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Today we continue presenting the excellent article by Graham Charlton titled “The importance of user reviews for local SEO”.  

The following section of the article focuses on which of the many review sources are important for local SEO.

Which review sources are important for local SEO?

There are a number of review sources that Google can use, or which play a part in local search visibility.

Google reviews

This is the most important source. These review scores are an important signal for Google.

Indeed, Moz attributes review signals 8.4% of its ranking factor pie.

moz-local-ranking1

A Google My Business listing is now an absolute essential for local search. It’s free to set up, it’s one of the best things you can do to improve local SEO visibility.

Also, you don’t need to be an SEO expert, or to hire one to get the basics right.

If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to claim your Google My Business page. This isn’t the place for another guide to set up, but the following features are important:

  • A long and unique description of your business.
  • Choose the right categories.
  • Key information on opening times.
  • Lots of imagery.
  • Regular updates.
  • A local phone number and business address.
  • Reviews from customers.

You’ll find plenty more tips in Greg Gifford’s excellent presentation from Brighton SEO this year.

greg-gifford

For Google to show your reviews, you’ll need at least five reviews, while Greg recommends at least 10 Google reviews before you target other sources. It also helps if you have more than your competitors.

Our next post from this article will focus on other review aggregators beside Google.  As usually, visit our website, or call u at (916) 933-7414.  Cheers!

I read a great and very thorough article today in Search Engine Watch, about the growing importance and value of having published reviews in top review sites.  The author, Graham Charlton, really goes deep into the How’s and Why’s of customer reviews and their impact of search engine visibility and trust.  Below is the first part of the article.  The rest will follow over the next few days.

To discuss SEO, the impact of online reviews, and how we can help you increase you revenue and online credibility, call us at (916) 933-7414.

The importance of user reviews for local SEO

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

They’re also vital for local businesses, whether or not they sell online, thanks to their sheer prominence in local search results.

Just look at this mobile search for restaurants in Chicago. The best organic listings are taken by the restaurants with good reviews:

chicago-rest

After this the next organic listings are mainly from review sites – Yelp, TripAdvisor, Time Out, Zagat, and so on. Only a couple of actual restaurant sites make it onto the first SERP.

While not every local search is exactly like this, the trend is clear. Indeed, the Google My Business listings are so dominant that many users will not even look at the other organic results.

In summary, if you want a prominent position in the local SERPs, you need user reviews.

If you want to encourage clickthroughs, or physical visits, you need good reviews.

Why reviews work

In a nutshell, it’s the power of social proof. People need reassurance and confirmation that their actions are the right ones.

So, when people are thinking about buying a particular camera, seeing an average review rating of 4 stars, or reading positive reviews may provide the extra push they need.

For local searches, if you see a restaurant with an average score of 4.6 from 465 reviews, like the Girl & the Goat above, then it looks like a safe choice.

There are so many stats around reviews that I could pluck almost any number out to show how many read them before buying, how they are trusted more than other sources, and so on.

The bottom line is that they are used a lot and relied upon by many web users.

This, from BrightLocal’s local consumer review survey, is relevant to this article. 88% read reviews to determine the quality of a local business. 

brightlocal-reviews-seo

Tomorrow, we will talk about the importance of different review sources and sites.

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