Tips on Protecting Your Website from Negative SEO
August 31, 2018
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Local SEO Ranking – Is It Affected by Google Reviews?

Optimising websites for local search should be a priority for small business owners like you. This marketing strategy can help you compete with bigger, more popular stores by increasing your visibility online. It also allows you to reach a more targeted audience, thereby, increasing your chances for conversions. Reports show that over 50% of local searches on mobile devices result in same-day store visits.

Moreover, local SEO is something you can no longer take for granted, especially with the rise in the number of people using their mobile devices for browsing. Around 33% of mobile users do an online search prior to visiting a store. Most of these queries were done to find out or confirm the location of a business. The other details users look for when doing online searches are contact information of and directions to the store. Lastly, research shows that 78% of local mobile searches result in a purchase. Just imagine the opportunity you’d be losing if you don’t prioritise local SEO.

Clearly, ranking high on local searches can help your business stay competitive. So, what can you do to end up at the top of local search engine results pages (SERPs)? There are various factors that affect local search rankings – this includes online reviews.

It has long been established that online reviews are central to the success of local SEO strategy. A recent survey showed that review signals account for 10% of how search engines like Google rank local search engine results. Another study claimed that websites with more reviews have better local rankings, too.

While its known that reviews matter, there’s no confirmation as to whether the platform where they’re posted on has an impact on the rankings. The long-time speculation is that Google somehow favours reviews and ratings on its own platform.

Just this May, Google removed reviews for numerous small businesses. The deleted feedback came from anonymous accounts without any linked profiles to them. This incident provided a good opportunity for a case study on whether Google reviews, in particular, affect local SEO ranking.

The findings showed that days after losing reviews, studied websites also dropped in rankings. A month after the deletion, some of these websites maintained their last known position. Meanwhile, one website’s rank further dropped a level. What’s noteworthy, though, is that one website which gained additional reviews moved up one position. With these results, it can be said that the number of Google reviews has an impact on local search rankings.

So, be proactive in getting reviews. Do not just wait for clients to act on their own. Politely ask them to rate your business and give a short feedback. After all, 70% of clients are willing to give a review if companies request them to do so.

In addition, ensuring that your website has countless reviews does not just help your local rankings. It also impacts customer journey. According to reports, around 70% of customers read at least four reviews or more before trusting a company.

However, the number of reviews should not just be your focus; you must also prioritise the quality. Basically, you need to have several good ratings and feedback. A survey showed that customers only pay attention to businesses with ratings of 3.3 and above. Moreover, positive reviews inspire trust in a company for at least 70% of online users. What’s even great is that many of those that read good reviews take an affirmative action, either physically visiting or calling the shop. In fact, one study found out that around 82% of online user say that good reviews have prompted them to make a purchase.

Lastly, while the extent of the impact of Google reviews on local search is not fully known, what’s clear is that having positive, online feedback on Google has great benefits. For one, you may end up on the so-called local SEO three-pack which can give you additional visibility.

In summary, a strong local SEO strategy entails building a good reputation online through reviews on Google and other websites. So, capitalise on this fact – provide first-rate products and/or services and ask your clients for positive reviews.

Want to improve your local SEO ranking? Our experienced SEO specialists can make this happen! Call us at 01 960 9023 or visit our website today!

 

 

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