Today more than ever, customers are using online review sites like Yelp, Facebook, Google, etc. to determine whether they should invest their money in any particular product type or service. For customers looking to obtain information about a product or brand online, reviews have become a reliable source of information as 92% of the customers read online reviews and 88% trust them as much as personal recommendations.

Whether or not a business is dealing with selling products online, local businesses today have gained a sheer presence in search engine results page, showing us the importance of online reviews.

Regardless of what kind of business one is running today, online reviews have become one of the most important factors in determining the ranking of a business on the search results page.

Online reviews are just not essential for a business owner from an online reputation management point of view, but they are also important as they have the ability to affect a brands presence on local search engines.

How online reviews affect Local SEO?

Online reviews are one of the top factors that determine your ranking on Google: As per Moz’ report, review signals make up for top 7% of what makes your brand rank on Google. This clearly shows that online reviews not just leave an impact on your business but also on your local SEO. These review signals include review velocity, review quantity, review diversity, etc.

Positive reviews give an extra push to your business on local search engines, thereby giving you a high click-through rate.

Online reviews help generate unique content:

Online reviews are one of the best ways of generating fresh and unique content for your website. User-generated content is more influential and reliable that makes readers directly click on your website to get more information about the product. This user-generated content thus becomes useful for you as well as your brand’s ranking on search engines.

Star ratings matter the most to local search users:

No matter even if you rank at the top of a search results page, but having a low star rating can affect your business and cannot guarantee you, visitors. Since star ratings are easy to understand and in a way define a brand’s efficiency to serve its customers, it’s imperative that your business is highly rated on search engines.

 Pace and timing of the reviews matter:

As per a study, the pace and the recency at which a business generates reviews matters the most as reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant to the readers. So maintaining a steady flow of reviews is imperative to improve your brand’s presence on local search.

Photos play an important role:

When it comes to improving local SEO, photos posted by your users play an important role. Visual content is not only appealing to the eyes, but also to local search engines as they provide you with better visibility considering 88% of consumers like to look at photos and videos posted by other customers prior to making a purchase.

For this, what you can do is first, make your business location photo-friendly and ask your customers to post photographs and write good reviews along with on the review websites.

Review sites matter the most:

While looking for a business, customers highly rely on local search engines, review website, Google reviews as they help them make a better decision. Having positive reviews on Google as well as other review websites matter as search engines give authority and more credibility to good reviews.

Response to the reviews:

Responding to reviews not only means that you care about your business, but it also provides search engines with a source of fresh content. As per a Cornell study, revenue and rating of a brand increases as the number of review responses increase. And failure to respond to any reviews lead to low revenue and ratings.

Considering the above ways by which online reviews impact your local search, it’s imperative that you as a business owner monitor reviews closely and have an online review generating tool to constantly keep on generating new reviews.

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