Leveraging Online Reviews to Boost Local Search Ranking


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Leveraging Online Reviews to Boost Local Search Ranking

It is not uncommon to find customers going through feedback and online reviews before making a purchase decision. This is because most people believe that other people’s experiences are to be considered more than what companies say about their products. In addition to influencing direct purchase decisions, public customer feedback and online reviews also play an important role in local search.

This means if you want to drive the local search performance and ranking of your business, one of the things you can do is to leverage reviews and feedback. In case you are wondering how to go about this, below are key insights and best practices to get you started.

Local Search and Online Reviews

Even though there are many factors influencing how and where a business appears in local search listings, online reviews happen to be one of the top factors. The dimensions of reviews considered during local search ranking include:

  • The number of reviews
  • The speed of review generation
  • Numerical ratings
  • The diversity of the review sites
  • The authority of review writers

According to a survey done by Moz, review signals tend to be a much bigger factor compared to social signals. In an article that appeared on its support page, Google clarified that reviews were a major factor in local search rankings. As a matter of fact, the search engine picked 3 primary factors which are:

Relevance – This is how well your branded content matches what people are looking for online. For your business listing to be relevant, it must be detailed, complete, and up to date.

Distance – The proximity of your business listings indicated area or location on Google to the term used in the Google search query is hugely important. The user’s location is determined by the device they are using for searching.

Prominence – How well known your business is both online and offline will combine to give you a powerful ranking signal. There are places such as landmark hotels, museums, or store brands that are much more prominent in the offline world. On the other hand, online prominence depends on the amount of information available on the web concerning your business. This is where online reviews, ratings and scores come in handy to make your business shine.

Claiming Your Business Listing

This is first step you need to take to get your organization or brand on Google. Using Google My Business, you can claim or create your business listing. While it is true that sites such as Yelp, Citysearch, TripAdvisor, Foursquare, ad Facebook can help get your business rated or reviewed, Google My Business is what will improve your local search ranking.

As long as you manage your Google My Business listing, you will enjoy significant improvements in local search performance. To do this, you should claim and update your listings and ensure you get strong ratings and reviews.

Ensure Local Data and NAP Consistency

When claiming listings, provide consistent and correct up to date business information. If you do not do this, you may get your local signals wrong. There is a lot of literature on the importance of NAP which stands for Name, Address, Phone Number, but some businesses are yet to get this right. Inconsistent or unstable business information on the web makes it difficult for search engines to trust you and reward you with a high local search ranking.

Upload Reviews to Your Site

Apart from the information online reviews carry, they can easily boost your SEO efforts because they count as dynamic content. For instance, if you can get 800 words of review text, they can make up for close to 70% of fresh content on your page.

Reviews also boost shopper confidence and encourage user interaction. These are critical components of any effective SEO strategy.

Apart from the above steps, ensure you share your reviews on social media and respond to reviews so as to optimise for search. Beware of negative feedback because this can bring down your score.

 

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