Google Reviews Study: How Many Reviews Do Local Businesses Need?

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Key Findings
  • On average, local businesses have 39 Google reviews
  • 74% of local businesses have at least one Google Review
  • Businesses appearing in Google's top 3 local positions have an average of 47 Google Reviews
  • Bars, restaurants, and hotels are the local businesses most likely to have Google Reviews, and accountants are the least likely
  • The average Google Reviews star rating for a local business is 4.42 stars
  • Senior living services, car dealerships and hotels have the lowest average Google star ratings
  • Only 5% of businesses have a Google average star rating below 3 stars, while 61% have 4-5 stars

It’s official: review signals are becoming even more important to local SEO rankings. We know Google values trustworthy businesses, and frequent and positive reviews are one way to assess who comes out on top.

And while plenty of other review sites exist, Google Reviews’ visibility in search results is helping make Google the fastest-growing reviews platform.

We wanted to find out how local businesses are using Google Reviews, and provide you with the statistics to help you benchmark your business against others in your industry.

For this report, we anonymously explored the Google Reviews profiles of more than 93,000 local businesses across 26 different industries in order to uncover:

  • Which industries are leading the way in using Google reviews (and who’s trailing behind)
  • How many reviews businesses in each industry have
  • The average star rating for businesses in each industry
  • If star ratings and number of reviews correlate with local rankings
  • Which star ratings are most common in each Google local ranking position

If you’d like to find out more about this report, you can find the methodology here. And, if you had any thoughts or queries, let us know in the comments below.


Interactive Industry Reports

To help you benchmark your business against others in your industry, we’ve created an interactive graphic that highlights the key data for each industry. Use the drop-down menu to explore the trends for your industry, and switch between data including all businesses in your industry, and those with Google reviews only. 

The Google Reviews Study

BrightLocal’s Google Reviews Study uncovers:

  • The average number of reviews for on Google
  • The proportion of with Google Reviews
  • How star ratings and number of reviews correlate with Google Local Ranking

These findings are based on found using related keywords.

0% of have Google reviews

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have an average of 0 Google reviews

On average, have 0 stars

Average Number of Reviews
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Include businesses without Google reviews

Average Star Rating
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Include businesses without Google reviews
positions1-3
3.8
positions4-6
3.8
positions7-10
3.8

Breakdown of Star Rating
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Include businesses without Google reviews

Google Reviews Study: All Industries

We collated data across 26 industries to tell the overall story of local businesses’ use of Google Reviews, looking into:


Proportion of Businesses with Google Reviews by Industry

Proportion of Businesses With Google Reviews By Industry

 

Key Findings

  • Bars, restaurants, and hotels are the industries that are most likely to have Google Reviews
  • On average, 74% of local businesses have at least one Google Review
  • Accountants are the least likely industry to have reviews on Google

Businesses in the hospitality industry are the most likely to be making use of Google Reviews. Could consumers in these industries be more used to leaving reviews for these types of businesses, or could these industries be more on top of asking for reviews?

Local stores are also highly likely to have reviews on Google, and with Google beacons becoming more commonplace, stores could see a rising average in the near future.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, some of the less frequented industries are slower to gain Google Reviews. Consumers rarely have the need to use a local finance business compared to how often they’re likely to go to a bar or restaurant, which leaves more scope for online reviews for the latter business types.


The Average Number of Google Reviews by Industry

The Average Number of Google Reviews By Industry

The above chart shows the average number of Google Reviews for each industry, including businesses that do not have any reviews.

Local businesses have an average of 39 Google Reviews, but, there is a significant disparity between industries.

Our research finds that the average consumer expects a business to have 34 reviews before trusting its star rating. Those industries with higher review numbers are likely to be benefiting from their Google Reviews prowess—setting expectations for all other industries to match these numbers.

There tend to be more hotels, restaurants, and bars to choose from than some other industries, so perhaps it’s no wonder that these industries have more reviews when appearing in the top 10. But, as you’ll see below, the industries with the most reviews don’t necessarily have the highest overall star ratings.

Industries with the Most Google Reviews

  1. Hotels and B&Bs
  2. Restaurants and cafés
  3. Bars and pubs
  4. Local stores
  5. Car dealerships

Industries with the Fewest Google Reviews

  1. Accountants and finance businesses
  2. Landscaping and gardening businesses
  3. Senior living services
  4. Marketing and PR services
  5. Construction and roofing businesses

The Average Number of Google Reviews by Local Ranking Position

The Average Number of Google Reviews By Local Ranking Groups

The above chart shows the average number of Google reviews for each grouped local ranking position, including businesses that do not have any reviews.

Key Findings

  • Local businesses who rank in the top 3 positions in Google Local have an average of 47 Google Reviews
  • Businesses in positions 7-10 have an average of 38 reviews (9 fewer than those taking the top spots)

There is a clear correlation shown here between higher local rankings and the number of Google Reviews a business has. However, businesses with Google Reviews are more likely to be on top of their local SEO game, so it’s not enough to simply say that Google Reviews alone cause high rankings.

In our recent Local Services Ads Click Study, we found that 23% of SERP clicks were influenced by visible review numbers and ratings—the majority of which come directly from Google Reviews. Reaching the top spots on search results means more clicks, and if this means prioritizing gathering Google Reviews, so be it!

The Average Google Star Rating by Industry

The Average Google Star Rating By Industry

The above chart shows the average Google star rating for businesses in each industry, only including businesses with at least one review.

