Customer reviews and ratings are essential items in the SEO’s tool belt, especially for optimizing local businesses. A Moz survey predicts that reviews make up almost 10% of how Google and other search engines decide to rank you. And it makes sense.
Like I said in last week’s blog, search engines love reviews because consumers love reviews.
Search engines are in the business of providing users with the most accurate information to help them predict and make decisions around their future purchases. The faster they can do that, the more consumers will turn to them time and time again.
But what do they take into consideration regarding reviews? Review signals. What’s a review signal? you’re asking. Good question. Entrepreneur describes review signals as different aspects of a company’s review profile online and include:
1. Review Quantity
The more reviews you have, the better. According to BrightLocal’s survey, you need seven to 10 reviews before most people trust you.
2. Review Velocity
How quickly reviews are posted for your business. Too fast, and you’ll get dinged.
3. Review Diversity
How many sites have reviews for your business
4. Quantity of Third-Party Traditional Reviews
How many reviews your business has on sites not owned by Google
5. Authority of Third-Party Sites Where Reviews are Present
Some customer review sites have greater authority with Google than others.
6. Overall Velocity of Reviews (Native and Third Party)
How quickly your business is accruing reviews, both on Google properties (a.k.a. “native”) and other review sites.
7. Volume of Testimonials in Review
This refers to the reviews used in microdata, also called “rich snippets.” Here’s where to see that:
8. Quantity of Native Google Maps Reviews with Text
Google’s reviews started out on Google Maps.
9. Diversity of Third-Party Sites that have Reviews
How many different customer review sites have reviews for your business?
10. Product or Service Keywords in Reviews.
It helps to have keywords in reviews, but don’t overdo them.
11. Quantity of Authority Reviewers
Some sites, like Yelp, give certain reviewers more influence than others. New reviewers on Yelp don’t even get their reviews published until they’ve submitted five reviews. Getting a review on any site from an “authority reviewer” could help your search rankings.
Ratings and reviews are a huge conversion factor, more influential for getting users to click through and make a purchase than business citations or most other elements of local SEO. If your search result has 4.5 stars and 14 reviews (compared to fewer for your competitors), that’s strong social proof that your product or service is trustworthy. But besides increasing users’ trust, recent search innovations have created new reasons that SEO-minded local businesses need reviews and ratings.
These three benefits: improved SEO, improved conversion, and increased brand trust, working together, clearly illustrate the value of attracting good reviews online. If, between two otherwise equal competitors, one business pursues better reviews while the other ignores them, the business that pursues better reviews will undoubtedly win out in terms of traffic and eventual purchases.