How Does Online Reviews Impact Local SEO Rankings?

September 12, 2022 How Does Online Reviews Impact Local SEO Rankings? By Gaurav Madan

When it comes to local SEO, you just cannot ignore the importance of online reviews. If you want your business of local SEO to excel and deliver the desired results, you need to build a strategy to help you manage your reviews, increasing the positive impact of online reviews for your local SEO.

Based on studies, 98% of people read online reviews when they are searching for a local business. And 80% of customers would likely leave a comment or review if their negative experience is turned into a positive one.

Impact of online reviews on local SEO rankings helps your business in multiple ways. Reviews also perform as one of the key metrics to track and measure your local SEO success. Google reviews provide a useful insight into the interaction of customers with your business as well as their experience which will be helpful in creating a strategy that improves local SEO rankings. Winning more positive reviews will drastically boost local SEO rankings for a local business.

You must read the full blog in order to learn the importance of online reviews for local SEO rankings, what local SEO is, how reviews help with SEO, how to deal with bad reviews, tips for getting more positive reviews and much more. 

What Exactly Is Local SEO?

Local SEO is all about driving traffic that is searching for a local business such as a restaurant, or plumber, etc. in Phoenix. It aims at helping a business target or reach customers in a particular region. For example, if you are a plumber serving households in your area, then the people searching for plumbing services in that area will see your business in the search results if your business ranks high. Local SEO helps to get your local business rank in the Google search results for your target keywords. 

To put it simply, unlike general Google searches, local search is more specific to a particular space. Local SEO is the process of optimizing a business online visibility so it can appear in those local search results.

Online reviews are one of the best approaches to improving local SEO rankings. In fact, Google reviews help people find your business and contact you when they need services or products that you provide.

Local SEO is crucial because it helps you:

  • Improve online visibility of your business.
  • Get you more footfall at your physical store.
  • Drive quality traffic that is more likely to convert. 
  • Enhance your credibility and build trust.

How Do Reviews Help With Local SEO?

There are many ways you can use to improve your site’s SEO profile in general, but reviews from locals and a better local SEO profile are by the far the best way to increase quality traffic and get business from local people.

Google reviews along with SEO local promotion and social proof form the best way to significantly rock up your website’s online presence. Online reviews if combined with word of mouth and the current state of the world provide a powerful indicator of the health of your business.

Let us have a look at what the data says:

  • 98% read online reviews for local businesses. 
  • 80% would likely leave a review if they have a positive experience.
  • 78% rely on the internet for reviews when they are searching for local businesses.
  • “Reviews bag 16% weightage for search engine decision-making processes for local SEO”, says a survey on factors for local search rankings. That is not all! Just look at the importance of reviews for local SEO success, and you will discover a large list of tangible benefits. A few are as follows:
  • A four or five-star Google review will boost Click-through rate, which eventually results in more traffic to your website.
  • A study of Harvard reveals that an increase in Yelp ranking by one star can boost the sales by 5-9%.
  • Google loves good reviews, because the search engine will trust you more if your site has more positive reviews. Good reviews preferably rank such a site.
  • More importantly, 7 out of 10 customers trust an online review. More good reviews mean more sales. 

Reviews which show on your Google Business Profile provide a quick snapshot of what your business does and also into how people have interacted with your business so far. This will affect: the position of your business on the Map Pack and your local SERP ranking.

According to Moz’s local search ranking factors survey, reviews have grown in importance as a ranking factor for local searches over the past years. BrightLocal also revealed the same, “business with higher rated reviews ranked higher in the SERP”. Google also confirmed reviews as a ranking signal in a section about managing and responding to reviews.

So, even if we don’t know the full impact of online reviews in determining your local rankings, we do know they influence it somehow.

How Negative Reviews Affect Local SEO?

The reviews of people are among the factors that affect the reputation of your business. As part of Google E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness), online reviews refers to the trustworthiness which is a key ranking signal. So your SEO efforts must focus on maintaining and enhancing your online reputation.

As a key part of online reputation, improving online reviews is an important offering of good SEO services. If you are a dentist and looking for local SEO for dentists, make your SEO partner also offer reviews management in SEO services. 

