When was the last time you opened your phone, searched for a local service or store on Google, and then called or visited that place? In the last day or so? Then you are statistically among the 46% of all Google searches considered local, which are searches commonly identified by terms such as “near me,” “in town,” and “in a specific area.”
Local SEO is a strategy that brick-and-mortar businesses can use to ensure their website secures a top spot on Google’s local search listings. In other words, it’s a way to get more local consumers to visit your business. Research shows 88% of searches for local businesses on a mobile device result in either a call or visit to the business within 24 hours. (Source: Nectafy)
While there are many ways that a business can improve their SEO ranking, you man not have considered reviews. But don’t overlook this, as it could be the difference between where you fall on the Google results page.
1. Reviews don’t just affect local SEO; they are part of local SEO
There are over 200 Google SEO ranking factors, and reviews are a huge one. Review Signals make up 15% of how Google ranks a business.
According to SEO professionals at Yinz Digital, “Local SEO is an easy way for companies to maximize their local search results on a budget but does require that they manage their presence (Google Reviews, Google My Business, Local 3-pack) to get the best results. One might argue that managing online reviews doesn’t just affect local SEO, but rather IS part of local SEO in itself.”
As such, it’s critical to acquire more reviews for your business consistently.
2. Customer reviews show your brand reputation is credible
Google ranks websites based on their authority and ability to provide value to consumers. And customers consistently report to market research companies about how useful reviews are:
- Nearly 95% of customers read reviews before buying. (Spiegel)
- 93% of customers will read reviews of local businesses to determine the business’s quality. (BrightLocal)
- 89% of consumers read review responses. (BrightLocal)
When customers tell Google outright that your brand is doing a good job, Google pays attention.
Extra tip: Did you know linking to other authoritative websites can boost your local SEO rankings? If an authoritative site has used your product or service, make sure you have someone reach out to them to ask for a review. Then, put the review on your website and link to the authority’s site.
3. Customer testimonials lower your bounce rate
Another critical component of SEO is keeping customers on your websites. Research shows that customers spend anywhere from 10 min to 25 minutes reading reviews.
It’s simple—the more reviews you have on your site, the longer customers will stay on your site—lowering your bounce rate. According to Google, low bounce rates are an indicator of a good site, and Google will reward sites with low bounce rates with higher rankings.
4. Google looks at your star rating
Another way reviews impact local SEO is through your star rating. Not only does Google display your star rating on the search engine results page, but they also sort search engine results based on both the number of reviews received and star rating.
The more ratings you have + the more recent your reviews are + the higher the number of reviews you have = a higher local SEO ranking.
Here is an example of how Edge Pest Control and Mosquito Services outrank other pest control services. As you can see, this pest control service puts time and energy into collecting reviews and gets rewarded for its efforts.
5. More customer reviews = more visibility across platforms
Google reviews aren’t the only type of reviews that affect your Google ranking. The more customers that mention your company on any review site, the higher the likelihood of Google returning your website in a local search result.
The team at Yinz Digital agrees. “We recommend that clients take advantage of any online review platforms (e.g., Yelp, Tripadvisor, Foursquare, etc.). In combination with Google’s toolsets, the ratings and search results from these third-party platforms can be aggregated to create more expansive search results for your brand.”
Hire the team at Let Us Respond to monitor and respond to your online reviews!
Customer reviews are a surefire way to improve your local SEO and beat out your competitors in the local listings.
Make sure you have a team on your side that will monitor your reviews, reach out to customers for reviews, and respond to reviews. Learn more about the benefits of our response management services partner with our team to improve your local SEO today!