8 Ways Reviews Are Impacting Your Local SEO Strategy
By Fernando BiZ
Customer reviews have a huge impact on how potential customers view your product or business. It goes without saying that reviews directly impact conversion rates but how exactly do they affect your local SEO? Let’s take a look at some important facts to understand the importance of customer reviews for your local search ranking:
- Review signals affect ranking – The first and foremost effect reviews have on local SEO is that they can either boost or damage your local search ranking. According to the 2015 Local Search Ranking Factors from Moz, review signals are among the most important overall ranking factors. The report shows that 8.4% of the ranking factors comprises of review signals such as quantity, velocity, and diversity of reviews. This goes to show that reviews also have a direct impact on how you rank in local search.
2. Managing brand reputation – When customers write a review about a product or a company service, it’s not always because they want to talk about their satisfaction. Many times, they write it when they’ve had a bad experience and want others to know about their grievance. In fact, a study has shown that most consumers write online reviews to vent their negative feelings about a product or service. So how do you make use of this?The best part about people writing negative reviews about your business or products is that it lets you know which customer you should focus on.
Reach out to that reviewer and offer help, so you can immediately handle your brand reputation. Avoid removing negative comments. Instead, display your efficiency in handling customer grievances by publicly replying to that review and offer assistance.This will work wonders for both your online and offline reputation. An improved reputation will, in turn, bring about more searches for your business. This can be especially important when working with local SEO, as your offline reputation can easily grow within a smaller community.
3. Building trust – Most users use customer reviews to form an opinion about a business. According to Brightlocal, 92% of consumers read online reviews to help them determine whether or not a local business is to be trusted. This means that good reviews about your business can boost the trust factor with your audience. This, in turn, impacts your local search ranking to a significant extent.
The same study found that 80% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. However, authenticity of reviews plays an important role in building this trust
4. Providing fresh and unique content – Search engines also rank websites based on the freshness and quality of their content. When a customer adds a review about your website, they help you in generating exactly this. Think about how your product page has product specs and manufacturer descriptions. This means that your page won’t be that much different from that of your competitors.
With different customers writing varying reviews about that specific product, they help in adding value to that page with unique user-generated content. In addition to making the pages more useful for customers, this improves your chance of being ranked highly by search engines.
Take a look at the following example of how a Google+ review shows up in the search results for a local law firm:
If we expand the review, we can see that a former client has written a detailed review praising the law firm. This review can be highly helpful for prospective clients who wish find out more about the firm.
5. Helps with long-tail targeting – User reviews help in generating additional content that works well with long-tail keyword targeting. The reason behind this is that users who write reviews are likely to use the same words and phrases that searchers might use.
For instance, your target keyword for a business selling fish tanks may be “Nevada fish tanks” but it’ll be difficult to rank with this due to the high competition. Reviewers might say something like “A store that provides quality fish tanks in Nevada.” So you could rank for “fish tanks in Nevada” while your competitors try to rank for the shorter keywords. As a result, reviews can improve your local ranking for long tail searches.
The review could be displayed on your website in the form of testimonials from clients. Whether you display them on your landing page or have a separate testimonial page altogether, it’s still a great way to rank on long-tail keywords.
6. Swaying customers’ purchase decisions – Moz conducted a study showing that more than 67% of consumers make use of online reviews for their purchase decisions. This means that before purchasing a product, users are going to look for reviews about that particular product. Even when it comes to local SEO, this can be of great benefit if you have good reviews about your services. When potential customers search for reviews about your business, what do they see?
For instance, let’s say you have a restaurant and users search for your restaurant name including the search term “review”. As you can see in the image below, the reviews and ratings are clearly visible for this particular sushi restaurant in Albany, New York. Searchers immediately see that the restaurant has a high amount of reviews and has good ratings. Now this would influence their decision to visit that restaurant.
7. Improved user engagement – Users often look for reviews to find important information about a product or company before making a purchase decision. This means that they take the time to go through the content instead of simply glancing at it. As search engines measure how well you engage page visitors, this can mean a great deal of positive boost in your ranking.
8. Managing CTR on result pages – When you conduct a search about a certain product, rich snippets on search results can provide useful insights into the product. Enabling rich snippets often help your page rank higher than other product pages. This means that there’s a higher likelihood of your page being visited by users. Additionally, the star ratings visible with rich snippets ensure that your page stands out as compared to other pages.
The above image shows the search results for a pet salon in New York and you can see the top three listings for relevant businesses. However, “Lil Annie’s Pet Salon” stands out from the rest even if it’s not the top listing because there is a snippet showing that the business has a 4.2 star rating with 5 reviews.
In addition to making your business stand out from the rest, rich snippets also give searchers a clear idea of what to expect when they visit your page. They won’t have to go through the trouble of finding the information, helping them have a better experience.
Now you understand that reviews play a huge role in how you rank on local search. As a result, you will need to work towards developing a local SEO strategy that makes the most of customer reviews about your products or business.