Of course we don’t mean literally “anything.” What kind of people do you think we are? But below we’ll show you the power and impact reviews can have on search rankings.

Local business owners and marketers agree: online reviews are crucial to your company. Sure, leopards also have spots, but hear us out. Over the years the number of review sites has greatly risen. Consumers who write and reference reviews have exploded in numbers. Just think about all the crazies out there who can’t wait to tell you and the entire world what they really think about your business.

But there’s more to it than that. Online reviews are now impacting search engine algorithms. They also affect a search’s local rankings and general results. Like your sister and her clingy beau, reviews and SEO are now completely intertwined.

But before we show you the link between online rank and local SEO, let’s discuss what reviews do to your bottom line.

How Do Google Reviews Help Your Business & SEO?

Now more than ever, people make decisions about products or services based on reviews.
Super hot vacay spot with a 5 star rating? Let’s book! Restaurant with a 1 star rating where everybody seems to get food poisoning? Let’s eat in! We all understand that reviews are important, but do we really understand just how important? Here are the reasons why a review can either make or break your business:

  • Studies show that customers are actually willing to pay more for products or services to businesses with excellent reviews. Customer satisfaction is worth a heck of a lot!
  • It’s all about trust. A solid slew of four and five star reviews indicate that your business is trustworthy. And because of this, customers will choose you over the competition.
  • Get this: 84% of customers trust online reviews as much as a recommendation from a friend. It’s called “word-of-review” marketing.” (note: it’s not actually called that, but maybe it should be?)
  • Finally, positive Google reviews can actually help your SEO a LOT (short version — more on that below).

Online reviews can either attract or repel customers. As a result, customer satisfaction is crucial to your business’s sales and profitability. Next up, we’ll get into the SEO side of it.

How Do Negative Reviews Hurt Your Business?

First up, the obvious.

  • Negative reviews hurt your business’s reputation, which ultimately reduces revenue. No bueno.
  • Next, 4 out of 10 consumers say reading a negative review will make them spend their money elsewhere. And we don’t want that do we? We want the cash.
  • One single crap review can scare off 22% of your customers. And 3 bad reviews? In that case, 6 out of 10 of your potential customers are likely to run. So be sure to keep the “Negative Nancys” away.
  • And it’s not just bad reviews that hurt business. People think twice about buying from a business with zero reviews too. (You wouldn’t want to hire a skydiving instructor with zero review history would you?)

Over 8 out of 10 new customers refuse to buy from a business with negative reviews. And a business can lose 7 out of 10 of its future customers if Google searches produce negative reviews about the business. Thanks to the internet, long gone are the days where reviews were just your mom telling you, “Don’t ever shop there.”

That’s why customer satisfaction is crucial to your business’s success. But what about SEO? How do reviews impact rankings?

The acronym SEO spelled with colorful letters.

Google Reviews & SEO: Do Google Reviews Help SEO?

The Moz Local Search Ranking Survey took an in-depth look at review signals. (Moz… kind of sounds like a Slovenian stew or something doesn’t it?). They found review signals make up 13% of the search engine decision-making process. Quantity, velocity, and diversity of reviews all factor into the algorithm. Reviews increased in importance for SEO with a 21.53% jump between 2015 – 2017, and today in 2020, they’re more valuable than ever. But how?

Click-through rates affect search position (in a really good way). And good reviews increase click through rates, so good reviews ultimately increase your ranking power in Google and other search engines.

Chart showing the number of visitors to a website because of online reviews.

This graph shows how good reviews increased click through rates and traffic.

There’s a correlation between the quality + overall number of Google reviews and local SEO rankings. Local SEO Guide even says that reviews are the heaviest hitting ranking variable of them all, thanks in part to how difficult they are to manipulate.
Back to Slovenia. Moz experts identified the following as being key competitive difference-makers:

  • Reviews on many different platforms. Yup.
  • Lots of positive sentiment within reviews. Makes sense.
  • Product and service keywords and the businesses city within the text of obtained reviews. That’s a hard one to influence, but it should happen organically anyway.

The long and short of it is this. To rank well in local search, get plenty of reviews. Good ones. Like the song says, “Mo’ reviews, mo’ search results.”

What About Local SEO?

Your reviews are a major factor for your local search position. Think about it.

A 5 star review tells Google that it’s safe to plant your business in the top results.

3 stars? Not so premium compadre. The Googlebot whacks poorly rated businesses back to the digital equivalent of the stone age. We’ve seen this happen to businesses. And it sucks.

Reviews help Google and other search engines separate the sheep from the goats in record speed. Like your favorite grandparents, it’s a happy marriage.
A woman types on her laptop while viewing pictures online.

Google Reviews: Food For Search Engines

Here in the glorious world of digital marketing, we know that fresh content is basically Googlebot candy. Writing unique blog posts, creating quality landing pages, and sharing on social media makes a massive difference. Your online reputation and strategy has to be on point if you want customers to find you. This includes getting new reviews consistently, and responding to reviews in a timely fashion.

Content is critical to search engines — without it they won’t even know you exist!
Reviews provide constant content for search engines to crawl and digest.

Why Use Flood Digital For Local Business Reputation Management?

At Flood Digital, we know local SEO, reputation management, and grand strategy SEO like the back of our hands. We have a proven system to build your reputation and keep it strong, in a way that appeals not only to prospective customers, but to the search engines bots as well.

We advise every business — whether you’re a law firm, home service company or any other SMB — to create a reputation management strategy and stick to it. This will boost your ranking power, enhance your credibility, and at the end of the day, raise your bottom line revenue.

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