Are you reaping the benefits of Google reviews?

The fact that 77% of consumers either ‘always’ or ‘regularly’ read reviews before visiting a business is just one of the many benefits of Google reviews. This article looks at another important way reviews can help your business visibility on Google search.

What we will cover

How a smart Google reviews strategy can boost your business

Those business owners who have learnt a bit about search engine optimisation (SEO) will know that placing keywords and phrases related to their products and services within articles, service pages, case studies and other content can improve visibility on Google Search.

What they may not know is that Google is now actively identifying keywords from reviews customers have published about their experiences.

To take full advantage of this, business owners need to put a smart reviews strategy in place. This could include:

  • Following up satisfied customers who have used services you particularly want to promote, asking them to leave a Google review.
  • Giving specific instructions or guidelines to help customers write a useful review (e.g. ‘What exactly did you like about our tech support service? Please leave a review on Google’ or ‘Please leave a review on Google – and don’t forget to mention which product you bought.’)

Improved SEO is one of the surprise benefits of Google reviews, and even third party reviews are sometimes used by Google to position businesses in search results, especially on a local level.

How Google uses third party reviews

Many of us use our mobile devices to search for local businesses while on the move, but how does Google know which relevant businesses are nearby? Third party reviews are part of the picture, with business category and location providing the all important context.

While the fact that Google picks up on reviews from outside of its ecosystem is great, it is something of a double-edged sword. Google explains that you can’t choose which review site they visit and you can’t opt out. So, that 1* rating on Trip Advisor from a disgruntled customer in 2018 could come back to haunt you if Google decides to dredge it up in its search results.

If you really need to be featured on a specific reviews site, and there are unwarranted reviews on it, Google suggests you take this up with the site itself.

One of the automatic benefits of Google reviews is that you will have already selected a relevant business category and location when you set up Google My Business. This may not be the case with the third party review sites you are part of.

We recommend you double check the review sites you have profiles on, especially those that generate the most reviews, and make sure you have entered your full address and chosen the most suitable business category. This will ensure that you don’t fall through the net the next time someone searches for businesses like yours in your vicinity.

Get found more easily with rich snippets

Another of the benefits of Google reviews is that these are already formatted to stand out in Google Search. If you want your third party reviews to stand out from the other search results, you should prioritise setting up your business profile on local review aggregators that use rich snippets.

You will recognise these by the way their star ratings are displayed in search results or elsewhere on Google properties. For example, if you search for ‘local builders’ you will notice that Bark, Checkatrade and MyBuilder display average star ratings, and sometimes pricing guides, alongside their listings. To avoid getting too technical, this suggests that these review sites use rich snippet code to aggregate reviews for display by Google.

While each of these review sites will have their own pros and cons to consider, you can at least be confident that a review of your business on these platforms is likely to stand out on Google.

Finally, we should just point out that Google will clamp down on anybody trying to game the system. All reviews must be from genuine users and third party review sites must not be connected in any way to the businesses they promote for review.

Are you as visible as you could be on Google Search?

To find out more about the benefits of Google Reviews for search visibility, reach out to us here at Vu. We will be happy to answer your questions. If SEO is something you would like more help with in general, check out our SEO services.

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