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Importance of Online Reviews In Local SEO

Online reviews for local SEO

The power of online reviews in local SEO strategies

The Internet has radically changed the way people shop for everything today. Almost every purchase decision begins with an online search. Before making a purchase, people seek reassurance that they have made the right decision, which comes from user reviews. Online reviews represent firsthand experiences that give potential customers an idea of the quality and value of the product or service they are intending to buy.

Potential customers find user reviews more relatable and reliable than advertising. This means, having a good number of positive online reviews can give your business several advantages. From boosting your local search presence to increasing your sales, there is a lot that online reviews can do for you.  

Why are online reviews so important for local businesses? 

Small businesses can benefit from online reviews for local SEO improvement. However, the important role they play is by offering social proof, which acts as a reference point for potential customers searching for a local business.  

Here are some important facts highlighting the importance of online reviews for local SEO 

  • 82% of consumers will research products online before going in-store to make a purchase.
  • It has been shown that 98% of people at least ‘occasionally’ read online reviews for local businesses. 76% of people “always” or “regularly” read online reviews for local businesses. 
  • 49% of consumers selected positive consumer reviews in their top 3 purchase influences
  • According to local search experts, review signals make up 17% of Google Local Pack ranking factors
  • 53% of brands and retailers report that online reviews have a positive impact on in-store sales
  • A single positive review can increase conversions by 10%, while 100 reviews can lead to a 37% increase

Online reviews as a local search ranking factor 

Online reviews are believed to be an important local SEO ranking factor. According to MOZ’s Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, online reviews make up 10% of how Google and other search engines decide to rank search results. Some important signals include: 

Listings on review sites

Apart from Google, getting listed on other review sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List, and Glassdoor can prove very useful.   

Number of positive reviews

Earning high-quality positive reviews and interacting with customers increases the likelihood of a potential customer visiting the store. 

Reviews with locations and keywords

When keywords and locations are included in reviews, it sends signals to Google that it is a trusted local business.  

Reviews with responses

According to Google, the owner’s replies to online reviews are an important indicator of trust. It shows that the page is actively managed.  

No response to negative reviews

When it comes to ranking signals, Google expects businesses to respond to both positive and negative reviews. The percentage of negative reviews that are not responded to can negatively impact rankings. 

Apart from being an important ranking factor,  reviews are also helpful in cultivating trust. This makes them even more useful for small, local businesses that often struggle with establishing trust when competing with larger businesses. Also, online reviews are considered are considered a trusted source of information. Potential customers tend to trust online reviews more than advertisements. In fact, it has been shown that people trust online reviews as much as recommendations from their family and friends.  

In a nutshell, online reviews are evidence of a business’s excellence and reliability. They influence both search rankings and customer decisions. So, they are critical for local SEO success. Local businesses need to focus on the quality, quantity, and recency of their online reviews to maximize their chances of appearing in local pack results. It is equally important for businesses to engage with the reviewers and respond to the reviews, both negative and positive.  

Contact our expert team to elevate your business’s local search ranking. We specialize in optimizing your online presence for greater visibility and success.


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