Let's look at 'Estate agent Hertford':
Shepherds is close to the centre of Hertford, but William H Brown are far from being the next most central (King & Co and Churchills are closer) and as for Big Black Hen: according to Google they are nearly 1/2 mile from anything that could be considered to be the centre of town.
But is all of this about to become redundant?
As we've said before: Google's long-term success continues to depend on delivering the very best search results for its core audience: consumers. It has to be asking itself the question "Is there a better way?" And the answer is, of course, a resounding "Yes!"
Unless you need A&E you are invariably not searching for the 'nearest' - pub/financial adviser/dentist. And you're certainly not searching for the business with the best SEO. What you really want is the BEST pub/financial adviser/dentist; that would really add value to your search experience. So how are Google going to deliver that value?
By ranking businesses in order of popularity: the BEST pub/financial adviser/dentist. How are they going to assess popularity? By looking at reviews. Whose reviews? Their own. Google's.
It's not rocket science, is it? The vehicle is already there - the 'three pack' you see above, introduced earlier this year, so its not going to take a quantum leap for Google to serve...
"The best three businesses in [Hertford] in the opinion of our Google reviewers"
Beat the mad rush - look like this NOW...
This client had NO Google reviews at the beginning of last year
... and keep on looking better and better every day until you are the top billed business of your kind in your area (and we're sure you won't stop even then). It's sure not to hurt you before Google introduce ranking, it sure will make sure you succeed when they do.