Role of online reviews in boosting the Local SEO


Being a marketer, you know that your reputation is an invaluable asset. What people say about your business online and offline matters a lot. The business owners must monitor online reviews from their customers. “It may seem to be an irrational job, but online reviews play a significant role in improving your local listings on SERP”, as said by a Digital Marketing Agency Tulsa.

This SEO agency also revealed that online reviews are like a small piece of a bigger picture helping businesses create an impeccable online presence. Most importantly, the new customers rely on review websites while deciding what products or services to buy. Around 93% of customers have agreed that their buying decisions are influenced by the online reviews they read.

This is the reason why online reviews are really important. Any business whether online or offline should have online reviews to boost the local SEO. If your business is listed at the top on SERP, you will get more views that will ultimately attract more customers. But how this will happen? Here is when online reviews have their impact on local SEO.

Before we move further, it is imperative for you to understand what local SEO is.

So, what is Local SEO?

Local SEO is one of the best strategies a business can adapt to increase its local online presence. It helps a business to promote their services and products to local customers when they are looking for it. It involves a lot of tactics (online reviews being the most effective one) to get your business listed on top of SERP and business directories.

But, you will be overwhelmed by the fact that most of the businesses are still not aware of Local SEO and its benefits. This lack of awareness is affecting them without their knowledge and giving an edge to their competitors who are using the local SEO services offered by an SEO & digital marketing agency. Though a few businesses have started realizing the importance of local SEO, there are still a number of them who are yet to come to the frame.

Millions of customers make local search every day to find the best local businesses in their locality. You can increase your visibility and get found by these potential customers if you choose to work with a reliable local SEO company that is capable of delivering great results. If you have an in-house SEO team, it’s an added benefit.

How customers use online reviews before coming to a decision?

Before we get insights on how online reviews impact the customers’ decision of buying a service/product, it is important to learn where exactly these reviews fit in the purchasing cycle for desired services and products.

When someone looks at a review website, that person has already figured out what exactly he/she will need and how a business will fulfill that need. The critical thing to note here is that there is a mental gap between reading a review and making a decision to buy a product/service – and most of the customers come to a decision almost immediately.

So, for a small business, online reputation is an important asset that can influence their bottom line. But the question is – how many customers actually read through the reviews? According to a recent survey, 84% of the shoppers agreed that they buy a product trusting online reviews rather than going with a personal recommendation from family or friends.

But exactly how many of them read the online reviews before making up their minds. The survey reported that about 68% of customers would read at least 4 or more reviews before they can trust a business completely.

One can clearly figure out how online reviews impact customer’s decision of choosing a product or service. This is the reason why businesses in most of the countries hire local search engine marketing companies to look after their online reputation and local SEO.

Why online reviews matter for Local SEO?

Most of the SEO Experts and internet marketers like Neil Patel, Amit Agarwal etc. have agreed upon the fact that online reviews can give a significant boost to local SEO of a business. It can help a business to improve rankings on search engines, boost user engagement rates, and can impact the purchasing decision of the consumer.

This makes online reviews critical to the local SEO strategy adopted by you. The citations and on-site optimization will work effectively together with online reviews. Moreover, these reviews can help in improving brand awareness and reputation.

The reviews websites provide most accurate information to the users and help them predict or make decisions on their purchases. So, your listing needs to be on top of these review websites. You need to attract more consumers and compel them to submit reviews either on Google Business Listing or on review websites like Yelp.

Once you have enough reviews and the customers have started making their decisions on those reviews, you will get the rank boost. Your listing will automatically be served on the top. The more reviews you get the more edge you get over your competitors. But ensure that your customers should submit the reviews on multiple review website so that you can rule the search engine results page.

This will significantly help you in improving the sales and direct more visitors to your website, which will ultimately give you a rank boost on search engines.

Important insights that will blow your mind

  • Top 3 listings in the Google’s local search results have 472% more reviews than the listings on 4-6. So, you need to be on one out of top 3 listings.
  • Top 3 Google Local Search Results have a higher number of Google reviews, nearly twice the number of reviews the next 3 results have.
  • Google’s local 3-pack contains the listing with most reviews at least 63% of the time.
  • A listing in top 3 Google local results has an average of 7.62 reviews as compared to 1.61 reviews in listings at the 4-6 position.

Not only positive, the negative reviews also help your Business

Not only the positive reviews, even the negative reviews help you in getting better rankings on search engines. According to Moz’s Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, the online reviews make up around 10% of how search engines like Google decide to rank your website on search results.

It takes a lot of time and hard work to launch a new product or service. Imagine a situation when you start getting too many negative reviews about your product instead of praises. You will be de-motivated and thinking about its impact on SEO.

Will these negative reviews suck all your life and money invested in the development of product or service? No, this will certainly not happen unless you have a poor search engine marketing strategy for promoting your product/service. One or two negative online reviews don’t have a power torpedo your business.

Instead, you should be happy when you start getting negative reviews with some positive feedbacks from your customers. We all want to see positive reviews; the bad ones are not that bad as you think. These negative reviews are equally important as are the positive reviews for your business.

When people make a search for a local business, search engines like Google return several results showing the stars local business has. Google even shows the reviews each business has got. Of course, no one understands exactly how much reviews help in Search Engine Optimization, the diverse array of opinions with a few negative reviews, helps the search engines to verify the legitimacy of a business.

A Harvard Business School Study revealed that consumers don’t actually read all the reviews about a business. If a business has 100 reviews or says just 20 reviews, there would be hardly anyone who will go through the last review. The consumers’ just want to see if a business has an engaged following before coming to a decision.

1. Negative Reviews Don’t Hurt SEO

The people behind the search engines like Google understand that no one is perfect. According to Google’s Internal SEO Guidelines, the website reviewers must keep in mind that even some of the best websites on the internet have bad reviews. The negative reviews shouldn’t be ignored, but you can stay assured that a few of them will not spoil your brand reputation.

2. Increases your Credibility

If the consumers see only positive reviews, they tend to get suspicious. Even the Journal of Vacation Marketing found that consumers tend to think that a negative review has more credibility than a positive review. The consumers like to see a mix of good, bad, and moderate reviews to identify the credibility of a business. This also helps you in improving the SEO of your business in the long run as consumers tend to spend more time reading your reviews.

3. Gives you an Opportunity to Build Relationship with your Customers

Of course, you will respond to the negative reviews of your customers. This gives you a chance to build long-term relationships with your customers. Moreover, you get to know the shortcomings of your product/service and can work on its improvement.

What if you are getting too many Negative reviews?

Are you getting too many negative reviews? This means that your product/service sucks. But if you have an awesome product and still there are too many negative reviews about your product, there is something fishy. Either your competitors are spoiling your brand reputation or a few customers who might not be happy with your product/services.

Here is when Online Reputation Management (ORM) comes into the picture. Most of the businesses are concerned about their online reputation. This is why they hire digital marketing agencies to look after their ORM.

The businesses can their self-take efforts to get more and more reviews from their happy customers either by sending survey forms or by asking them to do so on their Google Listing page. If there are too many negative reviews about your business, you are definitely losing too many customers. ORM will help you retaining your customers and attracting new customers to your business.

Is your business getting enough reviews?

Reviews are really important for a business and help it to boost sales, develop trust & credibility, and enhance overall SEO. You should work on getting more online reviews for your business. Hiring SEO services from a reputed SEO & digital marketing company can help you boost the local SEO and get more reviews for your product/service.

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