Google reviews have become one of the most important local SEO ranking factors for businesses. With over 1 billion active Google My Business users, customer feedback on Google carries tremendous weight. The number and quality of your Google reviews can directly influence how high your business ranks in local search results.
Here’s an in-depth look at exactly how Google reviews affect SEO and search rankings.
Google Reviews Signal Your Business Reputation
Google wants to provide the highest quality, most useful local search results possible. Customer reviews help Google understand real-world experiences at businesses so they can determine which are most reputable and trustworthy.
Positive Google reviews indicate customers are highly satisfied with your business. This signals that you offer exceptional products, services and experiences worthy of ranking highly. Negative reviews suggest poor experiences that Google will view less favorably.
Having no or very few Google reviews can also negatively impact your rankings. It makes your business reputation more ambiguous and untested in Google’s eyes.
More Reviews Strengthen Your Prominence
In addition to the content of reviews, the quantity of ratings and reviews factors into local SEO as well. The more total reviews your Google Business Profile has, the stronger its overall reputation profile will be.
Hundreds of 4- and 5-star Google reviews will give your business much greater local SEO authority in Google’s algorithm. You’ll send strong signals about your brand prominence and ability to satisfy customers.
On the other hand, having just a handful of reviews makes your business seem less established. Higher volumes of customer feedback carry more weight.
Responding to Reviews Builds Trust
Actively monitoring and responding to Google reviews also plays a role. When you reply to customer feedback – positive or negative – it shows you closely manage your online reputation.
Replying shows customers you value their opinions. It also gives you a chance to resolve issues and thank happy customers. This level of engagement establishes more trust and authority in Google’s eyes.
Reviews Influence the Local Pack & Maps
Google reviews directly factor into your business listings on two important SERP features – the Local Pack and Google Maps.
For featured snippets that show a group of 3 local listings, Google picks businesses with the strongest combination of relevance and reputation. More positive Google reviews help you earn a coveted spot in the Local Pack.
Similarly, Google Maps displays ratings and reviews right alongside business listings. Meeting location and relevance criteria is not enough – your reputation again comes into play. The best rated businesses within a searched area tend to appear most prominently on Maps.
Review Volume Can Rank You in the Local Finder
One more way Google reviews influence local SEO is by qualifying your business for the Local Finder pack. This section only appears when Google detects high local demand and competition for a keyword.
To determine which businesses earn one of the coveted Local Finder spots, Google again considers prominence signals like total review volume. Meeting the threshold can mean the difference between ranking or not.
How to Earn More Google Reviews
Now that you know Google reviews are essential for local SEO, here are some tips to start getting more:
- Add review generation to your onboarding and post-purchase processes.
- Monitor review sites and respond promptly to feedback.
- Offer incentives for happy customers to review you.
- Promote reviews on your website, email signatures, and receipts.
- Collect email addresses to request reviews from recent customers.
The more 5-star Google reviews you can accumulate, the better your local search visibility and rankings will become.
Google Reviews Are a Top Local Ranking Factor
User-generated Google reviews provide one of the best signals to Google regarding your business’s reputation and prominence. The volume and sentiment of ratings and reviews directly sway how highly your Google Business Profile ranks for relevant local searches.
Monitoring and actively managing your Google reviews is now essential to compete for the top local pack, map, and finder spots. By excelling in customer experience and satisfaction, you can earn the positive Google reviews needed to rank #1.