Updated: Mar 13
Why Google reviews are so important
Google reviews are one of the most important tools for businesses today. Google is the world’s largest search engine, meaning that most people turn to Google first when looking for a product or service. With consumer trust in online reviews on the rise in recent years, Google has become the leading business review site. Nearly all customers read Google reviews before they make their purchase decisions.
Businesses must pay attention to Google reviews. Negative reviews can make businesses look bad and turn potential customers away. On the other hand, positive Google reviews can boost a business’s ranking on Google searches and help them stand out from competitors.
Google reviews and SEO: 5 main factors considered
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a process that helps businesses improve their search engine rankings and drive more organic traffic. Online reviews are a very important part of SEO because they can help improve a business’s ranking and visibility in search results. Google is incredibly popular, and if you want your business to be found, you absolutely need reviews from your customers.
That said, Google doesn’t only consider the overall star rating of your reviews when determining search rankings. They also look at the following criteria listed below.
1. Overall review rating
Your average review rating can determine whether your customers move forward with a purchase from your business or turn to your competitors instead. Your overall rating can also determine whether potential customers will look at your business at all.
According to recent data, 40% of customers trust a business with at least a four-star average rating, while 10.5% of customers won’t visit a business under 4.5 stars.
Most people choose businesses with a high but realistic average score. With a low average star rating, your business won’t appear credible. On the other hand, an extremely high rating might lead customers to believe your reviews are fabricated. Customers are most likely to trust businesses with at least a 4-star rating.
2. Volume of reviews
Businesses with a high volume of four or five-star ratings will rank higher in search results. The number of Google reviews a business has plays a significant role in its overall success and reputation. For example, it’s not enough for a business to have a 4.5-star average rating but only five reviews. Customers also consider review volume when deciding which businesses to patronize.
If a business only has five positive reviews, most customers won’t be convinced to visit and might assume the positive trend is just based on luck. On the other hand, if a business has hundreds of positive reviews, it’s reasonable for a potential customer to assume previous customers are happy with the business. There is a solid dataset to support the average star rating.
3. Recency of reviews
Both potential customers and Google pay close attention to how recent your reviews are when determining the trustworthiness of your business. In fact, 80% of customers say the recency of reviews is an important part of their buying decisions. Most people only read reviews written in the last three months, which means consumers consider fresh reviews as important as the volume and ratings of reviews.
Plus, Google also considers current, active businesses more relevant. Stale reviews show Google that your business is inactive or not currently pulling in customers. Without a steady stream of fresh reviews, you’re more likely to rank lower in search results related to your industry. On the other hand, a constant flow of current reviews will show Google that your business is thriving and rank you higher in search results.
4. Responding to reviews
Regularly responding to customer reviews on Google can help with SEO. After all, Google trusts and values many of the same things your customers do. Customers notice and appreciate businesses willing to spend time acknowledging their comments and concerns. By responding to reviews, you’ll show Google you care about engaging with and impressing your customers.
This is especially important when it comes to negative reviews. These reviews can harm a business because people might read them before they decide if they want to buy something from the business. If they don’t see a response from the business addressing the negative comments, they’re likely to believe the same thing will happen to them.
If a company gets a negative review, it’s important for the company to respond to that customer quickly. Responding to negative feedback shows the customer that the company cares about their experience and takes any issues seriously. Taking the time to provide an appropriate response doesn’t just look professional. It might also help a business improve its services in the future.
5. Keywords in reviews
Customer reviews are often filled with relevant keywords. Google loves keywords because they want to make sure people are getting the best information on the topics they are searching for. For example, Google reviews that include keywords related to your industry, like “best hair salon in Palo Alto,” can help Google identify your business’s products and services. As a result, Google then connects your business to related searches and ranks you higher.