How Google Ratings Can Affect Your SEO

Small businesses have always thrived and died by the word of mouth. Even before technology revolutionized the way we do things, a business performance would be adversely affected if too many people said bad things about it.

Fast forward to today when customer’s reviews are now digitized through online platforms. A single negative customer feedback can cripple a business.

Did you know that Google ratings can also affect your SEO?

Google Ratings Can Affect Your SEO

Search engines value customers’ feedback. They are not just listening to what you say about yourself, but also what other people have to say about you.

To bring the matter home, a recent study that was conducted on 30,000 online businesses found that their SEO rankings improved significantly because of getting more customer reviews.

Online reviews are critical to your SEO strategy. They have major implications on your business by their ability to affect:

  1. Customers purchasing decisions
  2. Which search results get more clicks
  3. Your rankings in search engines

In this post, we’ll be covering on how Google ratings affect your SEO.

Why Google ratings and reviews are more important than ever

Google ratings and reviews are a powerful conversion factor. They are also very influential in getting users to click through and make a buying decision.

If your brand has 4.5+ stars and more reviews than your competitors, you’ll be one step ahead of the competition as that’s all Google needs as proof that your products/services are trustworthy.

Higher Google ratings build social trust which further leads to increased lead generation.

In fact, a recent survey by BrightLocal revealed that 84% of people read online reviews before making a purchase decision.

The survey also revealed that 54% of people will visit a website only after reading a positive review.

With that in mind, it goes without saying that your business needs more reviews and higher Google ratings to remain competitive.

Here are the reasons why Google ratings and reviews are now more important than ever.

Reason 1: Ratings and reviews can influence your SEO ranking

While ratings and reviews may not be part of the Google ranking algorithm, positive reviews do affect your site rankings in many ways.

Here are the three types of search results that are influenced by Google ratings and reviews:

  1. Map searches – The new Google Maps feature even says the “highest-rated” results will be displayed when you search for nearby shops.
  2. Mobile searches – Google Now takes into account average ratings and review counts in its mobile searches to display results.
  3. Local Carousel – A recent study that was conducted by Digital Marketing Works and backed by Search Engine Land revealed a very strong relationship between ratings/reviews and Carousel position.

It makes sense that Google would display the top rated results first in order to increase users’ satisfaction.

Reason 2: Google updated its Maps to feature reviews prominently

Google from time to time collects customers’ feedback which it uses to improve its service delivery.

Recently, Google updated its map search layout to show ratings and reviews more prominently.

This is an indication of how serious Google is with ratings and reviews. The company also uses the same data to determine the relevance of the prioritized results.

How ratings and reviews can benefit your SEO

Search engines love online reviews for one primary reason–consumers rely heavily on online reviews to make a buying decision.

So how do online reviews help to boost your SEO?

Here are the 4 ways on how reviews can help you increase your search engine ranking.

1. Reviews provide search engines with relevant content

“Content is king” is a common SEO mantra that every content marketer knows.

Though content is relevant, it may not always be possible for businesses to churn out tons of content on a regular basis.

But search engines, particularly Google, wants to know your site is active, so what do you do?

Collect Consumer Generated Media (CGM)

CGM, also known as user-generated content, refers to user-created media such as videos, photos, and customer Q&A used to power your site and social media channels with fresh and authentic content.

In general, CGMs convey a customer’s advice, opinion, or shopping experience about a product without hard selling.

This kind of content creates conversations among consumers and demonstrates to Google that you are not just communicating with customers, but they are also talking about you.

This way, reviews boost your off-page SEO and at the same time keeps your site active.

2. Reviews boost social SEO

Social SEO, also called Social Media Optimization (SMO) specifically deals with social sites.

In helps boost SEO in that it often comes in form of social shares, comments, likes, or hashtags that point back towards your site.

Social SEO works great on reviews and user-generated content.

For instance, if many people in your social network are sharing, commenting, or liking similar news, it grabs your attention.

On the other hand, content that is not shared and which no one is talking about has no or little impact on social SEO.

3. Reviews help your site rank for long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are phrases with low search competition that are more easier to rank if selected carefully.

The problem comes in identifying such keywords.

Luckily, by looking at customer comments and how they are phrasing their concerns, you can use these phrases as keywords for your site’s optimization.

Using the words your customers want to hear can also help you to articulately convey your brand message.

4. Reviews naturally shape basic SEO attributes

Normally, sites are optimized for ranking through a system of basic attributes such as headings, keywords, internal links, and backlinks.

With regards to reviews, customers work like an army of link builders and keyword distributors, shaping your SEO structure without any effort on your part.

Online reviews, especially in social platforms brings in more shares and more traffic, which eventually increases the conversion rate.

Summary

Google ratings and reviews can help to drive more traffic to your site.

It’s obvious that everyone wants to buy quality products and from reputable brands.

And the best way to determine the reputation of a brand is by checking its Google ratings and what customers are saying about the business in its online profile.

So if your business is lacking in Google ratings or is crammed with negative customer reviews, you may be losing a lot to the competition.

Wish to know whether your digital marketing is headed in the right direction? Contact us, and we’ll run a free website audit and show you exactly where your site currently stands among the major search engines.

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Owner and Chief Marketing Officer, Jason Hall, and his team specialize in creating brand awareness / traffic and lead generation / marketing funnel and conversion optimization, while utilizing the appropriate marketing channels available within your industry. With diverse clients throughout the world, Jason's team is well connected within many industries to assist with your marketing strategies. With no long term contracts and various levels of service, Jason's team will increase the quality of your online traffic, leads, and sales.

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About the author...

Located in the heart of the Emerald Coast - Destin, FL, founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Jason Hall, and his team specialize in creating brand awareness / traffic and lead generation / marketing funnel and conversion optimization / and PR campaigns, while utilizing the appropriate marketing channels available within your industry.

With diverse clients throughout the world, Jason's team is well connected within many industries to assist with your marketing strategies. With no long term contracts and various levels of service, Jason's team will increase the quality of your online traffic, leads, and sales.

Jason Hall 5Channels.com

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