Local SEO reviews have been a vital element in every local marketer and business owner’s toolbox for the past few years.
There are more review sites than ever before, and consumers increasingly write and reference reviews. Many studies conducted in recent years determine how negative and positive reviews affect business popularity, sales, product awareness, and profitability.
Reviews can help consumers decide what products or services to buy, where to travel, and where to eat. For this reason, online reputation management has become more critical than ever as reviews have gradually become an integral part of online businesses.
Today, reviews have begun to influence search engine algorithms, impacting both search results for general and local searches. It is essential to understand the importance of reviews in local SEO when devising a strategy that will put a business on top of digital competition.
How Reviews Affect Local SEO Ranking
Everyone knows that SEO and reviews are closely related as they share the same goal.
Search engines want to make it easy for users to find the best product, service, or information quickly. SEO reviews help customers find the right local business by separating the good from the bad.
A survey found that reviews are a significant factor in 16% of search engine decision-making for local SEO. But this is not all; there are many tangible benefits of reviews in improving local SEO ranking:
- Think of local SEO reviews as crowd-sourced recommendations. Research found that seven out of 10 customers trust online reviews.
- Four- to five-star Google reviews increase click-through and lead to more traffic, encouraging business growth.
- High reviews on your website mean that Google trusts you more, allowing for better SEO rankings.
- A Harvard study shows that a one-star increase in Yelp ranking can result in a 5-9% rise in sales.
Local SEO Review as an Essential Ranking Factor
Google score and review count are factors in local search ranking. More local SEO reviews and positive ratings can improve a business’s local ranking.
However, a high ranking is not only determined by your overall SEO rating. Google considers many review signals when determining search ranking. Here are review signals essential to consider when optimizing your business for search engines:
You should ensure that your website is receiving a steady stream of reviews. While it’s great to have collected a lot of reviews from last year, it is much better to have a lot of reviews coming frequently.
Customers tend to be more interested in recent content than in old content. They assume that people change over time, and businesses also do so. According to the Search Engine Journal, 85% of customers think reviews older than three months are irrelevant.
There are many review sites on the Internet. While monitoring and managing reviews from multiple sources can be overwhelming, it can help to have reviews from different sources.
You also might consider getting reviews on sites specific to your brand niche. Simply put, your business will be found in the local search results if it has received many positive reviews across multiple review platforms.
Your chances of being ranked high improve if you have more local SEO reviews. Customers will usually look at a minimum of 10 reviews before deciding whether a business is trustworthy. This means that customers look for patterns in a collection of reviews and not just one or two negative experiences.
If you’re looking to increase your review volume, ask your loyal customers and encourage your new customers to leave positive feedback on your website, GMB profile, and other review platforms.
Local SEO Guide: Optimizing Website for Local Searches
Optimizing for local searches is becoming increasingly difficult. According to Moz, 71% of clicks are made on the first page of Google search results. Businesses must appear on these must appear on the first search engine results page to maximize visibility online.
However, page 1 is even smaller than before. With mobile searches being more popular than desktop searches, customers typically only see the top three local search results, known as “local pack results.”
Being part of the local pack is crucial to attracting more customers online. Customers tend to choose the local pack results and not scroll any further.
Fortunately, there are many ways to improve the SEO profile of your website, and getting reviews from locals is one of the most potent ways to get more business and traffic from people around you.
Making Local SEO Reviews Work for Your Business
Google reviews, local SEO, local promotion, and social proof are great ways to boost your website’s online visibility. When combined with word-of-mouth and current events around the globe, local SEO review can be a powerful indicator of your company’s health.
With all that being said, how can you make reviews work for your local SEO strategy? Here’s a comprehensive local SEO guide to get you started:
1. Leverage Google My Business Profile
As it is the easiest way to increase brand awareness, a Google My Business (GMB) listing should be on top of every business’s local SEO guide. Your visibility on Google Search improves when you optimize and maintain your GMB listing.
According to a study, only 44% of businesses claimed their Google My Business profiles. If you’re on the fence on how to do local SEO, start by claiming your Google My Business profile by adding detailed information and high-definition photos of your business. This tip will make you and your business more trustworthy to Google’s algorithm.
2. Utilize Keywords from User-Generated Content
Google reviews are an example of user-generated content that customers can use to discover your business. Reviews such as these are full of the things Google loves: fresh content, images published at authoritative sites such as TripAdvisor and Facebook, and relevant keywords.
Relevant keywords from user-generated content often provide insight into how customers found your site. You can leverage these when conducting keyword research for your website content.
3. Embed Customer Reviews on Your Website
Search engines love fresh, relevant content like user reviews. Why not include them on your website?
Your business will look more credible to visitors if you have a live review stream on your website. Displaying review feeds on your website is a way to demonstrate social proof, just like sharing reviews on social media. Visitors can instantly see how your business serves other customers.
4. Focus on Authoritative Review Sites
Review diversity is one of the elements that Google considers when ranking businesses and services in search results. This means that you should track local SEO reviews from multiple sites and not just one.
Keep an eye out for review sites that are relevant to your industry. You can try searching for a term related to your industry on Google. When you see a drop-down option to the right of the relevant results, click on the button leading to similar links.
Customers looking at these industry-specific review websites are likely to make a purchase. These customers have an idea of what they want, but they need to decide between several options.
5. Activate Google Seller Rating
How to do local SEO and take it to the next level? On your paid Google search ads, you can enable Google Seller Ratings, letting potential customers see the other’s ratings of your products.
Google Seller ratings can make your ad campaigns easier. A higher SEO rating means higher click-through rates, lower costs per click, and, of course, more customers.
Your business must meet some requirements to be eligible for Google Seller Ratings. You must have at least 100 reviews in your country within the past 12 months and a minimum of 3.5 stars for your business.
Since this review requirement applies to all campaigns, you need to keep your seller ratings high by having a steady stream of Google reviews, making it more critical to solicit reviews from customers.
6. Ensure Consistent Listings on Other Sites
Although SEO review signals are essential for Google to determine local search rankings, they’re not the only thing that matters. Citation signals are another important factor. Citation signals refer to consistent listings of your business on different websites, including your name, address, phone number, and the link to your website.
Search engines will not trust businesses with outdated or conflicting listings on other websites. This can lead to a decrease in search rankings for your business and, ultimately, a drop in the number of customers who can find your business.
Bright Local found that 68% of customers would abandon a local business if they discovered incorrect information online. You can use online listing tools to consistently make updates on your business details to prevent any damage to your online reputation and visibility score.
7. Make Use of Social Media
If prospects see proof of your brand’s reliability and quality, they are more likely to choose your business over your competitors. Sharing customer reviews on your social media channels is a great way to showcase your business potential and what you can offer.
Customers aren’t the only ones paying attention to social mentions. Google may soon determine the popularity and reach of your website by looking at what other people have said about you on social media.
Executing Local SEO efforts is more important than ever.
At Advanced Digital Media Services, our team of experts can help you catch up and even exceed the local competition in SERPs. From managing your GMB profile, optimizing your websites, and publishing quality content, our SEO services are designed to help your business gain more local exposure, loyal customers, and eventually higher revenues. Call our team today!