Over the past years, customer reviews have become non-negotiable to local businesses and marketers. It has a big impact on people, influencing approximately 66% of customer’s purchasing decisions. It helps them decide which products and services to avail, which places to travel to, or which restaurants to go to.
Now that people have transformed how they do business, word-of-mouth has been heavily digitized in the shape of online reviews.
Because of that, online reviews have grown exponentially and become an integral part of strengthening every local business’ online reputation management.
Reviews have grown so important that it starts to infiltrate search engine algorithms and affect the results of search rankings locally and generally. With this, the power of reviews to your local search engine optimization (SEO) can’t be underestimated.
Online reviews have plenty of benefits especially to your local SEO, it levels the playing field of your local SEO and even helps attract more clients.
In this article, we’ll discuss why online reviews matter and how online reviews impact your local SEO.
Why Do Online Reviews Matter?
Local businesses are experiencing a list of crises today — that includes the change of customer behaviour. It’s more challenging for marketers to attract and acquire customers due to the high competition. As a local business, you need to thrive hard and go where your customers are. So, ask yourself this — if clients don’t listen to your marketing efforts, who do they listen to?
The answer is — Other customers. Before making a purchasing decision, 92% of customers turn to online reviews. So, even when your marketing and sales pitch are not working, people still trust customer reviews. If you’re a local business owner, all you need to do is empower your customers to write reviews on your online platform and spread the word. Learn and train with us how to respond to positive and negative reviews in a timely manner. In this way, you can communicate better with your customers and show that you care about them and their experience.
Benefits Of Online Reviews for Your Local Business
When your local business has 5-star reviews, people think you can be trusted. Meaning, customers would prefer to avail your products and services over your competitors.
- 5-star reviews will increase your clickthrough rates and deliver traffic to your site.
- 7 out of 10 customers trust online reviews making this a powerful word-of-mouth marketing tool to grow your local business.
- Having multiple positive reviews can convince customers to pay more money for your products and services.
Why Do Reviews Affect Your Local SEO?
Not only do customers trust reviews. Search engines like Google aim to give their users the best results for their online queries. To do this, Google takes into account what customers consider so as to determine the trustworthiness of a local business.
Search engines trust in word-of-mouth marketing. It uses reviews to assess the search position of a website. If your customers rely on online reviews to verify their purchase decisions, Google does the same.
In short, if customers trust reviews, search engines do too. When your website has excellent quality and quantity of reviews, Google will scan your site and position you in front of your potential prospects. Meaning, higher rankings on SERPs.
The search engine’s primary goal is to help its users find the right products, services, or information the fastest way possible. Reviews assist search engines to separate good products or services from bad ones and bring customers the best local business they need.
For example, when a user from Vaughan searches on Google for a divorce lawyer near them, there are 3 main factors that will affect the rankings of the sites displayed. Relevance, distance, and prominence. Reviews fall in prominence. If a law firm has highly rated reviews it can outrank a closer local competitor (given that they have fewer positive reviews or ratings).
Let’s dive deeper into how reviews benefit your Local SEO.
How Can Online Reviews Benefit Your Local SEO?
There are 6 unique ways that online reviews will benefit your local SEO:
1. Drives Traffic
When customers read online reviews, they tend to visit your website and check things out. Every time someone clicks your link from search engines, your website traffic increases. This also signals Google that your site is high quality, relevant, and credible, which will affect your local SEO ranking.
Additionally, having numerous positive reviews can improve your click-through rate and increase the number of clicks to your website. As a result, more and more people will visit your site and learn about your business.
2. Builds Trust
As mentioned, Google values and trusts what other people say about your website more than what you want to say about your local business. Sure, you can place “unmarry or divorce mediation in Vaughan” on your site but when customers freely have the same opinion and write it as reviews, that counts more for search engines. For that reason, search engine algorithms reward your site with a higher rank, which helps your local SEO do its job.
3. Informs Google
It’s necessary to have rich and detailed descriptions on your website for a good local SEO pitch. This makes it easier for search engines to scan your site then putting you in front of your potential customers.
Your online reviews will inform search engine bots what your website is about and can even fill in the gaps. For instance, if your local business is a digital marketing firm and your website neglects to mention that you offer website development in Toronto, all of your web development reviews who appreciated your services may help signal search engines the relevance of your website to searchers.
4. Communicate with Your Customer
Another benefit of online reviews to your local SEO is communication. When you encourage customers to write reviews, you can establish a dialogue with them by responding to their reviews. Doing this will help customers have a positive experience with your business and even increase the likelihood of getting them to return.
When search engines like Google see that your website is actively communicating to your customers, it gives them added insight into your business. So, next time someone searches for your business, Google will keep you in mind.
5. Helps Build Brand Awareness
By generating excellent online reviews from customers, you’re also boosting your online exposure. When plenty of customers hear your name, they easily recognize and remember your local business. This will keep you on top of your customer’s minds when they’re ready to make a purchase. Online reviews can help your local SEO improve brand awareness. So, make sure you encourage your customers to leave great ones.
6. Impresses Human Quality Control Team
According to search engine marketing consultants, strong reviews make a valuable local SEO tool because it impresses not only search engine automated bots but also the human evaluation teams. In evaluating a website’s reputation, the team, or also called search quality users, will look for aspects like truth, authority, and expertise (through online reviews) to check the legitimacy of a website. When they find that your site has these aspects, you’ll earn a better result for your local SEO efforts.
It is simple. Online reviews can drive your results, especially on your local SEO. If you’re not encouraging your customers to write online reviews for you, you’re missing out on several advantages.