Do Online Reviews Affect SEO?
Let’s face it. Whether you are a large brand or a recent start-up company, you strive to have a strong reputation. Today, where anything can be searched online, nothing is more important than your digital presence.Previously, word of mouth was seen as the strongest marketing tool. Today, word of mouth still has a strong impact on businesses. The only thing that has changed is that the reputation of brands is now heavily digitalised. Word-of-mouth has taken the shape of online reviews, in particular, Google reviews. 98% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses and 91% of 18–34-year old’s trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Did you know that 93% of consumers state that online reviews influence their buying decisions? Reviews not only influence your business’s reputation, but they also help to establish your sales, with 31% of customers willing to spend more on a business with excellent reviews. Nearly 97% of all consumers now use online media when researching products and services in their local area. When it comes to local SEO, the aim is to optimise your web presence for local search results.
When consumers enter a local search term into Google the three pillars to local search are relevance, proximity and authority. Google will attempt to show businesses that are within a customer’s direct locality. But did you know, reviews fall into the category of prominence? A company with hundreds of highly rated reviews will outrank a closer local competitor if they have a smaller number of reviews with less positive ratings. Google aims to provide consumers with relevant information in the fastest possible way.
Google factors quantity and quality of online Google reviews to evaluate the search position. Similar to how consumers use online reviews to validate their purchase decision, search engines take a similar position. This means that companies that get a large number of reviews are more likely to get more consideration from search engines. For example, a rating of 4 and above indicates the trust customers have for a particular brand and Google recognises that. More consumers use Google to evaluate local businesses than ever before. In 2021, 81% did, but the year before that, just 63% did. Like most things in the world of SEO, online reviews are a numbers game, and the more your business has, the more your business benefits.
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