Reviews from customers that are collected and managed by Google can have a significant impact on digital marketing strategy. In 2023, Google remains the highest trafficked search engine with over 8.5 billion daily searches. As such, it’s not surprising that many consumers look at reviews when making purchasing decisions. This can impact some businesses more than others, however, there are some SEO aspects of Google reviews that can boost visibility regardless of industry.
Let’s delve into whether Google reviews can help SEO and if so, how?
The role of Google reviews for businesses
A Google review is an opportunity for consumers and businesses to interact. To collect them, a business first needs a Google Merchant account. Customers can then either leave a review by filling out a short survey or through the business’s Google listing. Online reviews of any kind are particularly impactful for local businesses, as they help establish its products and services in a certain geographical area.
A business can use these reviews to create a star rating that will appear on their Google business profile. Many will even display positive reviews on the business’s website and social media, in much the same way as testimonials.
How Google reviews can help SEO
We won’t go too deep into how Google’s algorithm selects what goes on its search engine results pages. The main thing to bear in mind is that it aims to be as helpful to the searcher as possible. As a result, reviews are taken into account as they provide a form of feedback around a company and its services. So yes, Google reviews can certainly help SEO but let’s see how.
If you want to know more about how Google prioritises content, check out our blog ‘What is E-A-T and why is it important?’.
One of the most beneficial aspects of Google reviews (positive ones at least!) is that they’re effective at building trust. Online reviews offer reassurance to searchers by acting as recommendations from past customers. They also act as evidence of reliability for Google. Businesses that are perceived as more credible and authoritative in reviews are more highly valued in Google SERPs.
Improving click through rate (CTR)
A result of gaining an increased level is trust is that your business content is more likely to be clicked when it does appear. This is simply because people are more likely to buy from a company that has been proven to provide quality products and services.
Localised searches typically produce a list of businesses in Google maps with their star ratings and review numbers clearly visible. Here, users can easily flick through each business and get a detailed summary of the reviews the business has received. This is just one reason why Google review management is so important for local SEO strategy.
Source of backlinks
A business can make extra use of Google reviews by having them featured on external review websites. This has the potential to create valuable backlinks that can boost SEO performance. As long as the site that links to your business is reputable, Google will consider it a vote of confidence in your products and services.
Backlinks are often an area where businesses that don’t have a lot of digital marketing knowledge struggle. Deliver’s SEO audit services can quickly identify any toxic backlinks that might be damaging your website’s search engine visibility.
Many reviews will feature text alongside a star rating to describe the experience the person had with the business. When these reviews mention specific products or services, it can help the business become more visible for related terms. For example, if someone leaves a review for a restaurant which includes the name of the dish, the business could start ranking higher for that keyword. Popular industry search phrases like ‘restaurant with great service’ could also be featured in the reviews.
Google tends to prioritise new content that’s of high relevance to the searcher. Recent reviews fall into this category, especially as consumers are more concerned with a review from a week ago than ones that are many months old. A steady flow of reviews is the best way to ensure they’re having a positive effect on SEO.
Be warned, neither Google nor consumers will be fooled by business owners uploading multiple 5-star reviews in a short space of time. It could lead to the business dropping down in Google’s rankings as content is labelled as spam, or due to the risk of fake content.
Can negative reviews help SEO?
Actually yes. Though only when they’re managed correctly. Most often, a bad Google review will harm a business’s SERP ranking. This is because bad reviews can indicate a lack of authority and credibility.
To make the most of reviews, both bad and good, it’s recommended that businesses actively engage with them. In the event that someone has had a bad experience, someone with the company can respond to the review with apologies and the promise of remedial action. This demonstrates that the business really does care about their customers.
Then if that bad review and response is followed by good reviews, it shows consumers that the actions of the business have been successful. As a business owner, it’s important not to take bad reviews to heart. In fact, a business with only 5-star reviews can raise suspicion and deter consumers.
SEO specialists Wirral
Creating SEO content and strategies for Google is our bread and butter here at Deliver Media. As a local SEO agency, we’ve helped many businesses harness interactive content like reviews to boost the online visibility of their products and services. We predominantly work with local businesses because we know what it takes to appeal to an audience that’s close by. Get in touch with us today.