Reviews Work. Here’s Why…
Google is continually striving to achieve a more personalized search experience for its users. This was the whole idea behind their EAT update (expertise, authority, and trustworthiness) published in August of 2018. While things like keyword placement and link building are still important, this subtle tweak to their algorithm encouraged their ranking system to place a higher value on things like social proof. Testimonials and reviews now have a much more direct effect on your website’s SEO.
Reviews are particularly important when trying to get your local business ranked in Google Search. In fact, according to a study conducted by Local SEO Guide, the number of reviews with the searched-for keyword is the second most influential ranking factor when trying to get your local business’s website to appear among the top results in Google.
For example, here’s a look at the Google result page when I enter “web design edmonton” into the search field:
Notice how CreoLogic Web Design has it’s 5-star rating clearly displayed on the results page? Well, this rating is generated by customer reviews. This means that if you have good customer reviews, anytime someone conducts a search for “(product/service) in (your Area),” you will have a greater chance of ranking high for that particular query.
But why does Google value reviews so highly and how do reviews specifically help your site’s SEO?
Let’s take a look!
How Do Reviews Help Your Website’s SEO?
1. Google Places a High Level of Trust in Your Customers
Anyone can brag about their own products or services by saying things like “we’re the top provider of…we offer the highest-quality…we’re the longest-standing business in the industry… etc.” But when you’re saying these things about yourself, it’s just talk – and to Google, talk is cheap. You need to show search engines how you’re “the top provider in your industry” by giving them reviews to analyze so they can validate your claims.
Circling back to the EAT rating, reviews are all about building trust by gathering information from a third-party source (your customers). This sends the message to search engines that your business has been helpful in the past, and it will likely be helpful in the future.
2. Reviews Give Google More Content to Read
Search engine crawlers are constantly combing over your site, looking for any new information that has been added since the last time your pages were analyzed. Let’s go back to the example above where I searched “web design edmonton.” In the screenshot, you can see that CreoLogic has received 46 customer reviews.
Each of these 46 reviews help to describe your products and services, providing search engine crawlers with a steady diet of fresh content containing keywords related to your business. This keeps them satisfied and aids in your site’s SEO.
3. Reviews Encourage Higher Click-Through Rates
When people are searching for a product or service similar to the ones you provide, they like to see that previous customers have had a positive experience with your business. That’s why they’ll often check reviews of your company before visiting your website.
Would you click on a business that has a 2-star rating when you see that the one above it has a 5-star rating? Probably not!
That’s why having more positive reviews than your competitors can encourage higher click-through rates which often results in an endless cycle of positive feedback that improves your website’s SEO. Here’s what I mean:
1. People see the quality reviews on your site and are therefore more likely to click through to your website.
2. When more people are clicking through to your website, Google realizes that you must be providing exceptional value to your customers.
3. When Google realizes you are providing exceptional value, it rewards you with higher search rankings, influencing even more people to click through to your site.
And on and on it goes…
How to Incorporate Reviews on Your Website
There are a number of tools you can use to help generate customer reviews for your site. For example, Trustpilot allows business owners to upload their mailing lists and invite customers to review their business. Another helpful tool is called Feefo. Feefo allows you to create customizable displays of reviews on your website to help establish social proof.
It’s also a good idea to enlist the help of a professional SEO/Web Design agency with the know-how and expertise that will set you up for SEO success. CreoLogic has been helping small businesses build and maintain search-engine-friendly websites for years. For more information on their services, please contact them today!