Does it matter what other people think of your business? To discover the truth, let’s take a quick trip back through time.

Before there were restaurant review apps and sites, arriving at a restaurant to find an empty parking lot during the dinner hour was a signal to find some place else to eat.

What we mean is that people have always cared about whether others thought a business was good. There’s a whole publication–Consumer Reports–that thrives off of this notion.

People buy books based on journalists’ and booksellers’ opinions, and they see movies that didn’t have to suffer a figurative barrage of rotten fruit. Reviews matter.

They matter so much that 90% of people consider them before making a decision to buy.

You might wonder though if reviews on Google can impact SEO. The truth is, they can and they do.

In this guide, we’re going to go over how they affect SEO so that you can stay on top of your reputation and ensure that it’s helping your business.

Are you ready to dive in? Keep reading to find out how exactly reviews can impact your SEO, followed by some suggestions of when you might ask for a review.

Reviews on Google Affect Your Rankings

A lot of ranking factors happen behind the curtain, so to speak. That is, Google especially is known for keeping its algorithm hidden from SEOs and anyone else.

However, by carefully analyzing trends and data, we can estimate how important various tactics are for higher rankings.

One such estimate suggests that reviews account for almost one-tenth of ranking signals on Google.

Ignoring your reputation or passing up opportunities to garner reviews from satisfied customers is a missed opportunity to increase online visibility that can lead to more conversions.

Let’s take a look at some specific ways that reviews can impact your rankings on Google.

Fresh Content

Google loves when websites publish fresh content. Why do they love it? Because readers love it.

Fresh content can come from many sources:

  • Blogs
  • News & PR
  • Resources
  • Reviews & testimonials
  • New products or services

Reviews and testimonials add new content that lots of people can consume. Remember how at the beginning of this article we said that 90% of people consider reviews when making buying choices?

That comes into play here. It’s supply and demand. The people demand fresh content; if you give it to them, Google might just reward you by boosting your rankings.

More Long-Tail Keyword Traffic

Long-tail keywords are growing in popularity because they are closer to how people speak–and search–than a single word.

Let’s say you sell computers. Rather than trying to rank for “computers,” (this would be really hard by the way because it’s way too general), you might try to rank for a phrase like “gaming computers” or “computers for gaming.”

By being specific, you’re telling Google–and searchers–exactly who will benefit from your content and your business.

One way to get more long-tail keywords onto your site without stuffing (not the food, we’re talking an overabundance of keywords that can make content difficult to read) is to post user reviews.

Many times, users will use the exact language you want to rank for. Why? Because they used those phrases to search for your products before they purchased.

Getting more long-tail keywords can up your ranking on SERPs (search engine results pages).

Higher Social Conversion Rates

When people share your content, products, or services on social media, that ups your social conversion rate.

A higher social conversion rate can positively affect your Google ranking because it’s proof that people care about what you’re selling.

Remember that Google is striving more and more to cater to the user’s experience. Any strides you make to do the same puts you in alignment with their goals.

Even though we don’t know Google’s algorithm, we do know that reviews on Google can boost your social conversion rates, which in turn can boost your SERP rankings.

Google Shows the Love to Highly-Rated Sites

Remember when we mentioned the user experience? It’s everything to Google because people like to go where they have a positive experience.

If the people love your site, then Google is more likely to love your site, and when that happens, you can have a chance at achieving higher rankings.

How can you ask for reviews on Google?

Sometimes asking for reviews can seem overwhelming. But not only do many customers expect it, but there are also plenty of people who will happily review your site if you ask.

Of course, we don’t suggest that you badger people, but there are a number of ways you can go about asking for reviews and testimonials from people.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • You can ask for them from happy customers and clients in person or on the phone.
  • You can include a form on your website for customers to fill out.
  • You can send out an email newsletter asking customers to review your business.
  • You can include a thank you note with each purchase, and in the note invite people to review your site.

No matter how you decide to solicit reviews, obtaining them and monitoring them–along with answering them (especially if they’re negative) is a crucial element of reputation management.

As we established at the beginning of this article, your reputation matters. People love to spread good and bad reviews by word of mouth.

Just because the method of spreading word of mouth has changed doesn’t mean that the importance has shifted.

Reviews are necessary if you want to rank, especially for local SEO.

Missing out on an opportunity to maximize reviews and local SEO means missing out on potential new customers or clients, as well as missing out on potential “Brand Ambassadors” or “Brand Heroes” (the marketing term for anyone who recommends your business).

Do you still have questions about reviews on Google and how they can affect your SEO? If so, please feel free to contact us. We’d love to hear about your business and your SEO challenges.