Here’s How Google Reviews Can Affect Your SEO

By Sam Sprague

August 26, 2020

You may not know it, but reviews are important to your business.

That doesn’t mean you should rely on any old review website though!

Embrace Google reviews— they are much more important than you may realize!

Here’s why.

Importance of Customer Reviews

Why are reviews so important?

Well, 90% of customers are influenced by online reviews and 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

That’s a lot of influence that is being neglected if you’re not taking advantage of reviews!

In fact, here are 5 distinct benefits that reviews are known to provide to your SEO:

1. Provide search engines with new and relevant content

Sometimes it’s difficult to regularly develop new content but search engines want you to be active.

That’s where consumer generated media comes in.

Consumer generated media can power your social media channels and website with real content.

This content will show that your site is active and valuable to customers.

Plus, it helps to get your customers talking to each other.

2. It naturally shapes basic SEO attributes

Keywords, internal links, backlinks, and more are the basic attributes of optimizing your website for search engines.

Reviews work in a way that builds links and keywords that will shape your SEO, without requiring your time or effort.

3. Help your site rank for long-tail keywords naturally

Long-tail keywords are phrases that don’t have too much search competition.

The lack of competition allows for your site to rank higher on searches that utilize these phrases, therefore making them perfect for SEO.

Using reviews, you can find the perfect phrases.

Just look through the reviews and find how customers are wording their concerns. These phrases can then be used as keywords for on-site optimization!

Plus, this will also help improve your brand messaging, allowing you to use words that customers want to hear and use themselves.

4. Boosts social SEO

SMO, or social media optimization, deals specifically with social sites.

Reviews often come in the form of social shares, likes, commenting, or threads.

These will all point back towards your brand which will then result in a boost in your SMO!

5. Great for automatic and manual optimization

Automatic search engines use algorithms that look for customer reviews and testimonials to evaluate your website’s reputation.

Search quality raters will manually evaluate your site’s reputation.

This is done by looking for authority, truth, and expertise throughout the site. All these attributes can be found in customer reviews.

Either way, getting some customer reviews will help your reputation!

 6. Click-Through-Rate

Reviews and ratings will give your ads a 17% higher CTR.

That is an increase in traffic which can lead to an increase in conversations.

And conversations/reviews, as we all know now, will help boost your SMO while providing search engines with the new content they desire.

And if those benefits weren’t enough, you should also know that 10% of traffic is credited to reviews– that’s insane!

How Google Reviews are Different

Alright so we went over why reviews are so important, but why Google reviews?

Well, Google reviews will not only do everything mentioned above, but they will also provide you with benefits you would never think of!

Searches: Unlike other review sites, Google reviews will appear directly on Google searches. This helps customers make decisions before even going to your website!

Finding you: It is much more likely for customers, both established and potential, to find you with reviews displayed in the search results.

Customer Engagement: Keeping your customers engaged is crucial for customer retention. This is easily done with Google reviews. Plus, anytime your customers engage, you get an opportunity to interact with them as well!

Credibility: With Google reviews, remaining anonymous is difficult since you must have a Google+ account to review. This aspect allows for more reliable and trustworthy reviews for both you and your customers!

Google Maps: By utilizing Google reviews, you are putting your business and its reputation on the map, literally. Google Maps puts reviews and ratings right next to the businesses they are showing!

Consider how many people are “Googling” per day, per minute!

Keep that staggering number in mind when you think of how these people will be better exposed to your business through the use of Google reviews.

Utilizing reviews, ratings, and feedback, “Googling” provides users with businesses who are most likely to fit their needs — and that should be you!

Negative Reviews

Alright, so reviews are great.

But what happens when you get a negative review?

In fact, contrary to popular belief, negative reviews will not penalize you, especially if they are Google reviews.

Google has manual reviewers in place who are taught to look at the bigger picture with negative reviews.

They are sure to read each negative review and consider the positives and negatives of your business.

The negative review will even help the reviewers delve deeper into your business, gaining an understanding of your overall reputation which will then allow for a more appropriate and natural rating.

Still freaking out?

Here are some things you can do when you get a negative review:

  • Don’t respond until your calm. Take a deep breath. One bad review will not kill your business. However, it is a great opportunity for you to improve! After all, no one is perfect.
  • Is there a basis for the complaint? Look into the situation. Did the customer have a legitimate reason for their complaint, or were they just in a bad mood that day?
  • Contact reviewer offline: Try to contact the reviewer offline and get their side of the story. Maybe they’ll even reveal to you that it was just a bad day. Perhaps you’ll find a legitimate problem with your service that you didn’t realize before.
  • Respond!!! After you have calmed down, looked into the situation mentioned, and drafted a response, RESPOND! 95% unhappy customers return if issue dealt with effectively and quickly. It would be a shame to let the unhappy customer get away simply because you’re too stubborn to try and help.

Getting More Reviews

Stuck on how to get more reviews from your customers?

Here are more tips to bookmark:

  1. Ask: Asking directly may be old-school, but it’s still effective! Send your customers a quick email asking for them to review the service/goods. But, try not to resort to bulk solicitation, it is not as reliable as you would think.
  2. Logo Decals: Entice your customers to review on other sites by having different review site decals on your website. Not only does it grab their attention, but it’s also a huge convenience.
  3. Create handout flyers: You know how receipts will have a survey for customers to answer? Same idea. Hand out some flyers that will both promote your site and entice some reviews.
  4. Small poster: Another old-school trick, create a poster advertising your site, service/goods, and where customers can go to write reviews.

Improving Review Signals

Review signals are based on the review quantity, quality, velocity, diversity, and more.

These signals are put at the 5th spot for most important local search ranking factors, according to Moz.

Google Verification

To improve your review signals, make sure your business is Google-verified.

The process for verification is fairly simple.

All you need to do is:

  1. Go to the Google My Business page
  2. Register your address
  3. Complete your profile: here you will also need to associate your business with any keywords or geographical locations you desire
  4. Complete verification manually or by phone: if you choose to be verified manually, Google will send you a postcard with a PIN number on it. If you choose to verify via phone, you will receive a message or phone call with a PIN number. Either way, the PIN number will verify your business.

Respond to reviews

Responding will help your customers engage with you and each other.

This will allow for more reviews to be made which will help your site gain a greater online prominence (one of the 3 influential factors for Google local search ratings).

The drive for engagement will help create more fresh content on your site, allowing for better SEO which will allow more people to find you.

When responding to your reviewers, try to engage via caring and intellectual information. These types of responses will benefit your business and resonate with your audience.

The responses will allow potential customers to see your business in a beneficial light, especially since these reviews and responses will be available in the search engine.

Another recommendation for responding to reviews is to craft your responses keeping in mind strategic keywords that will highlight the products and/or services you offer.

Think about how customers will search for these services and products. Utilize those phrasings to increase reputation and gain customers.

Conclusion

Reviews are essential to your business’s success and growth!

If you are going to be looking into reviews, check out Google reviews.

Google has provided various methods that will help your business thrive!

Looking for more business help?

Check out our site. We can help with advertising, SEO, and many other services to help grow your business!

Sam Sprague Administrator
CEO & Founder , Sprague Media
Sam is the Founder & CEO of Sprague Media. He has over 10 years of experience in the Digital & Social Media Marketing world, on the agency and client-side. A Marine Veteran and Father, Sam is an avid Football and Basketball connoisseur who likes nothing better than to spend quarantine watching games!
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