For better or for worse Google is the de facto king of the internet. It shapes how we search, what we find and how we perceive the internet. So if you are running any type of business, it’s more important than ever to make sure you have a solid digital footprint. And to make sure that your position on the search results is as better as possible. Both in Google results, as well as in the results of other search engines like Bing or Yahoo. This is done through Search Engine Optimization. Or SEO for short. And there are many factors that you need to consider when optimizing your web presence. For example, online reviews affect local SEO in a major way.
Understanding how will allow you to use their full potential. To make your position on the search engine result page much better. And in turn get more visits to your website or even a local physical store.
What is Local SEO?
In order to understand how online reviews affect local SEO, you first need to understand the difference between regular and local SEO.
While they are quite similar there are some notable differences between organic and local SEO. Whenever you search for something the search engine tries to deliver the results that are relevant to you in a given situation. So, for example, when you search for “pizza delivery” it wouldn’t be any use to you if all the search results were pizza places from other states or even countries. What you are looking for are the local businesses that are near you. In that context, by having a well-done local SEO, you will rank high up in the search engine results page.
The local pack
Whenever you search for a local business the search results page will consist of two distinct parts. The first one will display a map with 3 local businesses pinned and listed below. That is called the local pack. Below the local pack there will be, again, local results, but in a standard form. Both segments are important, and local SEO can help you rank better for both of them.
Having a spot in the local pack can be a great driver of customers. And it’s a great way to promote your business online long-term. You’ll be one of the first three things that people see when they make a search in your niche.
Online Reviews are an essential part of Local SEO
There are a number of factors that determine whether or not you will rank high in your local search results. Few of the most notable ones are:
- Online Reviews
- Google My Business
- Link signals
Online reviews affect local SEO in a major way. And are reportedly even more important than the behavior, social signals, and even personalization of one’s search queries. That puts them at the very top of the list of priorities when it comes to local SEO. That’s why it’s very important to have quality citations across multiple websites. It can help you drive more traffic to your website and local business. As well as better establish yourself on the internet. But more on that later.
What about online reviews affects local SEO?
So far we’ve established that online reviews affect local SEO in a major way. But, not all reviews are made equal. And not all of them will affect your local SEO in the same way. They need to be relevant to your niche, well written, and be fresh, among other things. So, what exactly about online reviews is important when it comes to ranking higher in local search results?
There are many factors that search engines take into consideration when looking at online reviews:
- Review score
- Quantity of reviews
- Quality of reviews
- Diversity (having reviews on many different websites)
- Content of the reviews (industry-related keywords)
- Authority of review websites
There are also many other factors that are considered. Some are public while others are not. But the ones listed above are generally considered the most important ones.
Factors in online reviews that affect local SEO
As you can see, there are many different factors that impact your local SEO. And as a business looking to get more customers through search results you need to maintain all of them.
The review score is pretty much self-explanatory. The higher the rating you have the better the search engine will view you.
The quantity of reviews is also quite important. The more reviews you have the better. But only as long as they have good quality. That’s where citation services can help you a great deal.
Your reviews should also be fresh. Search engines always try to present the most relevant results to customers. So, 5-year-old reviews will hold little value for customers.
Another important aspect is diversity. Having reviews on just one website isn’t going to cut it if you want to rank high for high-value keywords. That means that you need to have a presence on Google Business Listings, Yelp, Facebook, and other business listings. Look for websites with high authority for maximum results.
Online reviews affect local SEO in a major way
There are many factors that go into ranking high on local search results. And online reviews affect local SEO in a way that shouldn’t be neglected. You need to be proactive rather than reactive. And that means that you need to get your business on various directory listings and have good citations to go with them. And when you do get customer reviews you should engage your customers in a meaningful way. Reply to your reviews. Try and get as good a score as you can. Get them to talk about things that are important for your business. It’s a great and very cost-effective way to drive more customers to your business. Both online as well as in your brick-and-mortar store.