Getting reviews and ratings is a critical component of local SEO. They represent an outside opinion about your business and play a large role in consumer choice.

Online reviews are a new form of word-of-mouth that is amplified by the internet. They help your business build brand reputation and trust.

Increased Traffic

Before digital marketing took over, word of mouth was one of the most important ways businesses were found. A bad review could ruin a business’ reputation within the local community and beyond, leading to fewer customers and less revenue. Today, word of mouth has taken on a new form, and online reviews are the most powerful way to build a business’ reputation and attract customers.

Google has publicly stated that reviews are an important factor in determining local search rankings. However, it is not as clear as to what extent this factor matters. According to Moz, review signals (review quantity and diversity, as well as the velocity of reviews) account for 15% of local pack rank. The best way to increase your local search visibility is by ensuring that you are getting enough reviews on a consistent basis.

The majority of the time, search engine users will look at multiple sources to evaluate a local business before making a purchasing decision. This includes searching on Google, evaluating social media pages, checking business directories and other third-party sites. This means that, while website content is still a significant factor, other factors like Google My Business, citations and reviews are more influential in the ranking process.

When a potential customer sees that your local business has high ratings and reviews, it will make them more likely to click through to your website or give you a call. This is a critical step in the sales funnel, and it can lead to more leads and more conversions.

Reviews also play a role in your visibility in the Google Maps Carousel. This is a section that shows the top three most relevant businesses in the local results, and it has been found that there is a strong correlation between number of reviews and the likelihood of your business showing up in this section.

Regardless of whether your business is small or large, local SEO can help you grow your visibility and attract more customers. For these reasons alone, we encourage you to reach out to Marketix, one of the agencies specialising in SEO services. By incorporating the right keywords, building a solid social proof presence and ensuring that your local business information is accurate on all platforms, you can boost your visibility in the digital world and build a successful reputation for your brand.

Increased Conversions

For businesses that rely on customers to find and visit their locations, reviews are a vital marketing tool. Having positive customer reviews online can significantly boost local search engine optimization (SEO), which in turn leads to more new business and more sales.

The reason for this is simple: Reviews and ratings are what I like to call extra “Authority Points.” While there are many other factors that go into ranking locally, a business’ review quantity and quality can make or break their chance of landing in the Google Maps Carousel or showing up higher in general searches on smartphones.

In fact, according to a Whitespark report published in 2021, reviewing and rating-related factors account for 17% of a local SEO ranking. This means that even if your other marketing strategies aren’t as effective as they could be, a high number of positive reviews can help bring in more business, especially when combined with other best practices such as consistent business information, accurate keywords, and mobile-friendly website design.

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to reviews and ratings, most experts recommend focusing on getting more 5-star reviews on your Google Business Profile and on third-party review sites. However, it is important to remember that Google places more value on reviews submitted directly on your Google Business Page than those on a third-party review site.

The reason is that Google’s local algorithm is designed to reflect the offline world online by giving prominence to popular businesses and lowering those of lesser popularity. That’s why it is crucial for your local SEO that you have a good presence on third-party review sites as well.

As you may know, responding to reviews and addressing any issues that might come up is also a great way to show people that you care about your customers. It can also boost your reputation as an honest business and encourage more customers to trust you with their business.

Increased Customer Satisfaction

In the modern consumer-centric 21st century, customers rely on reviews to make decisions about where they’ll take their business. Search engines understand the importance of reviews, and as such, factor review signals into their SEO algorithms. As a result, businesses that prioritize online reviews are more likely to rank higher in local searches.

A study by The Local SEO Guide and Moz found that reviews impact where a business appears in the Google Maps 3-Pack (the top three most relevant businesses displayed with a map in a local SERP) as well as its overall local SEO ranking. Moreover, the same study found that reviews also impact a company’s placement in the Local Carousel results that appear on smartphones after searching for a local product or service.

Not only do reviews influence search engine optimization, they also significantly impact consumer satisfaction. In fact, a survey by BrightLocal found that consumers believe the quality of a company is influenced by its average rating and the number of reviews. This means that your business needs to regularly obtain and update its ratings and reviews to ensure you are consistently meeting, or exceeding, your customers’ expectations.

Additionally, if you’re dealing with negative reviews, you can mitigate the effect by quickly and effectively responding to them. This shows consumers that you are a responsive and customer-oriented business, which can go a long way in restoring their trust.

Consumers also value the quantity and recency of reviews, with 69% of consumers citing both as important factors in their decision-making process. To increase your chances of attracting new customers, it’s essential to regularly collect reviews and promote them to your audience. This can be done by putting up signage, using timely email follow-ups, and more.

Although the benefits of getting and promoting your ratings and reviews are clear, it’s not always easy to get there. The key to success is consistent, dedicated work. By incorporating ratings and reviews into your marketing strategy, you can see real results, and enjoy the virtuous cycle of more visibility, more customers, and ultimately more reviews.

Increased Trust

If your customers can easily find positive reviews of your business, it builds their confidence in your company and makes them more likely to do business with you. This is a big reason why it’s important to provide multiple avenues for your customers to leave you a review, including on your Google Business Profile, Facebook Page, and Yelp page.

It’s also a good idea to encourage your customers to write a review with signage, timely email follow-ups, and more. This is one of the most undervalued aspects of local SEO, and it doesn’t take long for a competitor to catch up if you don’t actively ask your customers for feedback.

Not only do consumers value the quantity and sentiment of online reviews, but search engines do as well. In fact, according to Moz’s study, review data accounts for 15% of local pack rank.

Aside from the obvious (physical proximity to a searcher), a business’s star rating and number of reviews is one of the most influential factors in its ranking for local searches. It makes sense, given the importance of online reviews, that search engines would prioritize businesses with a strong reputation in their results in order to help their users make more informed decisions when searching for products or services nearby.

This is especially true when it comes to search engine carousels that display a list of top-ranking local businesses with a map and their relevant information. A study done by Digital Marketing Works (quoted by Search) found that reviews have a significant impact on the position of a business in the Local Carousel, and that there is a direct correlation between the number of reviews and a business’s position in the Carousel.

In a world where customer experience and trust are so vital, it’s no surprise that online reviews are such a key component to successful local SEO. By leveraging the power of online reviews, you can improve your business’s online visibility and increase traffic, conversions, and customer satisfaction. Contact Rio SEO today to learn more about how to boost your business’s reputation and rank higher in local search!

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