As of July 2019, Google has made a major change to how local search results populate. Joy Hawkins, business owner and marketing professional, was the first to draw attention to it: The Request a Quote button.

She tweeted a screenshot of her own business’s local SERP listing. Underneath the usual “Share,” “Website,” “Call” and “Save” icons, there’s a huge “Get a Quote” button. It spans the entire space under the other four options, making it incredibly prominent.

Her tweet highlighted an addition to SERPs that surprised everyone. Marketers, SEO experts and small business owners had an avalanche of questions. Though there were many different voices asking for answers, the questions fell into two basic camps. First, what is the function of this new feature? Second, what does it mean for the SERP landscape?

As more enterprises use the button, the community is finally getting some solid answers. Here’s what experts know about the Google Request a Quote icon so far.


What Does It Do?

The Request a Quote button allows customers to contact a business directly from the results page. From the customer perspective, this streamlines the process of reaching out to companies. After all, there are many factors that determine how difficult it is to contact a business through its website:

  • Whether the design supports easy navigation
  • Whether the website has a contact form for online messaging
  • The navigational ability of the visitor
  • The amount of time a visitor is willing to spend navigating a website

When potential customers click on a website, they know they’re taking a risk. They’re not sure how much time they’ll need to dedicate to looking for a contact form. With the new icon, that uncertainty and frustration gets removed from the process. Consumers can send off a message in minutes and keep track of replies in their Google Maps Messages feature.

On the other end, businesses receive the messages through the GMB app. You may already use this app to manage how your business appears on Google SERPs.


What Does Google Have To Say About This Change?

Not much, as it turns out. As with many major changes, Google didn’t announce this move. As of writing this article, it hasn’t given an official statement about the change either. However, there are support pages available about the new feature.

Despite the tech giant keeping mum, SEO experts believe this is a full roll-out, not a test. Many business owners are able to add this button, indicating it’s a permanent feature.

That said, it’s impossible to know what updates Google may implement in the future. Since there’s a connection between the button and GMB, updates to the app may affect the button’s use. There’s also the possibility of Google making cosmetic alterations to the button in Map updates.

Perhaps Google will address the Request a Quote Button in the future. Until then, the community can only experiment and wait.


What Are the Benefits?

This article has already addressed how customers benefit from the Google Request a Quote, but what about businesses? Can this significantly affect your conversion rate and other metrics?

While there’s no hard data yet, many professionals are hopeful this feature can increase lead generation. As explained above, customers may be more willing to engage with businesses when it requires less risk and effort. Getting customers to reach out is a major hurdle for many companies.

As a result, many enterprises invest significant resources into developing leads. The button can potentially boost lead generation with very little effort.

This may also be a boon for businesses seeking to develop long-term customer relationships. Messaging lets companies connect directly with customers, creating a sense of personal care. For local enterprises looking for repeat customers, this is especially fortuitous because of the button’s association with Maps.


What Are the Drawbacks?

As with most SERP changes, there are some drawbacks to the Google Request a Quote. The most obvious downside is that customers may not visit your website. However, whether this is a drawback depends on your goals.

If your primary objective is lead generation, decreased web traffic may not concern you overmuch. However, you may run into issues if your goal is to upsell or encourage customers to purchase additional items. If visitors aren’t looking at your site, they won’t know about the other options you offer.

Another drawback is turnaround time. With direct connection comes the expectation that you’ll be readily available to consumers. If you don’t already have one, you may have to develop protocol for responding to these messages. If you do have an established protocol, you may need to prepare for increased contact. These changes may be difficult for small businesses where employees fill multiple roles. Best practice advises that you identify and address these issues before activating the call to action button. Otherwise, the direct connection may backfire and generate negative customer reviews.


What Platforms Show the Button?

Web users can see the button on both desktop and mobile SERPs. On desktop, it appears blue; on mobile, it’s white.

Is that significant? While the colors may not be a big deal, the introduction of this button to mobile is huge.

Recent studies show that over half of internet searches occur on mobile devices. Approximately 78% of these mobile searches lead to a purchase. That’s a large segment of customers who can now engage with companies even more easily. While this new feature is sure to help lead generation across platforms, mobile may see the lion’s share of increases.


Which Organizations Can Implement This Feature?

There don’t appear to be any limitations on size or industry when it comes to implementation. Instead, the button’s presence is completely dependent on the GMB app. There are a number of features in this app, some of which you have to activate. Organizations that have set up customer messaging should see the button populate in related searches. This egalitarian approach means nearly any enterprise can take advantage of this feature.


How Can You Put the Button on Your Listing?

To implement the Google Request a Quote icon, you need to have the Google My Business app. You can download it for free from the Apple Store or Google Play. It’s available for both mobile and desktop, though certain features are only active on one or the other. For example, you can only remove a listing via desktop and only see followers on mobile.

Once you’ve set up your account, you can follow these steps to opt-in to customer messaging:

  1. Select the business location
  2. Select Consumers
  3. Select Messages
  4. Tap “Turn on Messaging”

You see your listing updated in real time.


Should You Add the Call to Action Button?

The answer to this question will vary depending on your goals and marketing strategy. The lack of data on the button’s effects makes determining an answer even more difficult. However, your decision doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

As with any new B2B marketing strategy, you should give the Request a Quote button a trial run before committing. If you have multiple locations, you may want to try one site first. Otherwise, you may want to use it for a month, then compare your metrics to past data.

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Stew Sucher is the Director of Product Management at Boostability. With over 10 years of experience, he leads a team of internal managers and external strategic partners to develop scalable and effective SEO strategies for Boostability's direct clients and partners. Stew is skilled in developing custom software to fulfill workflow needs and educating and training each internal organization on best practices to create an optimal customer experience.