There are countless factors that are actively influencing your Google rankings and it’s hard to keep up. Local SEO reviews, including testimonials and social media comments, are crucial indicators that reflect your customers’ sentiments about your business.
Take control of your local reputation as we look at how reviews are important in helping your business and SEO efforts.
What are local SEO reviews?
Reviews refer to a testimonial or review that was given by a customer about your business, and published online. It’s always good to have positive reviews of your business, but keep in mind that not every review will help to improve your SEO. Only reviews published in certain locations will help your site’s rankings.
Improving local search results means you need to have local reviews published about your business. One of the most important places to publish these reviews is on your local Google+ page. After this, other sites like Yelp or Yell are also great options that carry a lot of weight. You should aim to have as many positive reviews as possible published on these pages to help boost your local SEO rankings.
Customers can also leave reviews about your business on other platforms like social media, blogs and business forums. But these entries will have little effect on your SEO as they are not included in Google’s search algorithms. But they are not completely irrelevant; potential customers will still read them.
Reviews are typically a short overview of a customer’s experience working with your business. It can often also be accompanied by a rating, a score out of 10 is an example. Reviews with a score and written content will carry more weight than simply a score rating alone.
The importance of local reviews
Local reviews of your business is important for many reasons. They affect your Google ranking within local search results and this in turn, will affect whether a visitor clicks on your link or not. This will have a direct influence on their decision to purchase your goods or services.
Reviews are almost just as important as backlinks for your local SEO strategy.
Keep in mind that even if you rank on top of search engine results, users may still choose to click on a competitor’s website if they have more reviews published. People want to know that they choose a reliable business or product and reading reviews will give them that peace of mind. If many users rate your business as excellent, it indicates that you can be trusted. This minimises the risk of working with you, which is what a user looks for.
Google+ local reviews
Google places a lot of value on local reviews published on your Google+ page. Google feels that these results can be trusted more than others published on a range of third party sites. When your business shows up in Google’s search results, it will show the number of reviews your business has received just under your listing. However, the average rating that Google shows up may not be the exact mean average, and lots of small businesses complain about having 4.8 averages from eight 5 star reviews, as an example.
This is because it is very difficult for Google to compare between a business with fifty 5 star reviews and a couple of 3 stars, and a business with ten 5 star reviews. It can be assumed that eventually the second business will get some worse reviews, and Google tries to anticipate this by extrapolating and weighting the mean with the number of reviews. What can you do as a small business to get around this? Not very much unfortunately, other than keep encouraging your customers to leave reviews, and increasing the number of reviews you have. As the number of reviews increases, Google’s algorithm will give a truer mean, and will extrapolate less.
If you do feel that you’ve received an unfair rating, you can flag the review. Reviews on your Google+ page are sorted by default in order of how ‘helpful’ or relevant they are. Google uses a number of aspects to rank this, including the length of the review and how many people have indicated that it’s helpful.
Getting more positive reviews
There are many ways in which you can get more reviews for your business. Here are a few ideas that you can keep in mind:
Ask your existing customers to leave a review
Send a message to your social media connections and ask if they can review your business
Add a link to your website where people can leave a review
List a review link URL on your business cards and stationery
Some businesses will naturally get reviewed more than others, so you cannot always compare the number of reviews you get with other businesses. It depends on the industry you are in, and the location you operate in. And also remember that not all businesses have customers that use the internet.
You should aim to get as many honest reviews as you can, on an ongoing basis. There is no set number of reviews that will help your SEO ranking, as this is determined by various factors. After your request, follow up in a few days’ time to see if you can get people to submit a review on Google+ for your business. It’s a great way to boost your SEO and also improve your trustworthiness online.