Why reviews matter to local SEO

Natalya Stecko
September 20, 2023

4 min read

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Why reviews matter to local SEO
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Did you know over 90% of your future customers will have first contact with your business online?

Studies show that 91% of the public read reviews left by previous customers on your Google Business Profile, with 84% trusting reviews equally to that of a friend.

However, reviews aren’t just a reflection of customer sentiment, and search engines also use them to gauge the relevance of your business in a customer’s search.

Managing reviews has never been more important to SEO strategy, and Mirador Solutions have created a dashboard to help you do so with ease.

What is local SEO?

When your business runs from a physical location, growth in your local market is fundamental to long-lasting success. Local SEO focuses on improving your ranking on customers' search engine result pages (SERPs) in your geographical area.

Why business reviews affect local ranking performance

When search engines analyse reviews, ratings and qualitative feedback are considered. However, reviews that describe your service and indicate customer sentiment, have more weight than a rating alone.

How reviews affect map packs

When customers search online for a service, a Google Map Pack (GMP) displays the businesses that provide the service in their geographical area.

Local businesses in the top three tend to have an average rating of around 4.1, while the first position typically has the highest number of reviews. Regarding GMP ranking, both the quality and quantity of your reviews have an impact.

What businesses need to do to get reviews

Below are some useful tips for cultivating a consistent stream of reviews.

Don’t be afraid to ask A flow of service that integrates review requests is an effective way to increase feedback. Asking at the check-out, using in-store displays, or sending a friendly reminder via E-Receipts are all great on-site methods.

In addition, many review platforms such as Google, Yelp or Facebook allow you to request customer reviews. However, it’s essential to read a platform’s guidelines prior to doing so.

Ask while it’s fresh It is best to approach recent customers for qualitative feedback. Their experience with your business will be fresh in their mind, so they can provide more detailed feedback.

Make it easy In the age of smartphones, QR codes are a great way to prompt reviews with minimal effort from the customer. Internet links directing customers to industry-specific review platforms like Tripadvisor or your Google Business Profile (GBP) can also be featured in electronic signatures, receipts, and website content.

Keep your Google Business Profile up to date Customers are likelier to leave a review if they can find you as easily online as in-store. Your GBP is the online window to your business and should contain up-to-date opening hours and business locations across all sites.

Review components that influence SEO

Two primary review aspects influence SEO.

  • Quality: Where your review has come from matters. A review from an industry-recognised platform, such as Google, Yelp or Trip Advisor, will have more influence on your SERP ranking than a review left through social media.
  • Content: Qualitative reviews have a greater impact on SERP ranking than ratings alone, as they may contain specific information about your business and can indicate customer sentiment.

Tips for getting positive reviews

Studies show that around 60% of the reviews left on Google are neutral in tone, while those that used distinctly positive language were around 38%. Beating the statistics and getting consistently positive reviews can be tricky, so here are two fundamentals when trying to bump your reviews out of the neutral zone:

Two-point Check back on your customer

Checking back on your customer while they receive a service, as well as after, makes a customer feel valued and allows you to troubleshoot before any problems arise.

Where possible, it’s also a great way to open a face-to-face dialogue. Personalising your service will make you stand out from their previous experiences in a positive way.

Online Review Management

Many platforms allow you to respond to customer reviews. Thanking customers for their business personally and addressing the specifics of their feedback will show both present and future customers that their feedback is welcome and valued.

What to do when your business receives a negative review

Despite best efforts, all businesses will be faced with a negative review. This can be frustrating, especially if the described problem is out of your control.

However, they also provide valuable feedback and can be turned around with a careful response.

What not to do when you get a negative review

There are multiple ways to worsen a situation when responding to a negative review. Here are a few of the most common ways.

Delay your response or ignore it It only takes one or two bad reviews to impact your online business rating. Too many of them would build a poor brand reputation, which would be off-putting to new customers.

Apologise without offering a solution A sincere apology is the first line of response to any customer complaint. However, if a customer has invested time and money in your business, following up with remedial action will give you the best chance of changing the review outcome.

Place blame on the customer This can lead to an unhelpful back and forth online and, more often, to losing the customer.

How Mirador simplifies the review process

Multiple business locations would result in managing multiple Google Business Profiles and scattered reviews, which are time-consuming. With Mirador Solutions, the process is simplified.

With a mobile and user-friendly experience, the Mirador dashboard is designed to allow businesses to manage all their GBP listings from one place, including site information and customer reviews.

With Mirador helping to streamline your online presence and a local SEO strategy in place, attracting new customers and outranking competitors online is within your reach.