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Why Customer Reviews Are Important To Both Visitors AND Search Engines

Written by Melanie Burgess: Digital marketing manager.
· 4 minute read

Online reviews are becoming more and more important, not only to instil trust in your potential customers, but it now appears that reviews are also a prominent ranking factor in local search, meaning reviews can help your business rank well in local search results.

So if you’re yet to start collecting customer reviews online, now is the time to start, and here’s why!

Consumers Love Reviews

A 2017 study has shown just how much online reviews can affect consumer opinion and trust, as well as influence buying decisions.

As many as 85% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations, and a positive review makes 73% of consumers trust a local business more. Consumers also need an average of 7 reviews before they will trust a business.

Reviews can also influence whether or not a customer chooses to buy, with 49% of consumers stating they need at least a four star rating before they choose a business, and 93% of consumers say online reviews have had an impact on their decision to purchase.

Search Engines Love Reviews

The above stats speak from themselves, consumers love reviews, but they’re not the only ones – search engines do too.

When it comes to local search, online reviews are a major ranking factor, and can significantly boost your visibility in the local search results.

Last year, a study by Moz.com showed that review signals, such as the number of reviews, review velocity and review diversity, play a key factor in local search, having around a 13% impact on how well your website ranks.

This means that as well as the number of reviews your business has, the rating and content of the review is also important. For example, Google My Business pages with reviews that include a keyword or location were found to rank better in local search.

How quickly and naturally reviews are acquired is also something that is looked at by search engines.

Customer Review Platforms

Getting your business set up on Google My Business is probably the best place to start, so create or claim your business listing to begin with.

Google My Business listings are shown in local results, and Google have said that high-quality, positive reviews from customers will improve your visibility (alongside a complete and accurate profile), so make improving your listing a priority.

Aside from Google My Business, earning reviews on other third party sites can also be beneficial. Although these sites won’t impact Google’s local search results, they are thought to have an impact on organic results, and with 67% of customers admitting to being influenced by reviews, it’s worth covering other review sites too.

Third party review sites include the likes of:

  • TripAdvisor
  • Yelp
  • Trustpilot
  • Reviews.co.uk
  • Zomato

Finally, some best practice points to remember:

  • Always respond to online reviews. Let customers know you’re listening!
  • Always aim to resolve issues and complaints. Apologise to the customer and acknowledge their comments
  • Share your glowing reviews on social media.
  • Never create fake reviews!