Are Google reviews important for SEO?
A number of studies have confirmed a definitive link between the volume and quality Google reviews and local SEO rankings. Local SEO Guide’s study of local SEO ranking factors concluded that reviews were the single most important factor, with the research stating,
“The prominence of reviews isn’t particularly shocking, as it’s a way for Google to crowd-source ranking factors, it’s hard to spam, and the most problematic type of abuse is illegal.”
The data shows that if you’re trying to rank well in local search, your business is likely to achieve higher positions if you have plenty of reviews, with both the city and keyword you wish to rank for included.
Google will no longer allow anonymous users to leave online reviews for businesses. When it took steps to enact this ban, research by Joy Hawkins revealed that those businesses with reviews removed fell down the rankings a few days later. This suggests that the number of reviews you have directly influences where you rank.
Many studies suggest that click-through rate also affects search position and reviews can be said to score a direct hit here, too. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “do online reviews matter?” Yotpo studied 30,000 businesses who just started to factor reviews into their marketing strategy for a period of nine months to answer that very question:
You can see from the graph above that introducing reviews had a huge impact in organic page visits.