As a business owner, you probably already understand the power that online reviews can wield. Whether someone is looking for a local business, a specific product, or a service provider, they often check the reviews to gain insights from others. One bad review can be enough to turn someone away who was ready to convert.
But reviews can also do a lot more than make or break a person’s trust—they can also improve the visibility of your website. Here’s how you can use Google reviews to boost your SEO and rank higher in search results.
How Do Reviews Help with SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of customizing your website to improve its ranking in search engine results. Well-written content, user-friendly website design, and thorough keyword research go a long way in making your site more relevant and authoritative in the eyes of search engines like Google.
But building good SEO goes far beyond your website. You also need to cultivate a strong online presence with off-page optimizations like backlinks from reputable websites, social media mentions, and customer reviews.
Both positive and negative reviews will show search engines that your business is legitimate. But having primarily positive reviews makes your business seem more trustworthy. Google strives to deliver high quality search results, so having plenty of good reviews can lead to higher rankings and more visibility for your business.
Four Important Review Factors for Google Rankings
It all comes down to the algorithm, and one of the easiest ways to improve Google’s opinion of your business is with five-star Google reviews. Here are the four most important factors that Google considers when evaluating how your reviews affect your search rank.
1: Overall Rating
Most customers look for businesses that have at least a four-star rating, so that’s what Google looks for, too. However, bad ratings aren’t always an accurate reflection of your business. Unhappy customers are quick to voice their opinions, while satisfied customers often don’t take the time to write a review. If your business is lacking quality reviews, start asking your customers to leave a comment about their good experience.
2: Number of Reviews
Having a handful of reviews with four- or five-star ratings may look great, but that likely won’t be enough to convince potential customers. Google also prioritizes businesses with a high volume of positive reviews. In fact, having a high number of great reviews can boost your local search rankings. According to a recent study, the quantity of reviews with text (not just stars) is a top 10 ranking factor in getting your website to rank in the Google map pack.
3: Relevance and Frequency
Google prioritizes businesses with recent reviews as well as frequent ones. Say your business has a 4.5 average rating and hundreds of positive reviews, but its most recent review was from a year ago. To Google, this looks as if your business is no longer relevant. That’s why asking for reviews needs to be an ongoing part of your marketing strategy. A consistent stream of reviews shows Google that your business is relevant and operational.
4: Review Responses
Responding to online reviews of your business can also help with SEO. Prompt and polite responses to negative reviews show that you care about your customers’ opinions and want to resolve their issues. And responding to positive reviews with a brief thank you will show your appreciation. People are more likely to trust your business if they see that you are responsive, helpful, and polite. And the more trustworthy your business seems, the higher Google will rank your website.
Digital Marketing Services for Small Businesses
While gaining positive reviews is a powerful way to boost your SEO, there are also many other important factors that affect your search rankings. The online marketing team at New Wine Digital can help you attract new customers with impressive web design, engaging content, PPC ads, and more. Give us a call at 480-516-1819 today to learn how we can help you drive more traffic to your website.