If you’re trying to rank higher than your competitors in search engines, you know how tough it is to improve your position. One important component of SEO, and especially for local SEO, is customer reviews.
Both search engines and shoppers like seeing plentiful, high-quality, 4- or 5-star reviews for your business. Search engines use reviews to recommend the best solutions to their users’ problems; when you have a lot of high-quality reviews, you demonstrate your value and trustworthiness as a brand. Put simply, reviews give timely insight into search engines’ decisions to rank you in the SERP.
If you haven’t spent a lot of time sourcing customer reviews yet, now’s the time to start. Reviews have a direct effect on your search engine presence for 3 big reasons.
1 - Customers want to read reviews
Did you know that 87% of shoppers look for reviews before they buy anything?
Reviews help your shoppers determine if you’re the right solution for their needs. Reviews are a trustworthy endorsement of your business from customers who actually have experience with your business. If you have plenty of glowing reviews, they’ll help you build trust with customers more quickly.
And don’t sweat it if you have a few negative reviews. 82% of shoppers seek out negative reviews, but that actually increases the time they spend on your site by 5X. It’s not the negative review itself that matters, but how customers see you respond to these negative reviews.
2 - Reviews increase traffic and sales
Every small business wants more sales. When you invest in reviews for SEO, you’ll see a steady increase in traffic, clickthroughs, and sales over time.
Reviews are powerful because they encourage shoppers to click through to your site and learn more. For example, conversion rates increase by 380% on high-ticket items if you display reviews on the product page.
On the search engine side, the clickthrough rate on your reviews does have an effect on your SERP position. If customers are reading your reviews and engaging with them, search engines will respond by placing your reviews higher than your competitors’.
3 - Search engines need reviews for context
While search engines aren’t sharing their exact ranking algorithms, industry experts estimate that review signals make up as much as 16% of your SEO.
Because search engines try to mimic the human experience, by providing high-quality reviews to your customers, you’ll also stand out to search engines. Google uses the EAT framework to evaluate how trustworthy your website is (and where it should rank you).
Search engines rely on reviews to give their results more context. For example, if your customer reviews reveal you’re giving people a bad experience, Google will likely stop recommending its shoppers to you (which would lower your rank).
Keep in mind that search engines care about:
- Review quantity: Yes, to an extent, the quantity of reviews affects your search engine rank. Generally speaking, the more high-quality reviews you have, the better you’ll rank.
- Review quality: Spammy reviews or reviews without a description won’t cut it. Search engines want to see real, detailed reviews from your shoppers.
- Reviews on multiple platforms: Show that you’re consistent. Get reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and more to give search engines a well-rounded view of your business.
- Review frequency: You need a steady stream of good reviews coming in for your business. Search engines crave fresh information, so the more recent and accurate the reviews, the better.
Search engines use reviews as a way to crowdsource information. Make sure you have plenty of high-quality reviews to stand out from the competition.
The bottom line
As a business owner, you can’t afford to overlook reviews if you want to improve your position in the SERP. Of course, review management is hard, because you don’t have a lot of control over what customers say about you. However, both search engines and customers crave reviews. Bring in more customers and improve your search engine posture over time by investing in reviews.
If you need a starting point with your SEO, get a personalized checklist of everything you need to improve right now. Get your free, no-strings-attached SEO analysis now.