Why Google Reviews Matter [Updated June 5, 2018]
We Know Google
In any local market, just like ours here in Durham, NC, Google reviews play a vital role. Like them or not, they help frame the public image of your business. To be clear, all reviews have merit and provide valuable insight to your business, however, Google reviews carry a bit more weight. Let’s find out why.
Why Are Google Reviews So Special?
We often hear from clients that focus on gathering reviews, but only a handful focus on Google reviews. Review hubs like Yelp or Facebook have made sense for a long time, but that time is passing. Our online society has evolved quickly, incorporating reviews to better offset the lack of in-person interaction between online businesses and customers, and in the process, creating a huge industry around these ‘ratings’. Not long ago, Yelp was considered the go-to place for evaluating a restaurant, cafe or bar. Indeed, these evaluations on Yelp proved to be directly proportional to how well their business did with online customers, and thus, a lot of time and effort was put into cultivating good reviews. Of course, Yelp had its own host of problems and the industry has been increasingly moving to Google reviews ever since. Why? Because Google reviews carry a lot of weight, due, in no small part, to these factors:
In short, it’s easier. A user can leave a review for your company without ever having to leave Google search page. Leaving a Google review has never been easier today, and consumers only have to type your company name into Google to find all the information they’ll want before making a purchasing decision. All you have to do is post a link like this!
Google reviews are targeted, shown to users who are looking for related goods or services. Reviews are shown in search results, Google Business pages and, most surprising and importantly, Google Maps. I bet you didn’t know that Google maps is the #3 most used smartphone app in the entire world. True story. Behind only Facebook and YouTube. With related Google Reviews showing at the front and center to every user of Google Maps, this is a crucial information hub for your business.
Google has a complex algorithm that polices reviews all over the world. It is arguably the best at determining and removing fake reviews, while also allowing users to flag inappropriate submissions. This enables Google to eliminate the spammy reviewers, and provide value to its search users by ensuring that these are legitimate, informed reviews of your business.
At Oak City Technology we understand the challenges that local businesses face to compete on a local level on the web. We believe that you deserve very talented, very professional web designers and digital marketing experts to help take your website to the next level.
5 Star Reviews = Perceived Trust In A Company
The first thing people do, when trying to choose new plumber, realtor, yoga studio or anything in between is to read the company’s Google reviews. In today’s society, it’s tantamount to a recommendations from a close friend. People want to know that they are going to get their money’s worth before they visit a new business. If you can relay to your prospective clients, via Google Review, that you are a trustworthy business, providing good service and caring about your consumers, you stand a much higher likelihood of having that consumer purchase your goods and services, simple as that.
“ 88 PERCENT of people trust online reviews
as much as a personal recommendation“
Let’s repeat this point: A two-sentence, 5-star Google review, can carry as much weight as a recommendation from your mother.
All this importance is established through the idea of “perceived trust.” Perceived trust is the level of trust a user can expect to gain through your web presence (e.g. reading reviews, looking at social media, visiting your website, etc.)
We do this all the time this online (Think Amazon reviews). It’s an essential factor that any successful business needs to take advantage of, especially in crowded local industries. Are you searching for a new doctor? If you go online to research this doctor and the reviews that portray the practice, consistently, in a positive light, you’re more likely to go to that doctor, than one that shows a bunch of 1 and 2 star reviews. Your consumers take reviews seriously, so you should too.
Google Reviews Have An Important Role In SEO
As the consumers take them seriously, Google’s search algorithm for local areas (like Raleigh, Durham, Cary, NC etc.) highly values online reviews. Their whole main business is to provide local people with local answers in the most accurate way possible. Reviews are some of the most important of these functions. They are quick, easy to digest, direct valuations of how a company is perceived by the public in your local area (whether warranted or not).
If you want to quantify that effect, consider this: MOZ recently published that online reviews, account for over 8% of a search engines valuation of your ranking.
This is a HUGE portion of the algorithm, especially considering that social media makes up around 5%. One could make the argument that time is better spent on gathering rich, in depth reviews than on social media outreach. While we will not make that argument (We think both are equally important) it’s important to at least recognize the statistical difference, because Google does.
While Google would never explicitly state that reviews from Google are factored higher in SEO than another service, it’ is known that Google overvalues their own services compared to others, like Google+. It makes sense. That helps Google’s value, it’s a natural tendency in all business. So, like it or not, if you are a business who care about your local rankings, you need to take Google reviews seriously. Because your consumers definitely will.
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