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Reviews are a massive part of the online world now, and an absolute essential for online retailers.

Online reviews have a significant impact on local SEO and can be the difference between a year of record profits for your company, or one where you need a magnifying glass to spot the growth in revenue.

Review stars in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) can improve your click-through rate by up to 35 percent, while your customers value reviews from their peers as much as recommendations from their friends and family.

That’s why I’ve detailed what reviews mean for your local SEO, and how your brand can use them to maximize your company’s earning potential. So read on and find out why Google loves a local business.

Read also: 52 Business Listing Directories and Sites You Need to Know for Local SEO

Reviews Mean Rankings

SEO is all about getting your company’s website as high up as possible in the SERPs for Google, Bing, Yahoo, and any other search engine. Reviews are one of the most important factors in local SEO and make a big difference to your rankings. Don’t believe me? Believe the stats:

  • Having at least five reviews on Google can lead to a 1.85 co-efficient improvement in your local SEO ranking.
  • Reviews account for 13% of the ranking factors in local SEO.

It’s no surprise that reviews are such an important ranking factor in local SEO because the buying decisions of 90 percent of your customers are influenced by them.

Search engines exist to give the most accurate answer to the questions they posed by their users. If almost all of them trust online reviews, then it’s a no-brainer that they use them to decide how to rank your website.

What type of reviews do you want?

All reviews are not created equally. Both Google and your customers place a different value on different types of reviews. Because of this, some reviews are more valuable to local SEO than others:

  • 49 percent of your customers won’t even consider buying from your business if you have less than a 4-star review rating
  • 77 percent of your customers think that reviews aren’t relevant if they’re older than 3 months
  • 18 percent of your customers are only interested in reviews added in the last 2 weeks

It’s not only the number of stars you have and how recently your reviews were added that matter to your local SEO; longer reviews are valued more highly than short ones, so encourage your customers to write in paragraphs, not single word summaries.

Which review sources are important for local SEO?

Google remains the most important source of reviews for local SEO. This means that in order to give your business the best chance of ranking well, you must set it up on Google My Business.  

On Google My Business, you can create or claim a free business listing that is designed specifically to make your business more visible in SERPs, by enabling you to increase your presence on Google Search and Maps.

But while Google is crucial, it’s not the only source of reviews that are used to determine local SEO rankings. Among the many other sources are:  

  • CitySearch
  • TripAdvisor
  • Foursquare
  • Facebook
  • InsiderPages
  • Yahoo Local
  • Yelp

But even those sites, social media platforms, and search engines aren’t the end; beyond established review sites are YouTube testimonials, and guest blogs that feature reviews of your business are all used to determine local SEO rankings.

ReviewTrackers consolidates reviews from all these sources and collects them in one all-in-one review management and customer feedback dashboard. Sign up for a free demo of ReviewTrackers here.

How your business can maximize local SEO

Now that you know how to get your company on Google My Business you’ve taken the first step in maximizing your local SEO. The next steps are:

  • Ask your new customers. Up to 70 percent of your customers will leave a review of your business if you just ask them to. Add a pop-up to your website that becomes active once your customers have completed purchase, or send a review request email after a transaction, as you know at this stage your customers are happy with your business which makes them more likely to leave a good review.
  • Contact your loyal customers. You know already that part of running a successful business is having a long email list; email has the highest ROI of all forms of marketing and the best response rate. Using automation software makes it easy for compose a template email or newsletter, asking your customers to post a review of your business, send it to your list of contacts and then measure your response rate.
  • Build and use your community. Your business is part of a community, one comprised of companies in your local area, and this gives you the opportunity to form an army behind the shared goal of local promotion. Offer to write a guest post for other local businesses on the understanding that they do the same for you, and/or that you can link to your own website in the post. This will help raise the local profile of your company on Google. But don’t stop there: fill your own blog up with relevant local content to let Google build the association between your brand and your local area.  

Your business needs to use every tool at your disposal if you want to have the highest possible profits and local SEO can be a potent weapon, if you use it right. So start putting the lessons of this article into practice and your company can be even more successful than it already is.

This is a guest post by Kayleigh Alexandra, who is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site dedicated to spreading the word about startups and small businesses of all shapes and sizes. Visit the blog for the latest marketing insights and SEO pointers from top experts. Follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.

Migs Bassig

Migs is the Content Manager for ReviewTrackers. He's a creative writer who has helped numerous companies communicate more effectively online, and he loves sharing his local marketing knowledge to help brands and business succeed.