As consumers, we’re increasingly judging the brands we buy from based on online ratings and reviews, but we’re not the only ones passing judgement. Google is too. And that has major implications for your search engine ranking and click through rates.
Regardless of whether you’re a bricks and mortar business or an online store, it’s Google that decides how relevant your website is to any given search query.
To get your target market clicking through to your site, you need to understand how Google sees you, and what you can do to improve your online reputation.
Why Does Google Care About Reviews?
The search engine giant works in mysterious ways, and it's not always clear exactly what factors affect your search rankings. But there’s some things we do know.
Ratings and reviews are important to Google because:
1. Google sees reviews as a badge of credibility
By collecting and sharing honest opinions on your products or services, you’re not just building trust with potential customers, you’re building trust with Google too.
It sees reviews as brand signals. External evidence that your business is real, authentic and trustworthy.
2. Using brand signals determines relevance
Google’s purpose is to provide the most valuable results to any given search. When you collect quality reviews through a trusted source, like a Google Licensed Partner, it makes it easy for Google to single you out from the thousands of generic sites that offer a poor user experience.
Your domain authority increases, because Google has the confidence to send users to your site.
3. Google sees your presence on third-party platforms
Off-page SEO is just as important to Google as what’s happening on your own site. Using a reputable review provider, you get the benefit of an additional presence, with your business listing on a platform that itself has a strong domain authority.
You’ll also get the bonus of Rich Snippets and stars, results that are far more attractive to searchers and subsequently have a higher click through rate. The more clicks, the more important Google deems your site, and the higher it climbs in search results.
In short, consumer opinion is highly regarded by Google, and collecting reviews can benefit SEO by driving brand signals, boosting domain authority, and ultimately your search position.
Additional Benefits of Collecting Reviews
So, we’ve established that Google cares what customers think of you, and that working with a trusted review partner can help you climb the search engine ladder. But there’s more benefits still to be had.
Reviews give Google more information to crawl, and on a more frequent basis. It uses them to get a better understanding of your business so it can, in turn, better match your site with user intent.
This helps you rank higher in organic search results, and since 91.5% of organic traffic share goes to sites listed on the first page, you need to rank highly to get your clicks.
For your business to thrive, you also need a steady stream of traffic to your website, so use reviews as part of a wider marketing strategy to pull in new visitors and keep existing customers engaged.
Creating fresh content, optimising the old, social media promotion and collaborating with other brands can all help increase organic traffic and let Google know you mean business.
And then there’s your paid for presence. Ads made with reviews have a three times higher click through rate than those without, so you’re getting better return on your ad spend.
Reviews also help create a better customer journey. Buyers feel more informed, and can easily refine their search by filtering feedback, so when they do click through to your site, they’re far more likely to actually make a purchase.
Lastly, working with a third-party review provider gives you more options for engagement, like the ability to easily connect via SMS. Texts have a 98% open rate and a 35% click through rate, making SMS a highly effective method of communication.
If you want to improve your search ranking and increase click through rates, you need to impress Google. And one of the best ways to do that is to show it you rank highly in the eyes of your customers.
By working with a transparent and trusted review partner, you can dramatically increase your online reputation and build trust, not just with prospective buyers, but with the powers that dictate whether or not those buyers find you in the first place.