What Are Reviews? | How They Matter for Local SEO | Lesson 6/10 | SEMrush Academy

Learn how local business SEO is impacted by both positive and negative reviews, and what you can do to positively influence your reviews.
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0:18 Significance of reviews
1:16 Review velocity
2:33 Why the optimal review score is between 4.2-4.5
3:20 Google’s algorithm expects your reviews to be spread among multiple review sites
5:08 How to get good reviews
6:09 Set up a page to send customers to
6:53 Follow up on your face-to-face review request
7:19 Respond to every review
8:15 Make your reply relevant to the review
8:48 Don’t fake reviews

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Reviews aren’t just important to potential customers, they’re a big factor in Google’s local algorithm. Remember – Google’s local algorithm has always been entity based, and customer reviews are basically crowd-sourced entity data.

Think about how you decide on a local business – you’re going to read their reviews. You want to see what other people think. Studies have shown that people now trust online reviews as much as they trust a review from a friend or family member.

If a business has bad reviews, you’re much less likely to go there. Google’s algorithm uses reviews the same way – if a business has bad reviews, it’s less likely to show up higher in search results.

Google doesn’t just look at your total review score. The number of reviews matters, as does the overall sentiment of what reviewers have said. In fact, if certain keywords tend to appear in your reviews, you’ll be more likely to show up for those keywords.

Google also considers review velocity. If you get a few reviews here and there, that’s a natural pattern. If you get a massive number of reviews on a single day and then no reviews for weeks or even months afterwards, it’s an unnatural pattern and Google might look more closely.

The most important step is to simply care about customer service. If you’re providing an awesome customer experience, you’re going to get good reviews. If you don’t care about your customers, you’re going to get bad reviews.

Businesses that are scared to put effort into reviews and reputation management because they’re worried about bad reviews are typically businesses that know they’re going to get bad reviews. If you fix your internal problems and give great customer service, you don’t have to be worried about bad reviews.

That said, one or two bad reviews helps you look more “real”. No one expects any business to have a perfect review score. Everyone knows that sometimes the ball gets dropped, or some customer is having a bad day. A few bad reviews here and there is natural. When you start to see consistent bad reviews that mention the same problem, then you know there’s something to worry about.

Several studies have shown that you don’t want a perfect review score. The sweet spot is a review score between 4.2 and 4.5. In that range, you’ve got a good score overall, but a few bad reviews here and there. No one will think your reviews are fake, and you’re more likely to attract customers.

Think again about when you’re deciding on a local business, or even reading reviews on a particular product. What’s the first thing you do when you look at the reviews? You change the sort filter so you can read the bad reviews. You want to read about the bad experiences people had and how the business responded.

It’s also important to acquire reviews on different sites. Even though Google reviews are the most prominent, as they show front and center when someone searches for your business, you need reviews on other sites too. It’s not natural for all of your customers to leave a review on Google.

Google’s algorithm expects your reviews to be spread across multiple review sites. Besides Google, you need to get reviews on Facebook, any industry-specific review sites, and whichever review site feeds Apple Maps.

In the US, that’s Yelp. Even though Yelp is primarily used for restaurants and hospitality type businesses, Apple made a deal with Yelp, so the reviews that show for businesses in Apple Maps come from the business’s Yelp profiles, not from Google.

You don’t want to have a great score with a lot of reviews on Google, only to show on Apple Maps as having a handful of reviews and a 2-star rating. How many customers will pull out their iPhones for directions, only to decide not to do business with you when they see your low score?

#LocalSEO #SEOcourse #RankingFactors #GoogleReviews #SEMrushAcademy

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