The role of Online Customer Reviews on Local Search
It is important to note that certain aspects of review signals are used by search engines as the main ranking factors for local organic results. These include:
- Your website’s numerical ranking
- The number of reviews your business has
- The authority of the users writing reviews about your business
- The speed at which users generate reviews related to your business
- The diversity or number of sites that have your business reviews
This is how online reviews are significant! In fact, review signals are valued than social signals by search engines. Recently, Google made it clear that online customer reviews play a crucial role in local search engines.
Why online Reviews Work
Simply put, it boils down to the power of social proof. Consumers need a reassurance that they are making the right decision or taking the right action. So whenever consumers are planning to buy a given product, seeing a positive review give them the needed extra push. For a local restaurant search, for instance, an average score of 4.5+ stars from 500+ reviews will make consumers assume that it is a safe choice. There are many statistics around online customer reviews but the most important to keep in mind is that they are widely used and relied upon by a huge number of web users.
Improving your business local search rankings through online customer reviews
1. Claim your presence in Google My Business
One of the first steps of improving your local search rankings is ensuring that your business is listed on Google, and particularly on Google My Business. It is a great way of optimizing your local search.
2. Add reviews to your business website
Online consumer reviews are often considered by search engines as dynamic content, and can go a long way in boosting your SEO. What’s more, reviews will encourage user interaction which in turn boosts their shopping confidence.
3. Keep your local data and NAP consistent
Endeavor to always provide consistent and accurate business information (name, address, and position—NAP) when updating your listings. Inconsistent information can negatively impact your local search results as search engines will not give your business its deserved high ranking position in local search results.
4. List your Business in relevant review sites
Once you’ve listed your business on Google my Business, generate presence in review sites that are relevant to your industry. Cityserach, facebook, Yelp, and TripAdvisor are some of the common listings that you can begin with. Creating your business listing in relevant review sites is a way of informing common search engines that your business exist and is active in the local search arena.
5. Share reviews on social media
As aforementioned, consumers tend to trust reviews than organic search engine results and other promotional posts on social media. So whenever you receive a 5-star review share it—it will generate more trust among your clients.
6. Don’t shun negative reviews
Responding to both positive and negative reviews is a way of telling your clients that your business is listening to their concerns and feedback. It also create for your business fresh content which when crawled by search engines will drive more engagement.
Online reviews remain crucial factors when it comes to local search rankings by search engines. Although search strategies are dynamic and are constantly evolving, as long as your business understands and speaks the language of your consumers, online reviews will benefit immensely your search rankings and performance in the long term.