Negative reviews are natural and quite expected so, you cannot avoid it but you can manage it. Negative reviews are detrimental to local SEO rankings and ultimately the traffic on your website. Also, if they are not dealt with properly, bad reviews may wreak havoc on your reputation.

The best way to deal with negative reviews is to respond to them. By engaging with your customers, you will know their pain point and so you can provide them with the right solution to their problem and earn good reviews from them. Not responding will have a reverse impact and customers will lose trust in you.

How to Get Good Google Reviews for Local SEO?

Online reviews are important as they help improve trust with customers by providing social proof and can also assist in SEO efforts. 

Benefits of a healthy review profile abounds, including more good leads, social proof, customer engagement and loyalty, etc. Reviews are the best way to increase brand recognition and reputation, gain SEO benefits and influence purchasing decisions with potential clients. The best thing is that they cost nothing. There are ways to get reviews.

Some good sources of online reviews include:

  • Clients.
  • Customers.
  • Colleagues.
  • Business partners.
  • Personal contacts (depending on the platform).

This is a great way to get reviews as the people you know are more likely to leave a good, genuine review about your business. Google does not allow reviews from non-customers but Facebook does not have any such limitations. You can ask your industry partner, neighbor and even mail service provider to leave a review for you. Make sure they give an honest, true and authentic review. Ask non-customers to speak about your integrity, professionalism, personality, or character in the reviews.

How to Request for Reviews?

  • Must add a personal contact while sending messages. This way, you can get an opportunity to talk to an unhappy customer and get things right before they share a public review.
  • Keep it simple and direct. People do not have time to read lengthy messages and so they are more likely to not respond.
  • Don’t send a follow up message soon. This may annoy them. It is better to send a reminder in a week.
  • If possible, add personal details without laying it on too heavy. Be careful while adding the details and use only the details which are really important.

Tips for Ensuring a Positive Review Profile:

  • Respond to all reviews: Doing so makes customers believe that you really care about their opinions or thoughts about their experience. This builds the trust of customers and encourages them to engage with your business.
  • Understand your customers: It is important as this helps you know the fake reviews from the peers while fostering a good relationship with your customers.
  • Make it easy: If your customers are not tech-savvy or face a problem writing a review, help with clear and easy to understand instructions of how to create a good review.
  • Always ask them for an honest review: Do not do anything inappropriate in order to have customers leave a positive review. Instead, encourage them to be honest in their reviews so you also know your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Strike a personal tone in your request: Whether you ask your customers through a mail or over the phone maintain a personal tone. Have your customers know that you know and care about their experience. Avoid asking things related to their family such as how their kid’s sporting event went.

What Not to Do When Seeking Reviews for Local SEO?

  • Don’t get hung up on one platform. 
  • Don’t pay for or incentivize reviews.
  • Don’t ask people to leave fake reviews. 
  • Don’t ignore the feedback you receive from your customers.
  • Don’t use Facebook’s auto-responder for reviews.
  • Don’t delete negative reviews and never avoid responding to them.

To Sum Up

You should care about positive reviews not because this helps your SEO campaign but it can also help boost your sales and conversions to a great extent. According to a Podium survey, 93% of respondents accepted that online reviews influenced their decision to buy, which means out of 10 people, 9 use online reviews to make their buying decision. With that, it seems that proper review management must be a part of your SEO strategy. 

Though Google reviews are not a magic wand to boost sales and conversion or enhance brand reputation, they are, of course, a powerful tool that helps immensely in improving rankings of local SEO in Phoenix.

Gaurav Madan

About Author

Gaurav is working on various verticals like IT & Software Solutions | Digital Marketing | E-Commerce | BPO | Outsourcing | Offshoring | Global Deliveries | Exports | Education. Gaurav believes in CHANGE, which is constant throughout the LIFE so be with the CHANGE Gaurav is having, In-depth experience in IT Solutions, Offshoring, Internet Branding, Sales & Marketing, Managing New Projects & Processes, Solution Designing and Transitioning of New International and Domestic business engagements. Proficient at managing & leading teams to run successful operations & experienced in developing procedures, service standards, client satisfaction using standard frameworks for business excellence.

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