Historically, businesses relied on word-of-mouth reviews to grow their business. While word-of-mouth advertising still matters, more and more consumers are turning to Amazon and Google reviews before deciding whether to click on a search result or to purchase a new product or service. The importance of Google reviews has been growing steadily over the last several years and now small businesses should be aware that there is a strong connection between reviews and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). According to the Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, review signals made up 16% of the search engine decision-making process for local pack rankings (relevance, distance, and prominence) in 2019; up from 13% in 2018.
Why Google Reviews are Important for Conversions and SEO in 2021
Not only do lots of 5-star Google reviews help to convert shoppers into paying customers, they can have a big influence on whether someone clicks through to your website or product page in the first place. Customers can easily compare Google review ratings on Google Maps results and are likely to choose the business with the higher rating because they see that business or product as more trustworthy than a competitor with a lower rating. Google ratings and reviews can help to drive more traffic to your site because consumers trust reviews and because Google favors sites with high Google-ratings. According to qualtrics.com, 93% of customers read online reviews before buying a product. In addition, 91% of people between 18-34 years of age trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, and 93% of consumers say that online reviews influenced their purchase decisions. The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter how good your products are, without online reviews you will not be competitive in an online environment.
A search engine’s customers are the people searching for your product, service or information. Since Google’s customers are their priority, they place value on customer feedback in the form of Google reviews. Essentially, reviews are one type of user-generated content that search engines take into consideration when deciding how to rank websites. A 2016 study of 30,000 online businesses found that their SEO rankings improved dramatically as a direct result of earning more customer reviews.
Reviews help business show up in Google Maps:
One of the first sections of results that appears in a Google search is Google Maps. Each of the three businesses displayed in the maps section show their Google rating and there is evidence that the highest-rated businesses are the ones chosen to appear in one of those sought-after three spots.
Reviews help businesses show up in mobile searches:
Google wants to display top-rated results first to increase their users’ satisfaction. These days, the majority of searches are made on mobile devices and Google uses the average ratings and review counts in its mobile search display results.
Reviews can help your website rank for long-tail keywords:
Long-tail keywords are phrases or a string of three or four words – instead of individual words- that searchers use to narrow or modify their search results. Generally, long-tail keywords have low search competition, which makes it easier to get them to rank when they are used wisely. Looking at the words that customers leave in their reviews can give businesses clues about long-tail keywords relevant to their business. For example, a reviewer may say “this is the best natural deodorant I have ever used” and “best natural deodorant” may be a very effective long-tail keyword.
Softwired SEO Services
If you’re a small business owner fighting to compete in search engine results, we can help! Contact us today for help increasing and managing Google reviews and carefully optimizing your site in order to drive local traffic.