Anyone in business can tell you how important reviews are. Good reviews can make your business stand out from the crowd, while poor reviews can close your doors forever.
According to a survey by the marketing firm BrightLocal, positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more. And customers are reading reviews more than ever, with a staggering 88% of consumers using reviews to determine the quality of a company.
But, besides good reviews and bad reviews, what happens when a business does not have any reviews? Well, nothing much. In fact, it may make it more difficult for customers to find you online.
Just like customers, Google considers reviews when factoring where your business shows up in search engine results.
Reviews are a huge part of search engine optimization (SEO).
Reviews are not only for online stores. Brick-and-mortar stores need reviews too, due to how Google shows localized search results to searchers.
What happens when a customer Googles directions for your local business? Well, whether they are on mobile or desktop, your reviews and average star rating will show up – which can have a significant bearing on your local SEO efforts.
Reviews from your Google My Business page will appear in Google Maps on the right side of the search results. There is a positive correlation between your average review rating and whether or not a customer will visit your store and make a purchase. Ignoring reviews would be a huge misstep for local businesses.
If you have not already, creating a Google My Business page is free and easy, and allows you to monitor and reply to your customer reviews on Google.
Reviews can also determine where your business shows up on the search engine results page (SERP).
Landing on the first or second SERP can make a difference in your business being discovered or lost on the twelfth page of Google. Take for example the results page for bakeries in Orlando:
These coveted first three results are called the local pack. Clicking on the ‘More places’ link under the local pack leads to the local map results.
These are the best organic listings a local business can have, and they are mostly taken by businesses with great reviews. Sixty percent of customers find these top organic results the most trustworthy ones on Google.
According to a survey of SEO consultants Sydney, reviews are ranked number five in importance when it comes to a business landing a top spot in the local pack. The amount and quality of your reviews send a signal to Google on the authenticity and authority of your business.
The ranking signals for local results puts reviews at a 13% influence when it comes to landing top SERP results. (Always use a rank tracking tool like Linkio and similar to follow your positions on the SERPs)
Additionally, you should not ignore getting reviews on sites other than Google. Take a look at the results for bakeries in Orlando again:
After the local pack results, the next organic search results are from review websites like Yelp, FourSquare, and TripAdvisor.
Having reviews on multiple sites signals to Google your business’ trustworthiness.
If you want a prominent position in Google search results, you need user reviews on lots of websites.
In addition to having a diversity of reviews, Google considers the number of reviews your business has and your review velocity—how quickly you are getting reviews. If you get reviews too rapidly, that can raise a red flag with Google that may impact your ranking results.
Where you get your reviews is also important. You want to avoid having your reviews show up on sites like ComplaintsBoard and RipoffReport. You also want to avoid having your business reviewed on lesser-known review sites that are not indexed by Google.
Major review sites for businesses include Google+Local, Yelp, Foursquare, and Facebook.
Now that you have learned about the importance of reviews for SEO, you may be wondering how to start managing reviews online. Schedule a demo of Rize Reviews now to help increase, monitor and manage your reviews online.