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Local Justifications: What They Are and How Your Business can Benefit from Them

Around early 2019, Google rolled out local justifications, which are an additional snippet of text displayed on many business listings you may see in Google search or Google Maps. 

A local justification signals to you, the user, that what you are searching for specifically matches your intent. Local justifications are important to understand, not only if you are in the marketing space, but also as a consumer and business owner. Having an understanding of what local justifications are and how they will work allows you to better create content, create marketing materials, and connect with your intended audience. 

If you have never heard of local justifications until now, that is okay because we are here to help. Now let's get into what local justifications are, the various types of justifications, and why they should matter to you


What Are Local Justifications? 

Local justifications are still relatively new when it comes to search results. Simply put, justifications are just an extra snippet of text that Google shows on certain GMB listings in the local pack or on Google Maps. 

Justifications are used to signal the user that a feature in a certain search results matches the intent (or thing) they are searching for. 

You may have seen justifications while searching on Google and not even noticed it, such as through Google posts, reviews, and website mentions. As of now there are only four known types of justifications

  1. Review: the most common justification that you may see on Google maps or a Review. For instance, Google will pull up a review that matches a keyword you may have searched with to help you see more results. These come from your Google My Business (GMB) reviews. 
  2. Site Mention: this is another well-known justification, in this snippet, Google lets you know what service is offered on a website’s listing. This justification comes from the website linked in your GMB listing.
  3. Post: this is a fairly new justification. This justification may look like a GMB post that may come up when you search. With this justification it can be pulled from your most recent post, or even from content in posts months old, so keep this in mind when you are curating content for your business or site. 
  4. Service: when searching for a service or thing, this justification may come with this business “provides ________ “ , this one pulls information from services a business has added to their GMB profile. This justification comes from the Services section of the GMB dashboard.  

Justifications may be something small within the bigger sense of search results, but they act as an indicator and cue to the user that that result justifies their search intent. It is important you recognize what justifications are, but also use them within your marketing strategy as well. 


How Local Justifications Work 

When creating a local justification that fits your intent, you want to consider proximity, prominence, and relevance to the end user

For proximity, you should search the coordinates on your site and look around the area to see how you can stand out in that area. 

Then for prominence, you should encourage your clientele to leave reviews since this plays a major role in how and where your business will be displayed in rankings. So whether your company is fairly new or has been around for a while, you should encourage people to leave you a review. 

As for relevance regarding justifications, you should always be adding resourceful, invaluable information to your site, as well as ensuring it is structured well and relates to popular search queries. 

Another thing to consider when it comes to your justifications relevance is onsite SEO (title, meta, and alt tags) and references (does your address appear consistently throughout your site). 

One other thing you will want to make sure is your justifications contain attributes to further describe your company. Some of these can be crowd-sourced or suggested by Google users, so keep this in mind when it comes to these attributes. In creating justifications, you should research which one would work best for your audience and intent, and then further investigate how you can work with these various variables to get justifications working for you. 

Keep in mind that you will need to give justification(s) some time, though, before you switch your plan of action.


Why Should You Care About Local Justifications? 

There are many reasons you should care about local justifications-- an increased chance of your listing getting clicked on or contacted, good visibility in your local pack, and a signal that flags a user that they found a match to their search intent. 

Also, you should care about justifications because it helps your intended user find you faster and might help make you their first choice. Simply put,  having justifications it can make it easier, or even faster for an user to find you

Take time to make sure you are creating a justification that fits your audience’s search intent on your GMB profile or listing. Use your GMB and these justifications to their full extent, even if the benefit is not immediately clear. In doing so, you can create visibility for your brand, and you can also learn what you may need to adapt about your approach when it comes to justifications. 

Whether you already have justifications or not, take the time to either create them or see how they are doing and, from there, keep adjusting your justifications to better fit your audience and brand as you evolve. 

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