Reviews Do Matter for Ranking in Google Local

I had a conversation on the phone today with a potential client. I tried to explain to this person how important a business’ online reputation is. How it may be at least as important to build AND market your reputation than to get ranked in the Google local 3 -pack!

jackiechan huhSure, you need to be found, but if people check out your business online first (and the majority do – maybe as high as 90%), if you don’t have many reviews, or worse, a few bad ones, you may not get many calls unless you advertise having the cheapest prices.

And if your competitors have more positive reviews than you do, that may be a big reason why they outrank you.

Well, I didn’t do a good job of explaining this to this person  (which happens darn it, but I have a great Powerpoint presentation when I get the chance)  so I am inspired to write this short post.

First, some background:

Reviews? Good Fake Reviews? Not So Much

There have been a lot of questions over the years about whether reviews had any impact in the Google local rankings. 5-6  years ago, I remember where the belief was that reviews DID matter to rankings…

So, there were tons of ways to “generate” reviews – meaning, there were a TON of fake reviews …then, Google tried to crack down on that practice and they actually did terminate listings for fake reviews.

So then. the commonly held belief was that Google had negated any effects reviews had on local rankings because of all those fake reviews.

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Reviews have ALWAYS mattered. Maybe not directly, but indirectly people are more likely to do business with a company that has positive reviews. And more than a few multi-million dollar businesses have formed in the last 10 years based on customer reviews and social proof – Yelp, Angie’s List, etc.

And it has only become more important. Good reviews mean a lot, and a few bad reviews can cost a business $1000’s! And now you now can see those gold stars right in the organic search results…HUGE!

But (drumroll)…I just came across a post which seems to offer some proof that reviews may matter as much as backlinks, at least when it comes to the Google My Business rankings!

Here are bits and pieces of this informative post and study:


Reviews Are The New Backlink for Local?

reviews 1

reviews 2


The Takeaway?

Quoted from article: “For ordinal numerical based ranking factors, the more of the following metrics you have, the better.

If you want your business to rank better in local search results, focus on building popularity for your business, as the results of the study indicate that business popularity seems to outweigh all other factors, most importantly in the form of reviews and quality backlinks to your site.

Reviews Might be a New Backlink 2.0

Google Reviews came in as the #1 positive correlating ranking factor. Businesses that have more reviews tend to rank higher in the local search results.

This makes sense because times have changed. In the past, Google would determine popularity of a website mainly by the number and authority of backlinks pointing to a given website. With the increasing influence of social media, Google now seems to consider a review (whether good or bad) as a signal of popularity for a given business.

It is important to understand that reviews don’t replace backlinks, they are rather a new signaling metric that Google uses to determine popularity of a business. Think of them as Backlinks 2.0.

Backlinks are still as important as they always have been

With 52 of the top 81 ranking factors (64%) placed in the backlink signals category, we can still see the emphasis and importance Google places on backlinks as a ranking factor. Backlinks always have and probably forever will signal popularity for your business, and popularity is key for ranking in Google.”

So, not only does having good reviews help you with conversions, it also seems to help you rank higher in the Google local search results, now called the 3-pack.

My company Local Web Zap SEO focuses on helping businesses not only monitor their online reviews, but build positive reviews through a feedback system and a custom CRM, and then to market that great reputation – using video, images, and more.

And now I can confirm that that will help you rank higher!

And, we are BIG on video content marketing in a BIG way! Give me a call, we have a proprietary reputation marketing system that will most definitely bring a positive ROI — and build and grow your business for the future.

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