The connection between online reviews and SEO is real, and it directly affects the number of times you show up in organic search engine results. Translation: The quantity, quality, diversity and frequency of your online reviews is part of a set of factors that dictates how easily your prospective customers will find you online.
In other words, you need to pay attention to your online reviews if you’re concerned with where (or if) you’re showing up in online search results.
The Power of SEO
Digital feedback plays a big role in consumer purchasing decisions. This is a well-known fact backed by plenty of data.
- 97 percent of consumers read online reviews for local businesses.
- 85 percent of consumers trust them as much as personal recommendations.
- 49 percent of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they will choose a business.
The data is powerful. But it all assumes one fact: Consumers are seeing those awesome comments.
What if you’re not showing up in search engine results? How would your customers even get the chance to decide whether to try you?
Online reviews play an integral role in everything that comes after the customer finds you online for the first time — but they also help the customer find you in the first place.
Google’s Ranking System Includes Them
Google owns 63.5 percent of all online searches, so naturally their algorithm is where you want to start when piecing together the connection between reviews and SEO. According to Moz.com, Google considers online searches a significant part of both local three-pack results and local organic results.
First, what’s the difference between showing up in Google’s three-pack and showing up organically?
If you’ve ever searched on Google, you know that if you type in “bakery (town name),” Google will show you a few ads at the top of the page. As you scroll, the first thing you’ll see is a map. Underneath the map you will notice a list of the top three bakeries close to you, complete with their contact information and their online reviews.
Finally, if you keep on scrolling past the map and three-pack results, you’ll begin to see organic results for bakeries.
Google prioritizes online reviews differently for their three-pack and their organic results. Review quantity, diversity, frequency, etc. account for 13 percent of Google’s local three-pack ranking factors and about 7 percent of Google’s local organic ranking factors. Since showing up in the three-pack is a distinct advantage for local businesses, a constant stream of new reviews is one factor you can’t afford to ignore.
What Exactly Is Google Looking For?
You know the number of reviews you have matters. You know that quality matters.
Did you know that frequency matters too? If you get two reviews a year, it won’t affect your standing as well as if you received two reviews a week.
Also, Google prefers feedback from people who have a history of writing accurate reviews — it shows “review authority.” Google also likes plenty of reviews from reputable, third-party sources, such as Yelp.
Stay Relevant in Long-Tail Keyword Searches
Besides the straightforward presence of reviews as a ranking factor, there are additional ways they contribute to your website SEO. When enough people write a comment about how they loved making a “same-day appointment” at your dental office, a searcher who types in that long-tail keyword is more likely to be shown your practice as one of their top results.
They Contribute to Domain Authority
The benefits of online reviews for SEO keep coming. Another factor plays a big role in Google’s three-pack and organic results — your website’s on-page signals and its domain authority. Domain authority refers to a website’s age, popularity and size.
Guess what helps enhance domain authority? That’s right — online reviews.
Reviews Provide Content for Social Engagement
Social media engagement is another factor contributing to a website’s SEO rankings. You can save and re-post online reviews on your social profiles and give your followers an opportunity to like, share and comment! Online reviews are a major help in this area as well.
Get What You Need — Now
Do you need to work on your SEO? Then you need online reviews. And the best way to get them is to use Accrue Reviews. Our intuitive, easy-to-use platform is built for the busy business owner who needs to build their online presence with feedback from happy customers. Want to learn more? Try it free today!