Digital Marketing, SEO, Reviews

Why Google reviews are important for SEO (and how to get more of them)

google reviews seo


Australians are savvy consumers. According to a survey by Capterra, 98% of Australians read online reviews before buying something. And since the majority of Aussies use Google to perform online research, Google reviews are arguably the most accessible and impactful for your target customers.

But what about their importance for SEO? Keep reading to learn how Google reviews impact your SEO rankings, as well as some tips for how to get more of them.


Google reviews help you rank for local pack results

If you run a business that people can find and visit via Google Maps, then you want it to rank in local pack results for your target keywords + location.

The weather’s getting hotter here in Sydney, so I’m on the hunt for some ice cream. So I perform a search for “ice cream near me” and get the local pack result pictured on the side.

As you can see, there are three results for my search, each with a relatively high amount of positive reviews. Positive reviews aren’t the only reason they’re showing up here (these businesses are optimised for local SEO), but they will have played a significant role. According to research by BrightLocal, review signals account for at least 16% of the search engine’s decision when it comes to local pack results.

And if that wasn’t enough, Google says on their support page, “High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.”

Since local pack results appear in position #0 (before the regular organic search results), showing up here is huge for increasing the visibility of your business. A case study by Moz revealed that with a standard local search, 44% of users clicked on the local pack, with 29% and 19% clicking on organic and paid results, respectively.

Google reviews improve click-through-rate (CTR)

In case you don’t already know (and you really should if you’re trying to improve your website’s SEO), click-through-rate (CTR) is a simple measure of how many users (%) click a link to your domain. While the direct impact of CTR on rankings is an area of intense speculation, a higher number people of clicking through to your website correlates with other ranking factors and signals to Google that your website is giving searchers what they want.

The way that Google reviews improve CTR is pretty obvious; when someone reads a positive review about your business or sees a high star rating, they’ll be more likely to click. This behaviour feeds into the cycle of how Google determines the authority of your website. If someone reads a review, clicks onto your website, and finds what they are looking for, this can only mean good things for your SEO rankings.

Review > click-through > happy user > authority. It’s as simple as that!

Of course, Google reviews also improve CTR in that they increase your likelihood of ranking in the local pack (which we discussed earlier). If your link appears higher in search results via the local pack, you’ll enjoy a higher CTR.

Google reviews deliver fresh user-generated content

While I may have some bias as a copywriter (okay, I have a lot of bias) – there’s no denying that content is an essential aspect of SEO. Content is how you prove to users (and Google) that your business is relevant, authoritative and trustworthy.

(If you’d like to learn about maximising your ROI with a great content marketing strategy, check out my recent webinar).

However, content isn’t just limited to what you create. Some of the most impactful content comes from your users.

Google notices when people have positive conversations about your business online. Everything posted, replied to, or shared regarding your business impacts how Google perceives your digital presence.

A regular amount of positive reviews signals to Google that you’re relevant, authoritative, and trustworthy in your space. If your reviews suddenly dry up or take a negative slant, then it would have the opposite effect


How to get more Google reviews

Here are five ways to get more Google reviews

1. Ask for reviews

Ask, and you shall receive. When a customer has completed their transaction with you, simply ask them if they’d like to leave a review. Most people understand that reviews are important for a business, so a genuinely satisfied customer will probably be delighted to give you a glowing write-up if asked politely.

2.Encourage your team to gather reviews

Make sure your employees understand the importance of reviews and seek them from customers (without being pushy).

3. Share positive reviews on your website and social channels

Make it clear that feedback is appreciated and recognised by sharing positive reviews on your website or social media channels. People like to feel a little famous by having their feedback shared by a business, so seeing that you’re sharing reviews can make customers more likely to write them.

4. Respond to negative reviews

No matter how well you run your business, you’ll encounter a negative review at some point. Responding to these reviews politely by offering a genuine solution will demonstrate that your business cares.

(This survey revealed that of the users who read reviews, 97% read business responses too, so your responses are a chance to address criticism rather than leave it to drive potential customers away!)

5. Make leaving reviews easy with links

When a customer leaves a Google review, they’re going out of their way to provide feedback. Make it as easy as possible for them by prominently displaying links to your Google reviews page, so they don’t have to try and find it themselves.

In summary

  • The quality + quantity of Google reviews increases your chances of ranking for valuable local pack results.
  • Google reviews increase the click-through rate to your website and signal the relevancy and authority of your business to Google.
  • You can encourage Google reviews by asking your customers to provide honest feedback and making it easy for them to do so.
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