Google Reviews: The One-Two Punch of Boosting Your Online Presence
Anyone with online experience today has seen or heard of Google reviews.
However, if you are a business owner, your familiarity with these third-party evaluations should be more than casual knowledge.
Why? Because Google reviews have the potential to differentiate your business from the competition and attract more visitors to your website—at no cost to you. Hopefully, there was something in that last sentence that got your attention.
Simply put, a review is someone’s evaluation of something. It could be related to a company and its products or services or any number of other topics. Google reviews support reviews and ratings for a wide range of schema.org types. These include businesses, products, and different creative works like books, recipes, movies, etc.
Google displays the review results in two ways. In both cases, you must understand what a “snippet” is.
According to Yoast, the popular SEO plugin developer and industry authority, “The snippet is a single search result in a set of search results and generally consists of a title, a URL, and a description of the page.”
Google reviews, then, are displayed in one of two ways:
- Critic Reviews. Google says this is a snippet from a longer review article that a single editor has created, curated, or compiled for a publisher.
- Review Snippets is a rich snippet of a review or rating markup from a website that features reviews. It usually displays an average of the combined rating scores from reviewers.
Review snippets appear in Google Search results either under the search result or in the Google Knowledge Panels.
Most local business owners are concerned with how reviews impact their online reputation and position in search rankings.
This is where Google My Business (read our post about it) comes in, a Google local feature that has gained importance since its launch in 2014.
Why Do Reviews Matter for SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) professionals are very much aware that search engines are not only listening to you but also to what your customers and others are saying about you. That said, those in SEO have known for quite some time that customer inputs in the form of opinions, feelings, and experiences are impacting the SEO rankings of a particular brand and/or company.
Yotpo, a user-generated content marketing solution company for eCommerce websites, conducted a two-part study to determine if SEO benefits from reviews. The findings of the two parts are as follows:
- Part One reviewed 500 sites to determine if SEO rankings improved during a period of a few months’ time. They found that the month-to-month growth increased as the reviews increased.
- Part Two expanded the sample size to 30,000 websites of various sizes and industries. During nine months, the sites were reviewed, and the results displayed an increase in traffic as reviews increased month-to-month. They concluded customer reviews are very influential in increasing website traffic.
Google Reviews and SEO
Online reviews are one of the best direct channels for customer feedback and are critical to the company’s SEO strategy.
Using Google reviews to gather customer-generated content is a plus for SEO and a good business marketing strategy.
Here’s how reviews boost your brand and online reputation:
- Customers provide new and relevant content to show that your site is active and create customer conversations showing that customers are talking to you about you.
- The reviews naturally shape the basic SEO attributes in the form of keywords, titles, and links such that your customers, in essence, are building links without effort from you.
- Reviews provide content to improve brand messaging by using words your customers want to hear.
- Reviews boost your social media presence. Customers provide content in the form of social shares, likes, comments, or common threads like hashtags that point back toward your brand.
Therefore, using Google reviews as part of your SEO strategy boosts customer trust and powers word-of-mouth marketing. The impact is that it brings more traffic from search engines, helping to generate more interest in your products or services toward increasing sales.
Don’t Forget to Respond to Google Reviews
The Google My Business support page advises businesses to “interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business.”
Google reinforces this assertion by noting that “high-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility.” So, we can conclude that Google also uses this as another factor in what impacts your ranking in search.