, it does show an estimated breakdown between labour fees and material expenses, which could be beneficial for businesses looking to compete. It's likely that we'll see U.S. companies adjusting their prices either lower to offer a competitive advantage and to create a better deal for their customers, or businesses being given the opportunity to look at other prices and bolster theirs up a bit higher to widen their profit margins.
By displaying the lowest possible costs in the local area, the estimated cost feature is also likely to encourage people to shop around to find the best deals. This could lead to more competition but also more opportunity.
If it's successful, Google may look at rolling the feature out to other countries, so it'll pay to keep an eye on its development. This experiment, and a subsequent implementation of the feature, could be the first steppingstone to even more detailed price information in local listings which will no doubt be handy for searchers, but also in getting your business noticed among the competition.
Keeping up with Google updates can help you to steer your organic and paid search strategies in the right direction. Here at Glass Digital, we are committed to helping our clients understand the important announcements and to use them to their businesses' advantage. So, if you're looking to improve your marketing strategy, why not get in touch and schedule in a free consultation with one of our SEO experts?