The more high-quality, positive reviews you have, the more Google will reward you with better positioning on search engine results pages. Interacting with these reviews will also improve your standing on SERPs, making reputation management an important part of your marketing efforts.
I rely on reviews, you rely on reviews, pretty much anybody with any type of internet access uses online reviews to make an informed decision. We use them for products, restaurants, hotels, doctors and other services. In short, we use them for everything.
We know they’re important, as they provide us with insight before we make a purchase, but did you know that reviews are important for good SEO?
It’s true. Not only do good reviews on Google, Facebook and Yelp improve the appearance of your business to interested customers, but the proper interactions with them can improve your ranking on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) — meaning better SEO!
Below, we’ll look at the power of reviews for both your business’ reputation and its success on Google and other search engines. If you’re interested in learning how to improve your website’s SEO, continue reading to optimize your reviews for better search engine performance.
The Importance Of Online Reviews
Word of mouth used to be the dominant way the reputation of a business spread and while it still is a factor today, online reviews are a much more powerful marketing tool in the digital age.
In fact, according to a 2016 poll on online reviews from the Pew Research Center, over half of adults in the U.S. regularly check online reviews before buying a new item. According to the Pew Research Center study, 53 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds and 47 percent of 30- to 49-year-olds “always or almost always” read such reviews before buying a product for the first time.
Online reviews are even more popular among frequent online shoppers, with 67 percent — about two-thirds — of people who shop online weekly saying that they “nearly always” read reviews from other customers before making a first-time purchase.
“Overall, online shoppers are eight times more likely than those who never shop online to say they typically check online reviews before buying something for the first time (49% vs. 6%),” Aaron Smith and Monica Anderson wrote in a post for Pew Research Center detailing the study.
Search Engine Land, a leading digital publication documenting news pertaining to search engines, also reported that 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews just as much as word-of-mouth and personal recommendations.
“Nearly 9 in 10 consumers have read online reviews to determine the quality of a local business, and 39% do so on a regular basis,” Myles Anderson wrote on Search Engine Land. “The ‘trend line’ over the last four years clearly shows how much more regularly people are reading reviews, clearly highlighting the need for local businesses to attract more reviews and actively manage their online reputation.”
Experts know that reviews are important for businesses and the numbers show that they are important for businesses, so next we’ll look at how these reviews are helpful to your search engine optimization efforts and what you can do to make your business shine on SERPs.
How Do Online Reviews Help With SEO?
Reviews are especially beneficial to your local SEO, as they help searchers get a quick sense of what your business offers through your Google My Business listing. A Google My Business listing is an important way to present your services, hours of operation and contact information to the public, as well as creating a space for customers to leave reviews about their experiences.
Google even acknowledges that attracting high-quality, positive reviews will increase your site’s SEO success, while also encouraging that you respond to reviews to show that you value them and their business.
“Interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business,” Google said on a help page for Google My Business. “High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location. Encourage customers to leave feedback by creating a link they can click to write reviews.”
Google finds more value in listings with high-quality reviews — and with reviews, period — leading the search engine to reward businesses for them. Google typically shows users businesses with reviews over businesses without them, as reviews signify a tangible relationship with consumers that businesses without reviews don’t appear to have on the surface.
A survey by Moz on local search engine ranking factors found this to be the case, as well. Moz summarized the effect of reviews on SEO by highlighting that reviews lead to improved performance on Google and a higher click-through rate:
“Native Google reviews continue to play an increasingly important role. We still see outliers that rank well in a competitive industry with next to no Google reviews. But the overall trend is clearly moving towards businesses who are investing time and energy into their review strategy. Reviews = trust and increased CTR.”
Good Reviews Mean Good SEO
If the statistics didn’t show the importance of paying close attention to reviews, hearing the gospel straight from Google should be enough to convince you that good reviews equal better SEO.
So if you have a number of high-quality, positive reviews from customers, that will help your site’s rankings on SERPs and increase the chance that a customer will find your business before a competitors. On the other side of the equation is the dreaded negative review. Negative reviews are unavoidable, which is why it’s important to have a plan to manage your business’ reviews and overall reputation.
Strunk Media Group’s reputation management services can help you weather bad reviews and improve your digital brand. For a free consultation to learn more about how our reputation management and public relations work can help your business, click the button below.