Are Google Reviews Good For Local SEO?

Are Google Reviews Good For Local SEO?

December 3, 2021
(Reading time: 5 - 10 minutes)

Before I answer the question posed in the title of this post, think let me ask you, dear reader, a couple of questions. Do you check reviews before you visit or reach out to a business? Have you ever found yourself favoring one business over another due to their online reviews?

I am sure you could answer yes to both of these questions. Now back to the question I posed in the title of this post and its accompanying answer, which is overwhelming YES! Yes, Google Reviews will help your both general SEO and Local SEO.

Now, this begs the question of how do these local businesses show up on the search results pages (SERPs) in the first place? Well, that’s Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) at work.

In this article, I will help you better understand what local SEO is and its benefits. I’ll also show you how to use Google reviews SEO to improve your local rankings.

How to Use Google Reviews for Better Local SEO

According to a Review Trackers report, 63.6% of consumers say they are likely to check Google reviews (through Google Maps and Search) before visiting a business location — more than any other review site.”

Which Review Sites Do You Check Before Visiting a Business

(Source: Online Reviews Statistics and Trends: A 2021 Report by ReviewTrackers)

What are the benefits of local SEO?

Simply put, Local SEO is about helping your small business rank for specific services in a given geographic area. For example, when you search for “best chiropractor near me” or even “best chiropractor,” several will show up on the (SERPs) like this:

Google Search For "best chiropractor near me"

Google Search For best chiropractor near me

Source: Google Searches

The businesses listed in these results have optimized their websites for local SEO. Furthermore, by ranking higher, these establishments benefit from increased brand awareness, which leads to increased traffic and potential clients.

Local SEO is especially critical for brick-and-mortar businesses. Many shoppers look for local companies online before going to the store.

In 2016 Think With Google released a study entitled, “Mobile Shopping Trends and Consumer Behavior.” In it, they state that “76% of people who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a business within 24 hours and 28% of those searches result in a purchase.”

Now Local SEO is only for brick-and-mortar stores. Service area businesses can and should use this same strategy to target their ideal clientele in the specific locations and areas they service.

By focusing on a specific location using Local SEO, you can efficiently circumvent the competition and increase the visibility of your brand and services.

Leverage Customer Reviews for Local SEO

You may be asking yourself, what is the best way to leverage my customer reviews for local SEO strategy? Now that we better understand what local search engine optimization is and why your small business needs it, let’s look at using these online reviews to boost local SEO.

Create a Google Business Profile for Your Business

As you start working on your Google Business Profile (GBP), you may see references to Google My Business (GMB), which was referred to until recently.

Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land provides a bit of background on the change saying.

[that Google would be] renaming Google My Business to Google Business Profile, as it moves efforts to bring more of the business profile management out of the Google My Business app and directly into Google Search, Google Maps, and those respective apps.

(Source: Google My Business now known as Google Business Profile as Google migrates features to Maps and Search)

Regardless of what Google wants to call it, the bottom line is that setting up your GBP is most likely the simplest approach to use to help you get client reviews for local SEO strategy. It's also completely free.

Google Business Profile shows key details regarding your business. It may show your opening hours, location, services, etc.

The easily-accessible information makes it easier for prospective clients to engage with your business. And if you optimize your GBP listing correctly, the profile will attract more clients and raise your ranking on the SERPs.

So here are some tips on how to optimize your GBP listing:

  • Claim your profile
  • Include your contact details
  • Use high-quality images, logo, trucks, storefront, etc
  • Include any relevant keywords
  • Allow customers to message you
  • Choose the right business category
  • Use Google posts to keep your profile fresh and “clickable.”
  • Fill out every section

A Google Business Profile generates more client reviews and helps you utilize the existing reviews to attract clients and boost your rankings. So head over to Google Business Profile and set up your profile, or if you need help, I will be happy to help you for FREE!

Reviews Influence Your Google Ranking

Most small business owners realize the impact of reviews on conversions. Your prospective clientele are more likely to buy or engage services from your business if it has glowing ratings.

The Impact of Review Volume on Conversion Is More Really Better

(Source: The Impact of Review Volume on Conversion: Is More Really Better?)

What most small business owners may not realize is that reviews have a direct impact on your rankings. Google, like every other business, strives to provide the greatest possible user experience. So, why would they present a business with a high number of bad reviews when there is another alternative with a high number of positive ones?

Customer reviews indicate how satisfied buyers are with a company, and search engine algorithms understand this. As a result, companies with the most positive reviews have a massive advantage.

Other contributing factors include the overall diversity of sources, the number of reviews, and how recent the reviews are. Therefore, your local search engine ranking will increase if you have diverse reviews and attract lots of positive ones. Also, the newer they are, the better.

