Online reviews have become the modern day word of mouth. The latest research reveals that nearly half of consumers will consult online reviews before making a purchase decision. People place more trust on what their peers have to say about a business than descriptions that come directly from businesses. In fact, a recent study revealed that consumers trust online reviews nearly 12 times more than traditional advertising.
There are many different online review sites that consumers consult when researching products and services, with Google being one of the most popular sources. Research shows that there is a correlation between Google My Business reviews and SEO, which is why your business needs to seek online reviews from consumers on this platform.
Why Seek Out Google My Business Online Reviews
While there are hundreds of online review sites, Google is consistently one of the leaders in the online review space, regardless of the industry, products, or services that consumers are researching.
Also, Google has 89.95 percent of the search engine marketshare as of 2019. When using Google to search for a local business, the Google My Business page for the local business will appear on the right-hand side of the results, making it easy and almost seamless for consumers to click on the link to read the Google reviews. If your business has a Google My Business page, it would greatly benefit your business if you encourage your customers to write online reviews on Google.
How Online Reviews Impact SEO
Online reviews are authentic, user-generated content, so it's no wonder that search engines like Google are now factoring online reviews into SEO rankings. While Google hasn't revealed any rationale behind its search algorithm, it seems to reward businesses for receiving online reviews in a similar way to how it rewards businesses for earning backlinks from other websites. More simply put, the more people that are talking about your business online, the higher Google will rank your website in search results.
From what we know about SEO, we can infer that search engines like Google look at three key elements in online reviews to determine how they will impact a business's search strategy:
1. The Content in the Online Review
Online reviews that contain keywords that your target audience is typing into search queries will positively impact your SEO strategy and increase the likelihood that your business will make it into the "local pack". The "local pack" refers to the search results that appear immediately under the map in Google search, making it the first thing that consumers typically see when reviewing search results.
Research shows that an online review can help your business make it into the "local pack" if the review includes the following:
While social media engagement is necessary to increase your online visibility, so is engaging with the online reviews that your customers leave for your business. If someone takes the time to write an online review for your business, show your appreciation by responding to him or her. It's especially important to respond to negative online reviews as it presents your business with the opportunity to change the way a customer feels about your business. Research shows that 89 percent of consumers are willing to write a follow-up positive online review based on how the business responds to their negative feedback.
Another way to create two-way engagement on your Google My Business page is to answer customer questions on Google Q&A. Both businesses and consumers have the option to respond to these questions. However, if it's your business, ensuring that all questions have been addressed accurately will help to build credibility for your brand and improve your SEO rankings.
3. Click-Through Rate
When using Google to search for a local business, the company's Google My Business page should populate on the right-hand side of the search results. At a quick glance, consumers can see how many Google reviews the business has collected and what the overall rating of the business is based on those reviews.
It's no surprise that today's consumers are more selective than ever. Research shows that more than 50 percent of consumers will pass up a company if it has less than a 4-star online review rating. Businesses with better online review ratings earn more organic clicks to their websites, which increases website traffic and ultimately boosts SEO.
How New York Ave Can Help
If you want to start earning more online reviews but aren't sure how to get started, we can help. Our team of SEO specialists at New York Ave can help you to increase your online visibility by making you aware of which online review platforms that your business needs to have an active presence on and how to earn more online reviews.
Contact us at New York Ave to learn how we can help you to leverage online reviews to strengthen your SEO strategy.