Do Google reviews help SEO? Though Google has not revealed the inner workings of its search algorithm, local reviews do have an influence on search rankings. If you want to boost website and foot traffic, here’s what you need to know about local reviews and SEO.
Establishing the Link Between Local Reviews and SEO
Online reviews have become crucial to the success of any business. Ninety percent of today’s consumers will first look at reviews before deciding to visit a store. In addition, 88% of consumers trust reviews as much as recommendations made by their family and friends. Consumers are also more likely to purchase if you have excellent or positive reviews as they make your business appear more established and trustworthy.
Based on these statistics, reviews have a positive impact on on-site visits and sales. But what about the effect of reviews on SEO? Is there a connection and if so, why does it matter?
What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a specific type of search engine optimization. It is focused on improving search rankings in your local area. This is crucial for businesses that operate a physical store or those who provide psychical services. Local SEO helps boost your online presence so that consumers can find your business in the real world.
There are many ways to optimize for local search rankings such as having an up-to-date contact information page on your website, creating local landing pages, adding business contact information schemas, and incorporating local keywords in your content pages. However, there is one crucial local SEO strategy that businesses should not forget: a Google My Business account.
What Is the Purpose of Google My Business?
As the most popular search engine on the planet, most consumers will search Google reviews for local businesses. They will use Google to find contact information, driving directions, and other relevant information. If you want consumers to find your business, you need to rank high on local searches. But to appear on local searches, you must have a Google My Business (GMB) listing.
Businesses can improve their local SEO by optimizing their GMB account. Google will rank your business based on three factors: relevance, or how well your business matches the user’s search terms; distance, or how far you are from the user; and prominence, or how well-known your business is.
Do Reviews Affect SEO?
When analyzing a business’s online prominence, Google will look at social mentions, the number of online searches, directory listings, and local reviews. The more positive customer reviews that you have, the higher your prominence score. Consequently, this will also increase your ranking on local search results.
Keep in mind that the quality of reviews is also important. You want to have more positive reviews than negative ones. Reviews that include local keywords and your business’ location also tend to score higher when it comes to SEO.
Given the connection between local reviews and SEO, it’s important to have a digital marketing strategy that incorporates these two elements.
How to Use Local Reviews to Boost SEO
Here are ways you can use local reviews to boost SEO and encourage more on-site visits.
1. Request Reviews from Customers
Most consumers do not leave a review after a purchase — unless they are dissatisfied with the product or transaction. As such, you’re more likely to have negative reviews than positive ones. Fortunately, 70% of customers will write a review for your business if they are asked to do so.
Businesses can increase their search rankings by requesting reviews from happy customers. With a post-purchase email sequence, you can automatically send customers a follow-up email and request for a product review. Keep your forms short and concise to further encourage reviews. Obtaining regular, positive reviews on authority sites like Google My Business, Yelp, and Trustpilot will also help significantly increase your local search rankings.
2. Manage Negative Customer Reviews
Eighty-six percent of consumers will not purchase from a business with negative reviews. However, it’s not the end of the world if you have one or two bad reviews on your website. Google also looks at the content to determine the weight of a negative review. For instance, a bad review due to an isolated case of bad service is not the same as alleged maltreatment of customers.
Nevertheless, businesses should still manage negative reviews. Take time to reach out to your customers and find out the reason for their bad experience. You can provide special offers or other incentives that will encourage them to rewrite their negative review into a positive one. Make sure that you are polite and professional. Do not respond aggressively to customers who leave negative reviews.
These goodwill efforts will signify to Google that your business cares about customer feedback and that you are taking the steps to improve or remedy their situation. Engaging with customers online will reflect positively on your local search rankings.
3. Add Question & Answer section in GMB
Google My Business has a section where you can post answers to frequently asked questions about your business. The Q&A section will appear on your GMB listing whenever a user searches for your business or terms related to your business. You can prepopulate the Q&A section with questions that you think customers might ask. You can also answer questions that come directly from customers. Having a robust Q&A section can help increase your local search rankings — especially if you include relevant keywords in your content.
A Strategy Acknowledges the Connection Between Local Reviews and SEO
Positive customer reviews have and always will be crucial to the success of any business. With consumers spending more and more time online, reviews can serve as a form of word of mouth marketing. The more positive reviews you have for your business, the more you can increase your search rankings. With better online visibility, consumers have a better chance of getting to know your business, as well as the products or services that you offer. So, if you are looking for ways to increase your SEO rankings, don’t forget about how effective local reviews can be.
If you have additional questions about local reviews and SEO, feel free to contact Tanner Grey today! You may call us at 844.500.1339 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our local SEO services.
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