Consumers used to rely on word of mouth to decide whether to purchase products and services or not. It’s either that or they had to buy a product just to see for themselves, only to realize it wasn’t worth their money.
People these days are less inclined to make risky purchases now that reviews are not as hard to come by. Buyers can easily access reviews online and make a quick choice – to buy or not to buy?
In a survey conducted by Podium, 93 percent of consumers said their purchasing decision was influenced by online reviews. With the advent of smart buying, there is no better time for businesses to start paying attention to customers and their feedback, especially since it has an impact on your SEO.
4 Ways That Online Reviews Impact SEO
Online reviews can either have a positive or negative impact on key aspects of your business, from how customers see your brand to your SEO. Keeping track of them will help you stay attuned to your customers’ needs so you can create a better experience for them, and at the same time, bolster your SEO efforts.
Here are 4 ways that online reviews affect search engine optimization.
1. It builds your authority
Online reviews are pretty much today’s word of mouth. Except that the word spreads much faster than it does offline – and this could literally make or break your business. What customers have to say about your products and services will affect how other people view your brand since it gives them a picture of what it’s like to buy from you.
If you get good reviews and ratings, potential buyers are more likely to trust you. The more people trust you, the more Google will reward you with improved rankings and authority.
2. It influences conversion rates
According to Podium, as much as 82% of consumers read online reviews before they decide on a purchase. In a separate survey by YouGov, it was revealed that up to 87% of buyers trust online reviews on the same level that they would trust personal recommendations from friends and family. Negative feedback can dissuade potential buyers from going through with a purchase, whereas positive feedback might get them to buy from you.
Businesses often work hard to improve their sales and conversion rates through SEO. But it only takes a few bad reviews to undermine these efforts.
3. It affects your rankings
According to Moz’s Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, online reviews are one of the most important elements when optimizing for the following:
- Google Local Pack. This refers to the top 3 local search results displayed on the first Search Engine Results Page (SERP), before the main search results.
- Google Local Finder. It lists down all local search results, and can only be accessed from the Local Pack.
- Organic search traffic. This includes site visitors which came from the search engine.
Moz added that the impact of online reviews on rankings is increasing. The importance of review signals went up by 43% from 2015 to 2018.
4. It plays a role in how search results are displayed
Online reviews may also affect how a search engine shows results. Businesses with the highest ratings and the highest number of positive reviews are displayed first.
Keep in mind that consumer feedback is a reflection of your brand. Even though you can manage a few negative reviews, the best way to deal with them is not damage control. Rather, you should focus on delivering quality and addressing issues that have been raised by your customers, so you don’t end up wasting your SEO.