Key Findings

  • Photographers, alternative therapy businesses, and marketing services have the highest average star ratings
  • Overall, local businesses have an average of 4.42 stars on Google
  • Senior living services, car dealerships, and hotels have the lowest average star ratings

It’s a positive story for Google Reviews, with every industry seeing an average star rating of over 4 stars.

While there are of course businesses with low star ratings (more on this below), on the whole it seems that businesses are far more likely to have a positive rating than a negative one.

And that’s great to see, since our Local Consumer Review Survey found that 48% of consumers wouldn’t use a business with an overall rating lower than 4 stars. With Google Reviews being so prominent in SERPs (and the local pack and Local Services Ads in particular), these are likely to be strongly influencing purchase decisions, even for those who would never think to check a review site directly.

Despite their high average number of reviews, car dealerships are among the industries with the lowest average star ratings.

Hotels and B&Bs are also notable: they have a high number of reviews on average, but a comparatively low star rating. Some industries like these tend to attract those with more extreme opinions, meaning that customers leave reviews because they are very incredibly pleased or incredibly dissatisfied with the service (with little gray area in between). Customers of other industries such as stores, accountants, or cleaning services may feel less inspired to leave feedback.

To find out more about the different industry trends, explore the interactive graphic above.


The Average Google Star Rating by Local Ranking Position

The Average Google Star Rating By Local Ranking Position

The above chart shows the average Google star rating for each grouped local ranking position, only including businesses with at least one review.

The average star rating of local businesses in the top 10 is very similar across groupings.

Businesses that occupy positions 1 to 3 in Google local rankings have an average of 4.47 stars. Businesses in positions 4-6 have 4.6 stars on average, with those at the end of the top ten having an average of 4.45 stars.

While these are only small differences, these could be the difference that could tip the balance for businesses wanting to show above competitors in search results. Our Local Services Ads Click Study found that comparatively high star ratings encouraged searchers to choose one business over another. Every review counts!


Breakdown of Google Star Rating by Local Ranking Position

Breakdown of Google Star Rating By Local Ranking Groups

The above chart shows the proportion of businesses’ average star ratings for each grouped local ranking position. The proportion of businesses without reviews is slightly different to Q1 due to some businesses appearing more than once, as they ranked in different positions for different keywords.

Key Findings

  • 61% of local businesses have an average star rating between 4 and 5 stars
  • Only 5% of businesses have an average star rating below 3 stars
  • Top-ranking businesses are more likely to have a higher star rating than those ranking lower in the top 10

As discussed above, average star ratings on Google tend to be high. With the vast majority of businesses achieving an average star rating between 4 and 5 stars, those with a much lower overall rating are likely to stand out.

Businesses ranking in Google positions 1-3 are more likely to have a high star rating than those lower in the top ten—with 64% of businesses with the top star rating taking these key positions.

Yet, interestingly, 20% of businesses taking the top 3 spots in Google Local don’t have any Google Reviews at all – further highlighting that fact that other local ranking factors remain crucial.

Those at the top are more likely to have Google Reviews than their counterparts lower down the table. And when we remove the businesses without Google Reviews from the data, this trend remains. While this isn’t the case in every industry, this pattern does follow in most cases.

Explore this in more depth in the interactive graphic above, and let us know which industry trends most interest you in the comments below!


Methodology

For this study, we explored anonymous data for 93,845 local businesses across 26 different industries.

To do this, we identified 10,334 local keywords related to common industries and used these to identify the ten top ranking businesses in Google Local for each search term. We then explored these businesses’ Google Reviews profiles—including star rating and number of reviews—and reviewed these against their local ranking positions. In some cases, businesses may have appeared multiple times in the data due to ranking in multiple positions, but these have been removed for non-ranking related findings.

In line with BrightLocal’s audience, the dataset is based on businesses across the world, with the majority from the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK.

While we did our best to include as many local industries as possible, we focused on a set of 26. If you’d like us to consider your industry for future data-led reports, please get in touch and we’ll see what we can do!

For more information on this study, or for any questions you may have about the Google Reviews Study’s findings, please let us know on content@brightlocal.com.

How many Google Reviews do businesses in your niche have? Leave a comment below to let us know how Google Reviews fit into your reputation management strategy.

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9 thoughts on “Google Reviews Study: How Many Reviews Do Local Businesses Need?”

  1. Great stats! Thanks so much for sharing. For the health and fitness industry – is that inclusive of healthcare providers (physicians, practices, hospitals)? If so, does that make up a significant portion of the health and fitness industry or is it mainly pertaining to gyms, etc.?

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      Health and fitness includes gyms and fitness-related businesses, while healthcare providers sit under medical.

      Thanks!
      Rosie

  2. Getting Google reviews is a top priority for our practice. We encourage reviews through every touch point with our patients. We use communications platforms that encourage Google reviews and we track and centralize reviews through Yext. We are repeatedly told by new patients that they found us online and then checked our reviews before deciding to make an appointment.

  3. Great article. Thank you. Google reviews are a big part of our marketing effort (residential real estate company in Tallahassee, FL). We have more 5 star reviews than all of our competition combined and we’re working hard to keep growing. We have 399 on Google and hundreds more unique reviews on sites like Zillow and Facebook.

    1. Congrats on the work you’ve been doing on your reputation management. Sounds like it’s certainly paying dividends!

      Thanks

      Jamie

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