There is no doubt that Google Reviews do contribute to search engine rankings and to overall SEO efforts. Even though there are many factors which contribute to local rankings, customer reviews online can provide a powerful influence on search engines, indicating authority and trustworthiness. At a time when competition between local small businesses is growing keener all the time, one way to differentiate your small business from the others is to manage your online reviews intelligently and regularly.
Impact of business reviews
With all the other factors which comprise search engine optimization, you might not think of customer reviews as being one of the most important, but in terms of its impact on local businesses, reviews are extremely powerful. A study performed in 2017 by Local SEO Guide found that Google My Business reviews which included keywords being searched for, were the #2 influence on businesses performance and local rankings.
Even if your business is not a local one and has no physical location, there is still a wealth of statistical evidence which indicates the importance of reviews, with regard to SEO. In a nine-month study conducted by review management platform Yotpo, adding customer reviews to specific businesses websites increased their organic page views from 5,500 a month to more than 8,000 per month, which represents a significant increase.
Why reviews matter so much
One of the underlying reasons that so much weight is assigned to customer reviews, is that Google trusts the opinions of a number of customers more than it does the business which is being described. This is also why it’s so valuable to receive incoming links from other relevant sites, because Google considers that to be something of an endorsement of authority and trust, so you get rewarded with greater visibility.
In a similar manner, when you get a number of Google reviews, it signals Google that your business is a legitimate operation which consumers have reacted with, and which can help other users make decisions about purchases. In some cases, the only information Google has about your business is what you have provided in your Google My Business listing. Google reviews tend to provide lots more information about your business, which Google can assess so it can learn more about your company, and about how useful it is to consumers.
All those reviews add SEO value to your business, all of which is provided by consumers. The information contained in some of these reviews can flesh out content already on your website, and it can serve to increase your local rankings and boost your overall online visibility. When your business gets great reviews, it will almost certainly get more rating stars and more clicks, and when Google picks up on this, it assumes your company is doing something right, and rewards you with higher ranking in search engine results.
Managing your online reviews
Assuming your business is providing value and is well-run, it should not be too difficult to manage your online reviews, since they should be mostly positive. But to get the most out of those reviews, you should include them on your business website, because then all visitors to your site will see that others have found your business to be reliable and perhaps even superior to other companies. Don’t just be happy that you’ve gotten good customer reviews – put those reviews to work for you on your website, so that you can derive even more benefit from them.