Google processes more than 40,000 search requests per second, which amounts to nearly 4 billion searches a day. Nearly half of all search activity has local intent. When people search for a business on Google, they see the top three choices on Google’s Local 3-Pack that include reviews and cumulative quality ratings. Experts at Saba SEO, a leading San Diego SEO agency, share a few reasons reviews are important for local search engine optimization.
Social Proof Is a Major Influencer
There’s something to be said for the power of the crowd mentality. In other words, if someone looking for a restaurant sees mostly positive reviews, they’re more likely to feel confident about their decision to stop in or place an order for delivery. In fact, online searchers trust reviews as much as advice from friends.
Reviews Define a Business’s Image
Unless your business is very well known, searchers may need to get a better feel for who you are, what you offer, and what their experience will be if they choose you over one of your competitors. Online reviews tend to be descriptive, and they can illustrate what makes your business better than your competitors in a way that’s more compelling than what you can convey with your website content. Lengthy, well-written reviews can help customers learn about:
- How friendly and helpful your staff is
- Little details you may not have pointed out on your website (e.g. décor, ambiance, speed of service)
- How well you handle unexpected problems
- Overall quality of your products or services
- Whether or not it’s easy to reach an actual person when calling
Reviews Are the Most Prominent Local Ranking Factor
According to a study by Local SEO Guide, reviews are among the top local ranking factors. The comprehensive study, which looked at more than 200 factors for over a thousand businesses, found that businesses that perform well in organic search results are likely to do well in Google’s Local 3-Pack. However, the study also found that it’s possible to rank well in local packs without typical search engine optimization ranking factors. The quality of local reviews is equally important, and reviews rank better with:
- Some relevant keywords included (usually in the description of your business you can include on review sites)
- An optimized Google My Business (GMB) profile (which includes a Google Maps listing to help customers find your business)
- Accurate NAP info (business name, address, phone number)
On a related note, it’s important to keep tabs on your online reputation. While Google does pull local reviews from reputable sources, there are times when false or inaccurate reviews may show on trusted review sites, which could impact your local ranking. Even if some not-so-stellar reviews are justified, actively responding to posted feedback can convince potential customers that you care. Consistently posting fresh, engaging content can also counter negative reviews. Lastly, another step to take with local reviews is to actively encourage them. Make it easy for customers to submit feedback directly on your website or with links to review sites in follow-up emails.
If you’re looking for high-quality local search engine optimization services, trust Saba SEO. Our internet marketing service plans include SEO, paid marketing, content development, web design, and social media management. We rely on a variety of white hat tactics to help businesses boost their online ranking, reach out to more customers, and increase their online revenue. For over ten years, our team has created comprehensive digital marketing strategies for businesses all over the globe. Call us at 858-951-1717 to schedule an appointment with one of our SEO experts.