When it comes to growing and maintaining your online presence, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and reviews are two of your most powerful assets.
SEO strategies are essential for helping your business rank highly in search engines like Google and Bing. With 4 in 5 consumers using search engines to look for local information, SEO is the key to helping new customers find and choose your services.
Whether you’re online or offline, reviews are also essential to your business. Reviews not only dictate your business’s reputation, but they also help to determine your sales, with 93% of consumers stating that reviews influence their buying decisions.
On their own, SEO and online reviews are essential for your business, but together, these two assets are even more influential. Read on to learn more about the relationship between 5-star reviews and Search Engine Optimisation.
Online Reviews Are One of the Keys to Local SEO
When it comes to Local SEO, the aim is to optimise your web presence for local search results. That way, when people are looking for nearby services, your business can show up at the top of search results.
The holy grail of Local SEO is Google’s Local Pack. This is the map and set of three business listings that appear above the organic search results in local search. Try googling “dentist”, “plumber” or any other local service and this pack will appear.
If the Local Pack is the holy grail, then the holy trinity of Local SEO is made up of Google My Business, Link Signals, and Reviews.
According to Moz, reviews are the third most important factor for ranking in the Local Pack. So the more 5-star reviews you receive, the more likely you are to appear in Google’s Local Pack and to receive the business of local searchers.
Create an Impressive Knowledge Panel with Online Reviews
Let’s say you’re a graphic design firm looking for new projects. A potential client might search Google for graphic designers and find your business. They might then look at reviews on websites like Facebook and Yellow Pages and like what they see there.
The next thing they do is Google your business name. When they do this, a knowledge panel will probably show up.
Knowledge panels appear on the side of search results when you’re looking for a specific person, business, or similar. Google generates these reviews based on business information from Google business listings, Facebook, and other relevant industry sites. The knowledge panel will provide a button to visit your website, as well as your name, address, phone number, business hours and more.
Knowledge panels also display star-reviews up to five stars, which are taken from your Google reviews (and sometimes from external review sites).
Now think about the journey your customer has gone on. They’ve searched for your services, read your reviews, and Googled your name. If they then see a close to 5-star average review score, it will reinforce all the searching they have done so far.
This entire journey is powered by the relationship between reviews and SEO, and it can help draw new customers to your business.
Drive up Your Click-through Rate with Review Rich Snippets
A knowledge panel will display star-reviews when people Google your brand, and the Local Pack will display star-reviews in local search results. But how do you stand apart in standard organic search results?
The answer may be review rich snippets.
Rich snippets allow you to display other elements in search engine results, such as images, prices, or star-reviews.
If you already rank towards the top of search results, displaying those colourful stars can help you stand apart and drive up your click-through rate (CTR). While CTR doesn’t influence Google rankings on its own, it can complement your SEO efforts by compelling someone to click on your high-ranking link instead of your competitor’s.
Online Reviews Are Essential For Building Your Business Information
As we said before, search engines like Google draw information from other websites to verify details about your business. This helps them provide the best information in search results and it can also help you strengthen your position in Google.
Once again, reviews have an important role to play here.
That’s because the websites that Google pulls information from are usually review and listing sites like Yelp, Yellow Pages and ProductReview. Google can also draw information from Facebook pages, which also contain business listings and reviews.
To enhance your SEO, make sure each of your business listings is consistent and accurate across the internet. This especially pertains to information about your Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP), so make sure these details are the same on Facebook, your website, your Google My Business listing, and all external review and listing sites. These are called citation signals, and they are another important factor in Local SEO rankings.
As well as keeping your details consistent on these sites, it is beneficial to have reviews on them too. Encouraging your customers to leave reviews on a range of platforms gives Google even more information to pull from when verifying and ranking your business.
Online Reviews Are Content
Content marketing is an important aspect of your SEO, with 60% of marketers producing new content daily.
User-generated reviews count as content too! We’ve already established that Google uses reviews to learn more about your website, but Google’s not the only one who can use reviews.
You can feature user-generated reviews in social media posts, in informative blog articles, and more. Reviews give you the voice of your customer, which you can use to focus future marketing efforts and draw in even more customers.
All of these review-based content marketing efforts can strengthen your SEO and your understanding of your customer base while encouraging more people to leave reviews.
Do You Need More 5-Star Reviews?
Like most things in the world of SEO, reviews are a numbers game, and the more you have, the more you can benefit. If you want to make it easy for customers to leave you a Google Review, try the free Supple Review Tool. This tool generates a link to your business’s Google Review page. You can then send this link straight to happy customers, making it as simple as possible for them to leave you a review.
Give this tool and other review strategies a try for yourself and start making the most of 5-star online reviews.