Do Google local reviews Improve Search Engine Rankings?
What are Google Local reviews and do they Improve Search Engine Ranking?
Google local reviews are local business reviews customers leave to reflect on their past experiences with your business. These local business reviews combined with information displayed on Google Places and the volume and consistency of local citations, can improve search engine ranking on Google Places (now My Maps).
Let’s check out an example to see if reviews do play a part in helping to improve search engine ranking. Pay particular attention to the gold stars and the number of reviews (indicated in the parentheses parallel to the stars).
Gold stars are eye catching, aren’t they?
So, here’s one of our clients:
See who’s at the top of the local pack?
That’s right. It’s our favourite hypnotherapist: Elliott Davenport!
Can’t you see?
The proof’s right in front of you.
I do get it. There’s a very small possibility that you may not believe me yet. So I did some research for you which should help in putting your mind at ease that Google local reviews do help improve search engine ranking.
Evidence supporting Google local reviews help improve search engine ranking
The most important piece of evidence I came across in proving Google local reviews improve search engine ranking locally has got to be Google themselves publishing that Prominence (how well a business is known) and a local search ranking factor, is influenced by the overall count and score of Google local reviews.
Google stated that more Google local reviews and positive local business reviews will improve search engine rankings in local search. Just to make believing all of this easier, read that here.
What’s more is that a local SEO report by Moz insisted local business reviews and Google local reviews are among the seven most influential factors in determining the position a business will appear in Google’s local search results.
If by chance you’re a nerd like myself, read it on the local search ranking factors published by Moz.
Search Engine Journal has also posted about this and given how credible a source they are, I think it’s justified to list this fact alone as my third point in why I believe you should start utilising Google local reviews to improve search engine rankings for your business.
Page visitors who see online reviews convert at a rate of 58 percent greater than visitors who don’t.
Local business reviews are a very big deal for your business!
How to get more reviews and improve your SERP position
This is the part many business owners may struggle with. Not to worry; it doesn’t need to be difficult.
In fact if you’ve made it this far then this may just be where the fun begins!
My first idea on how businesses can increase Google local reviews is inspired by a book I read.
If you haven’t read it already, I highly recommend you do!
Let’s take a look at this image and learn an easy way to get more local business reviews for your business to improve search engine ranking:
Credit for this wonderful image goes to QuickTapSurvey
For me, if I were a business owner I would definitely target reciprocity when trying to get Google local reviews for my business’ website.
Reciprocity is the idea that an individual receives something and feels obliged to give something in return.
People may even feel guilty over not giving something in return!
We see it all the time.
Think Christmas.. The kind scouts who pack our shopping in supermarkets and then ask for a small donation.. The musicians who perform on Lord Street and you enjoy their music so much you put money in their donation box… and the person who offers you a ‘free’ can of Coca Cola before asking you to purchase a raffle ticket worth triple the cost of your drink.
So let’s apply this idea to getting your business some more Google local reviews:
- Give a customer X discount, then ask for a review once you do a brilliant job!
- Give a customer extra X then ask for a local business review.
- Make a customer feel amazing then ask for a Google local review.
- Share local business reviews on your social media and tag / mention your loyal customer to make him or her feel valued. Who doesn’t like feeling valued?
Your business should be making these efforts anyway to succeed in 2016.
However, this is your way of benefiting even further from your hard work.
And why shouldn’t you?
Now the goal here is not to haggle with your customers.
To be honest, most of your customers will do local without you bartering with them.
We could just leave it to fate and see what happens with your Google local reviews but if you want to dominate local search results, you should spare a few minutes at the end of each customer interaction to get more Google local reviews. It’s all about control!
What’s more, when executed correctly – reciprocation can improve your brand perception!
Ever heard of social proof? It’s also known as consensus – when a majority of people are in agreement on something – another principle discussed in the book I’ve mentioned.
So if your business has lots of local business reviews where customers can see them, said customers are more likely to also leave Google local reviews of your business – so your reviews snowball!
Think back to our example at the beginning of this blog post.
Remember how none of the other websites in the local pack had any gold stars and how those very same stars gain users’ trust and catch their eyes?
I believe we can apply the idea of scarcity to this.
People want what is scarce because not many others can have it, so when they see a business with lots of stars and reviews alongside many business with very little or even no local business reviews; that business appears to be scarce and as a result, more desirable to interact and engage with!
So there you have it: more information on how Google local reviews increase searching rankings, the benefits of Google local reviews, how to get a higher number of Google local reviews for your business, and even the psychology behind users’ interactions with Google local reviews.
I have one more thing I’d like to discuss before I wrap this post up and I feel it’s so important!
And I’m only going to tell you about this because you’re looking to improve search engine ranking with local business reviews, aren’t you?
You must remember there’s other sources of local business reviews out there.
Now we’ve covered most of what we need to know about Google local reviews, there are other sources of local business reviews which offer a wealth of untapped potential in dominating Google’s search engine results.
We accept that the more relevant keywords you rank for, the more leads and enquiries you can potentially receive. You know there’s only one way this is going if you’re in business!
I just searched for ‘best Mexican Restaurants Liverpool’ and this is what Google told me was the best information to answer my search query:
Positions 1, 2 and 5 are occupied solely by websites driven by local business reviews that are free for you to register your business on! Where are the businesses’ websites? Where’s the high competition websites you’re supposed to be competing against!?
In the past, we’ve mentioned throughout various posts it’s adamant you go to the effort of getting your business listed on trusted, local directory websites like:
You get the point, right?
Not only are these websites a great way to improve search engine ranking in local search results through an increased volume and similarity of your business’ citations (Name, Address, Phone) leading to higher Prominence in the eyes of the big G; the profile and review pages of these trusted directories are also great ways to occupy even more space on Google’s SERP.
It’s a really great way to boost leads, enquiries and sales.
Aside from that, Let me reiterate: please ensure your citations are consistent!
Just imagine that figure in GBP!
So don’t simply push for Google local reviews: think about earning more local business reviews on trusted website directories based in your location and nation.
This is probably the point you begin to realise just how much time this can eat up and head over to our contact page.. Or pick up your phone and dial our number at the top of this page!
If not then let’s finish this post with a final conclusion!
I dream of backlinks but you need to use Google local reviews to improve search engine ranking!
Before I get back to getting more local business reviews for our clients, here’s a list on where I believe you should go from here.
- Get listed on Google My Business if you aren’t already.
- Be thorough and detailed in your profile information.
- Get registered on trusted, relevant business directories.
- Make sure all your NAPs are consistent and full.
- Develop a strategy for getting more Google local reviews.
- Get out there and start earning your spot at the top of Google (unless you’re like our client ‘The Liverpool Carpet Cleaner’ because he pretty much dominates the first page of Google!)
Let me be totally honest with you as I finish this post.
SEO isn’t for the faint of heart! It can be very tricky.
We have over 20 years’ SEO experience and a team dedicated solely to attracting targeted audiences to our clients’ websites, and focused fully on converting those laser targeted visitors into loyal customers who will improve your business’ bottom line.
So don’t give up! Be patient, persist… and results will follow.
If the results don’t come, well Pete Duffy is always here for you to call on 0151 329 2988 for SEO help and guidance to get your business higher on Google Places listings. It all starts with using Google local reviews to improve search engine ranking!