How much do customer reviews affect your local SEO? A 2018 study by Moz showed that Google places reviews in the top 8 of ranking factors, making up at least 15% of the weight of factors involved in Local Pack and 6.5% in localized searches.
This is no surprise, given that Google’s goal is to guide users to businesses that are reputable and can be trusted. When it comes to getting reviews, it’s important to distill what’s actually valuable about a review. It comes down to three primary factors: the quantity of ratings, the frequency of ratings, and the diversity of ratings.
The Quantity of Ratings
This likely seems obvious to most. The more positive ratings you have, the better you look to potential users. Even if your average review is 5 stars, if you only have three reviews, you can’t compete as well for the click against a business with an average review of 4.8 stars and 300 reviews. It’s important to continually solicit reviews from customers.
The Frequency of Ratings
We are guilty of this faux pas. We got ratings on Google in our early days of business, but as the years went by, we were not intentional about soliciting reviews. Thus, we have a big gap in time with no reviews. That can leave someone searching on Google wondering what we were doing during that period of time. While we were still producing great results for clients during that time period, Google doesn’t know, so they can’t reward us for that work with higher rankings.
The Diversity of Ratings
As more reviews come in, Google begins to categorize them by topic. While some reviews might focus more on customer service, others might focus on the result of the service they received or the product they bought. These categorizations, which Google labels “people often mention,” allow Google to guide users to read the reviews that are most relevant to what they care about.