Review websites (e.g., Google, Yelp) can be your best friend and your worst enemy all at the same time. Just about every consumer nowadays has a platform to voice their opinions about your business and products or services.

Online reviews written on authoritative websites, such as Google and Facebook, play an important role in digital marketing. Consumers (and Google) use review websites to determine a brand’s authority and expertise. Ignoring even one negative review is something that is not recommended for this reason alone. Most consumers do not have the time to read the reviews in their entirety. The star system alone can create enough doubt and uncertainty to send your prospect into the arms of your competitor. If consumers do not trust you, it is more than likely that Google and other search engines will not trust you, either.

Don’t believe us? In this blog post, our online reputation management team of experts in Toronto tackles two frequently asked questions recently posed on Twitter chats: 1) How do we know Online Reviews matter? And 2) Why do online reviews matters to SEO?

How Do We Know that Online Reviews Matter?

When you consider all the algorithm updates that have been unveiled by Google in the past eight years, online reviews is the ultimate underdog. Content creation and link building have always taken center stage. Despite the low publicity, online reviews play an important role in organic search. Businesses should pay more attention to them, especially if they are investing in Google Local services.

According to a Local SEO Ranking Factors study performed last year by Local SEO Guide, a Google My Business review that includes a searched-for keyword is the second-most powerful factor when examining a local business’ performance in the “Local Pack”.

Take the following screenshot as the perfect example. It proves that Google reviews really matter:

In this screenshot, we did a search for Italian Restaurant in Toronto on Google. In our search, one of the factors Google used to decide which restaurants to display in the Local Pack was reviews. Specifically, take notice of the snippets of reviews at the bottom of each business’ space – our search terms are bolded, indicating Google’s determination of relevance.

Do online reviews still matter to non-local businesses? If your business is an ecommerce with no physical location, there’s still research that backs up the importance of reviews for SEO purposes. Review management platform Yotpo studied the impact of adding customer reviews onto a sample of online businesses’ websites. They claim that over a 9 month study, Google organic page views increased from somewhere around 5.5k a month to a staggering 8k a month.

Why Do Online Reviews Matter to SEO

Simply put, online reviews written by consumers impact organic rankings because they matter to consumers. According to a recent study, a a whopping 84% of shoppers say they trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation. However not every consumer is ready to trust the first review they read, which is why 68% of people say they read at least four reviews before making a purchasing. If someone is willing to trust a review from a stranger, it is important that those reviews are positive and speak highly of your business.

Because reviews matter so much to consumers, they can no longer be ignored by digital marketing agencies and their clients. Businesses with more online reviews naturally show up higher on the search engines when someone is searching for a business like yours in their area. According to a recent MOZ survey, online reviews are thought to make up 10% of how Google and other search engines decide to rank search results. That’s pretty large when you consider what it actually is. They’re ranking your business higher on the search engines, simply because of the reviews customers are leaving.

iRISEmedia | Online Reputation Management Company – Toronto

IRISEmedia is a digital marketing agency that focuses on helping clients in Canada, the U.S. and globally with digital marketing services consisting of website design, app development, social media marketing management, online reputation management and online branding. Our team helps clients manage and grow their online presence and branding to increase qualified web traffic, leads and revenue. If you would like to speak to one of our Online Reputation Experts for a free consultation please contact us today at 1-855-493-3622 or visit us on our website.

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