Nothing beats word-of-mouth when it comes to generating business leads. In the digital climate, word-of-mouth translates to online reviews. Statistics reveal that people are more likely to make a purchase when their fellow consumers have recommended a product or service. In fact, 93 percent of consumers say online reviews have affected their purchasing decisions, according to Podium. Positive online reviews not only help in terms of influencing consumer decisions, but also in terms of SEO. The influence of online reviews on SEO is one that you’ll want to pay attention to—and here’s why.
The main point
Search engines like Google rely on online reviews to help manage search rankings. That means that the influence of online reviews on SEO is a direct one. According to MOZ’s Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, online reviews make up 10.3 percent of overall SEO ranking factors. In other words, search engines want to show you results that other consumers have ranked highly.
Here are a few more specifics regarding the influence of online reviews on SEO.
Prioritizing consumer opinions
Search engines trust consumer opinions in making their ranking determinations—and why shouldn’t they? It’s validly a more neutral opinion than what a business says about itself. Good reviews signal to Google and other search engines that your business is legitimate—and that people are responding positively to their interactions with your business and/or products. That being said, it makes sense that Google would want to rank these businesses higher than ones with poor reviews—or with no reviews at all.
Voice assistants are also getting in on the action. When searching for the “best” type of business in a given location, Google equates “best” with those businesses with high ratings. For example, “Best coffee shops in midtown Atlanta” would yield results from highly-ranked coffee shops in that area.
More reviews, more traffic
It’s simple—the more reviews a business or product has, the more traffic is going to pages associated with your brand. Traffic is another driving factor in SEO. Search engine algorithms see active pages as ones that they should prioritize higher in the ranking. Again, this goes back to trusting consumers. If consumers think a page is viable enough to frequent, then Google will think it more viable as well. And what attracts people to your pages? Positive reviews that will help them make buying decisions.
Reviews educate search engines
Search engines are regularly crawling the internet to reassess their rankings. When people create content about your business and/or product(s), they are helping to educate search engines on what your business and/or products(s) are all about. The explanations, descriptions and keywords contained in review copy help point search engines in the right direction in terms of knowing how to categorize (and rank) your digital assets.
Search results and review sites
When we talk about online reviews, where are we looking? Some of the giants of the online review world include Google My Business (leaving a review on a Google listing), Yelp and Facebook. On Amazon, product reviews are also obviously king. With an abundance of reviews, your listings on these actual sites could come up in search results for your brand (or keywords related to it).
The influence of online reviews on SEO is apparent. After all, it’s the word-of-mouth of the internet! The more you have people positively talking about you online, the better chance that search engines will follow suit.
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