Do you require a certain number of reviews?

A 2018 research study conducted by Bright Local said that:

“Local businesses who rank in the top 3 positions in Google Local have an average of 47 Google Reviews.”

Average Number of Reviews for All Local Businesses With Google(Source: Google Reviews Study: How Many Reviews Do Local Businesses Need)

Unfortunately, reaching that number does not guarantee you a spot at the top.

According to the same study, the number of reviews of the top-ranking businesses differs by industry. Restaurants, for example, had an average of 220 Google reviews, but plumbers had only 31, and landscaping only had five.

avg number of google reviews by industry

The above chart shows the average number of Google My Business [Google Business Profile] reviews for each industry, including businesses that do not have any reviews.

(Source: Google Reviews Study: How Many Reviews Do Local Businesses Need?)

As a result, there is no magic number that will ensure you the top spot. However, the more positive reviews you get, the more likely you are to beat your competitors.

Does it matter if you reply to reviews?

In a 2018 study published by the Harvard Business School, Replying to Customer Reviews Results in Better Ratings, they found that responding to reviews both positive or negative correlated with a higher overall star rating.

Google even says:

Respond to reviews that users leave about your business. When you reply to reviews, it shows that you value your customers and their feedback. High-quality, positive reviews from your customers can improve your business visibility and increase the likelihood of a shopper visiting your location.

(Source: How to improve your local ranking on Google)

So does it matter if you reply to reviews? Yes, it does!

Aside from improving your local rating, responding to reviews is a terrific way to engage your clients and earn their trust.

So, if a client provides feedback, express your gratitude. When you receive a negative review, apologize and demonstrate your dedication to resolving the issue.

Make Use of User-Generated Content on Review Websites

User-generated content (UGC) is essential in so many ways. For starters, UGC may help your SEO efforts, especially if your clients use important keywords and keyword phrases in their reviews.

Suppose you’re running a fly fishing guide service, and you have multiple delighted clients talking about “best fly fishing guides in <blank area>,” “best guide service,” “the most trout I have ever caught,” etc., on TripAdvisor or Google Business Profile. That’s good for your SEO as it provides positive and fresh content for search engines. Also, it helps to increase your brand visitability overall.

Second, UGC provides genuine social proof, which can increase your conversion rate. Consider bringing in third-party reviews such as Yelp or Trip Advisor into your landing pages to illustrate what other clients have to say about your products or services. Positive feedback will persuade skeptical visitors that your goods and services are genuine.

Client insights and keywords can also be found in user-generated content. Going through the reviews might uncover common words or phrases among your target market. You can then use these keywords and keyword phrases to help improve the content of your small business website.

Use Schema Markup

Schema Markup or structured data is a plugin or code that is added to your website to help search engines understand the contents on that page. After understanding the contents, search engines will display it to users in a more appealing and digestible way.

This helps make it easier for your potential clientele to find all the information they need on the SERPs. As a result, it raises the likelihood of attracting additional clients.

The local business schema markup is intended solely for local businesses. The codes display information such as a restaurant menu, your store's geographic location, business hours, aggregate reviews, and customer review snippets.

Gather Reviews From Local Authority Websites

Lastly, you will want to get reviews from the authoritative websites in your local area. An authoritative website will typically have a high domain authority (DA). The higher the DA generally, the more trusted they are by the search engines. As a result, getting your website mentioned and linked from these sites will significantly boost your rankings.

Use tools like aHrefs, Moz, or SEMRush, or your own experience to identify the top sites in your area.

These mentions and backlinks will lead potential clients to your website in addition to improving your local search rating.

Final Thoughts

Customer reviews are essential, especially for your business's SEO and bottom line. The more positive and diversified your reviews, the better your business's ranking and the more clients you'll attract.

As a result, encourage your consumers to submit positive reviews for your business. You can accomplish this by making it easy for people to review your store, i.e., making the procedure quick and straightforward. Of course, you should provide excellent services in order to receive positive reviews.

As the number of reviews grows, utilize the above guidelines to put them to good use.

Also, keep in mind that positive customer reviews will not immediately boost your local rankings. Like with any other SEO strategy, it takes time to produce results. But with a bit of patience, you will be able to rise to the top.

Chad Treadway

Written by:  |  December 3, 2021

Chad is a Partner and our Chief Smarketing Officer. He will help you survey your small business needs, educating you on your options before suggesting any solution. Chad is passionate about rural marketing in the United States and North Carolina. He also has several certifications through HubSpot to better assist you with your internet and inbound marketing.

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