Online reviews have taken on a more powerful significance over the past few years for local business. Since Yelp was founded in 2004, it’s emergence on the scene has grown to make and break businesses all over the US. When Google purchased Zagat in 2011, the importance of online reviews has never been greater. As we’ve learned in the past, how you engage users online and what they say about you can have a huge impact on your website traffic and overall business success.

5 star online reputation building servicesSmart business owners know that it is important to obtain positive reviews for the purposes of reputation management. However what many local business owners still may not realize is the effect the quantity and quality of reviews have on local SEO. Reviews have also shaped search algorithms, and Google clearly indicates that reviews play a role in one of its three primary local search factors. SEO professionals have been diligently crafting strategic approaches to reviews in hopes of improving local SEO performance.

Importance of Online Reviews

Small businesses have always lived and died by word of mouth. Even before the Internet, a business was in trouble if too many people said bad things about it. As searches now rapidly swings towards mobile, reviews are increasingly important and online customer interaction with your business page is something that businesses can no longer afford to ignore.

  • Informing consumer purchasing decisions
  • Influencing which search results get clicked on
  • Local search engine rankings
  • Managing your reputation both online and off
  • Encourages internal communication and development

Because 90{f57cecc76329659856f00bd01f529e319bb36b58f42dc9ec00a8ea65b2ecec80} of customers say that online reviews influence their buying decisions, it’s essential for your business to have a strategy in place for acquiring and managing this content. Online reviews should primarily be a major part of your digital marketing strategy. You should also be focusing on making a diligent effort to acquire positive reviews and influence consumer buying decisions with the words and praise of former and current clients.

Online Reviews for Local SEO

The more reviews you have, the better. According to BrightLocal’s survey, you need at least 7 to 10 reviews before most people trust you. As search engines work to build a better Internet and online experience for users, online customer reviews have become more and more important. Because consumers love reading reviews to inform their purchasing decisions, so do local search engines. Search engines like Google and Bing want to provide users with the information they need to make decisions on future purchases.

According to MOZ’s Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, online reviews make up approximately 10{f57cecc76329659856f00bd01f529e319bb36b58f42dc9ec00a8ea65b2ecec80} of how search engines decide to rank search results including quantity and diversity. Positive online reviews can help companies clinch a prominent position in local search engine results, and listings with good reviews encourage more click throughs and physical visits. Online reviews, both positive and negative, give consumers the extra push they need to make a buying decision which can mean the difference between winning over a potential customer.

Reviews Are a Top Factor in Determining Organic local Search Rankings

Online reputation marketing managemetn servicesOne of the most prominent and sought-after places in Google’s local search results is the “local pack”. A set of three highlighted Maps-based results featuring the most highly ranked businesses based on the factors that determine local ranking. Moz shows that review signals are considered one of the top factors that determine whether or not your business gets listed in the local pack. Even if a business hasn’t yet gotten into the local pack, high ratings and consistent positive feedback can still sway users to click and convert.

Online reviews are also factored into organic local search rankings. According to Moz, review signals make up approximately 7{f57cecc76329659856f00bd01f529e319bb36b58f42dc9ec00a8ea65b2ecec80} of what gets you listed in organic results. An official statement from Google states “Review count and score are factored into local search ranking. More reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking.” These findings demonstrate that the voice of the customer is louder than ever, and it resonates in the local SEO landscape. Businesses who actively manage online reviews customers can position themselves better in search.

Are You Ready to Take Advantage of Online Reviews?

It’s important to monitor your reputation online through consumer reviews and be proactive by engaging with consumers. Reviews can be the difference in ranking a place or two higher than a competitor over time if you are diligent about capturing them. But equally as important, if not more so, is taking the time to respond to all of your reviews and reviewers in a timely and respectful manner. This is just another way that you can rise above your competition, but also to build an even more loyal following that will ensure future business for years to come. If you need help managing your reviews, your online reputation, or have any other questions relating to online marketing, contact Digital+ today!


Back to original version
Font Resize