Many different factors can influence your search engine ranking, and businesses around the world spend time and money working on their SEO rankings through advertising, web design and more. However, one thing is often forgotten when it comes to SEO—reviews! The reviews that your business receives can influence where Google decides to rank your company. How exactly do Google reviews impact SEO rankings and how can you ensure that you are taking advantage of them?
How Do Google Reviews Impact SEO Rankings?
Google wants to give its users content that is relevant and high quality so that the users keep coming back. When determining what content is useful, one of the many things that they look at is the experience that existing users of the website or brand are having. Just like your customers might read reviews of a product online before actually making the purpose, Google wants to look through reviews of you to ensure that you are trustworthy and deserving of a high ranking spot.
Reviews are particularly important when it comes to local search. When you’re trying to find a local auto repair shop or great Italian restaurant and you type your search into Google, there are three core factors that influence what shows up: relevance, distance and prominence. Google will first try to determine what places are relevant. This is why when you search for pizza, you won’t get top results from a Mexican restaurant or Thai restaurant. Next, Google will consider the distance between the search results and the searcher. If you type in “best car repair Washington, D.C.” Google wants to ensure that the first results aren’t from Takoma Park or somewhere close to D.C. that isn’t quite the same. Finally, prominence is where reviews come into play. A restaurant with a large amount of authentic positive reviews is likely to be ranked above another similar restaurant that doesn’t have many reviews or that has a much more mixed array of reviews.
How Much Do Google Reviews Impact SEO Rankings?
Beyond impacting local search, reviews can also impact your ranking in general. They are the fifth most important parameter that determines where your business will be ranked, and as reviews become even more popular and critical that might even rise. The good news is that you can easily connect your account through an optimized Google listing that can improve search visibility and give you a competitive edge. There are also tools that you can use to drive your customers towards your Google business listing and get those elusive five-star reviews many businesses work hard to get.
How Does Reputation Management Come Into Play?
Some businesses worry about encouraging users to leave reviews because they think that a single negative review will do a great deal of damage. However, Google looks at both quality and quantity of reviews. Every restaurant with a great ranking has a couple of poor reviews that are buried by positive reviews. Make sure that you have a reputation management plan in place so that you know how to respond to bad reviews when they occur. Google always takes time to verify the authenticity and diversity of reviews before they decide to lower your search ranking as a result. This means that a single IP address leaving multiple negative reviews on different accounts or a bunch of new accounts created solely to leave bad reviews of your business are much less likely to impact your ranking than they would be on another platform, like Yelp.
How Can You Get More Google Reviews?
- Ask customers to leave a review on Google when they leave your business or at the conclusion of their appointment. Many people are more than happy to take a few moments to do so, and most businesses never think to ask. When you are on the phone with a happy customer or your client just expressed their gratitude, ask for the quick favor of a great review.
- As part of your regular follow-up marketing, including a link to leave a Google review in the email. Thank your customer for choosing you, express your gratitude for their feedback and let them know that their opinion matters a great deal. Close the email with a link to your Google page so that they can easily leave a review.
- Include a request for Google reviews on your marketing materials, like on your business cards or on a brochure with tips to maintain your products that you offer your customers.
- When designing your website, consider adding a place where customers can click to leave a review on Google. When someone clicks your custom link, they will be able to quickly and easily leave a review of your business.
- When you get a bad review, don’t be afraid to respond. Never attack the client or state a bunch of excuses. Instead, accept responsibility, offer to make things right and promise to correct the problem so that it doesn’t occur again in the future. This way, future customers who see the negative review will also see that you don’t shy away from criticism. In many ways, the way that you respond to negative reviews is far more important than the reviews themselves.
- Offer great customer service. Going above and beyond naturally makes your customers want to give you a positive review, so doing a good job can get you great reviews without even trying.
We Are Here to Help Grow Your Business Online and Through Google Search
Working with a professional digital marketing company is the best way to make the most of your website and all that Facebook Pixel, LinkedIn ads, Google Analytics and other digital advertising platforms have to offer. To learn more about the best digital marketing strategies for your company and reach a bigger audience than ever before, work with Gauge Digital Media. For a quote or to schedule a call, contact us at (443) 201-7709.