If you own or operate a small business, and you are trying to raise your organic listing on Google or another major search engine, do not overlook the importance of harvesting great reviews. Up to 10 percent of your ranking factor may be attributed to your reviews. If you cannot get good reviews, then it is hard to win the SEO war with your competitors. Here are some ways that reviews heavily influence local SEO.
Popular review websites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Manta, Yellow Pages and others give you an excellent opportunity to earn reputable links to your business. You can use these links on your website as outbound links. Additionally, make sure to claim your listing on review sites so that they work as inbound links. Search engines look to these sites to tell them who is doing a great job, and they rank those sites higher. As a bonus, getting good ratings on Google may mean your business may appear prominently in local packs.
User Time on Site
Google and other search engines want to send users to sites with excellent user engagement. While they will never tell you the exact ranking algorithm that they use, there is strong evidence to suggest that they use machine learning to watch how long the average user stays on a site along with watching bounce rate. If you post reviews on your site, then you can often keep users on your site longer which may help your SEO. Google usually places sites higher that offer the most complete user experience, so giving users pertinent information through reviews is a great way to provide the user with all the information they need to make an informed buying decision.
Google’s E-A-T Guidelines
Even if you give Google’s Search Rater Guidelines designed to teach people to rank websites so that Google can teach its machines to rank sites better a cursory reading, it is easy to see the emphasis Google places on expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. One way to show Google that your business is trustworthy is to have great reviews. The great news is that it does not seem to matter if the reviews are posted on your site, on Google reviews or an independent website as long as they can be found. Google may also consider your rankings when figuring out how much of an authority you are in your local niche market where they have little knowledge. They may also watch the answers you provide when responding to reviews to determine if you an expert in your field.
In May 2018, Google removed nearly 2 million reviews after deciding that anonymous reviews would no longer be allowed. A study published in Search Engine Journal looked at dentists in NYC before and after the removal of the anonymous reviews. They discovered that sites losing between 4 percent and 51 percent of their reviews lost from one to five organic search result listing rankings. A re-examination of the rankings a month later showed that the dentist who had gained 14 new reviews had his site go up by one ranking. While Google looks at more than 200 different factors, it appears that ratings is definitely one of them.
Reviews are a significant factor in your local SEO efforts. Create ways to harvest reviews from your customers online. Consider asking for reviews when customers are in your business. If you have their contact information, then send them an email asking for reviews after they have made a purchase. Set up an area on your website where customers can leave reviews. Whatever it takes, except bribery, is worth it to get more reviews and improve your SEO.
If you find yourself puzzled with how to implement reviews into your website, how to boost your SEO, or how to get started with the online part of your business, then let’s see how we can help you! We provide top of the line services for all of your business and personal website needs!