How Online Reviews Impact Local SEO

It’s no secret that the internet is increasingly becoming a hotbed for word-of-mouth communication and customer interaction.

By now, most business owners are aware that user-generated content will affect your online reputation, search engine rankings, potential customers buying decisions and even the success of your business.

However, what a lot of businesses owners miss, is that in addition to monitoring what people are saying about your brand online, you also need to be responding to their reviews and fostering a 2-way flow of communication between your business and your customers.

Why Reviews Matter

On a daily basis, people are taking to sites like Yelp!, Facebook, and Google to share their good and bad experiences with businesses. Not only are more people becoming part of these online review sites, but studies show that more than 88% of consumers are using these reviews to determine if they should purchase a product or service. More and more potential consumers are trusting the voice of their online peers and trusting in the reviews they are leaving to determine how good a local business really is.

But it’s not just customers who believe that responding to customer reviews should be an important part of your digital marketing efforts. Local search engines also use your business’ reviews as a factor when determining your websites search page rankings.

Google encourages businesses to respond to their reviews in order to improve their local SEO. The Google My Business support page even states, “Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business.”

How Reviews Impact Local SEO

According to the latest local search rankings factor survey, online reviews are thought to make up more than 13% of how Google and other search engines decide to rank local search results.

Google only wants to recommend the most credible businesses to their users and what better credibility indicator than a business that goes above and beyond by publicly responding to both reviewers positive and negative feedback.

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