Not All Reviews Are Equal

The impact of these reviews goes beyond mere customer feedback and star ratings. Google’s local search algorithm is a sophisticated system that evaluates numerous factors to determine the ranking of local businesses. Notably, online reviews constitute a significant part of this algorithm, accounting for approximately 15% of the factors influencing local search rankings.

When it comes to your online reviews, not all reviews are viewed equally in the eyes of Google:

Google values diversity in a business’s review portfolio, considering reviews from various platforms as a signal of authenticity and credibility.

Review Quantity and Freshness

While the common belief may be that more reviews lead to higher rankings, the reality is more nuanced. Businesses with an average rating between 4.0 and 4.9 receive more clicks than those with a perfect 5-star rating, emphasizing the importance of a balanced approach to review quantity. (Source: BrightLocal, Local Consumer Review Survey 2021)

Review Diversity Across Platforms

Google values diversity in a business’s review portfolio, considering reviews from various platforms as a signal of authenticity and credibility. This diversification across different platforms contributes to a more comprehensive online presence. We recommend clients solicit reviews on Google and 1–2 relevant industry platforms, such as Avvo for a lawyer or ZocDoc for a doctor’s office.

The Google Account’s Influence

The credibility of the Google account behind a review is a key factor influencing its impact. Established and active accounts with a history of thoughtful reviews are viewed as more reliable sources of feedback.

Content Is King

Beyond star ratings, the content of a review plays a crucial role. Descriptive and rich reviews not only aid customers in making informed decisions but also signal to the algorithm the depth and authenticity of the feedback. Also, reviews that include photos have a higher impact with Google.

Star Ratings and Perceived Quality

While the star rating is vital, the impact of a 4-star review versus a 5-star review may surprise many. Consumers often trust businesses with an average rating between 4.0 and 4.9 more than those with a perfect 5-star rating as we understand no business is perfect.

Recency as a Relevant Factor

The recency of a review is a dynamic element in Google’s algorithm, indicating that a business is actively engaged with its customers and possibly making continuous improvements.

Response Rate and Responsiveness

The interaction between the business and the reviewer, particularly responsiveness, is significant – and you can control this! A high response rate not only builds trust with customers but also signals to the algorithm that the business is attentive to customer feedback.

From influencing local SEO to shaping a business’s overall rating, reviews are a powerful tool for businesses committed to cultivating a positive online reputation.

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