There have been many tests carried out to determine whether customers leaving Google reviews can impact your rank on SERPs (search engine result pages), all of which indicate that: yes – Google do take into account the quantity and quality of your reviews where ranking is concerned.
There are many review sources that can contribute to your overall rank, however, it’s known that Google assigns more value to their own than other sources, so it’s always beneficial to ensure that Google Reviews are your focus.
When looking at which aspects affect your ranking, Moz attributes 8.4% to reviews, so it’s something you don’t want to miss out on! Why are they considered so important? To your consumers, it’s a level of proof – and as we’re sure you’re well aware by now, Google aims to base the results served (and their best practice guidelines) on relevancy and what the consumer wants to see.
Often, consumers won’t take what a business promises as gospel, because they know you’re trying to sell to them.
As consumers, we might like to be spoon-fed the whole online shopping process, but we’re also not stupid – Brightlocal (2016) report that of their test subjects, 84% of people (892) said they read reviews to determine the quality of a business.
Having an honest business model and good ethics, along with the social proof left by previous customers who have already interacted with your business, gives a great level of security to the user which can, therefore, increase your CTR (clickthrough rate), traffic and hopefully conversion rate! It’s all about reputation, really.
Why is it important to have Google Reviews and not just onsite testimonials, you ask? Well, of their 1,062 respondents, 63% of all respondents would use a search engine to find the reviews, rather than going straight to the website. This is again, for that level of security. There’s no denying that onsite testimonials are incredibly beneficial and always a popular page. However, we as consumers are also are aware that the seller will be able to select the client testimonials that are uploaded to the website (and that they are naturally going to cherry-pick the glowing responses!).
Similarly to SEO efforts, reviews can positively impact the success of your paid marketing efforts, in a sense of driving traffic through the power of other consumer opinion increasing trust in the brand, and therefore increasing CTR and in turn, conversion rate.
It’s beneficial to work towards accumulating reviews so that they will be added as an extension to your ads. Once you have accumulated enough, one or more of your best ratings will show underneath the text of your search ads, along with a link to more ratings.
Having your reviews be included in your ads helps sway shoppers as it offers trustworthy perspectives from peers, rather than purely sales-based promises from the seller. Google has reported that because they offer industry-based data on a specific aspect of your business that the potential customer is concerned with, ads with consumer ratings have their CTR increased by 10% on average, which is no mean feat!
Adwords runs surveys through Google Consumer Surveys, a platform for collecting opinions that will determine whether a respondent is a customer of a business and asking questions about experiences with the business, such as how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with an aspect that business. Ratings are relative to the industry’s average and the scoring system is the same for every advertiser regardless of their Adwords spend. Using historic survey data, Adwords calculate a benchmark score for the industry and then creates ratings that reflect how business’ compare against each other.
Something that Google has implemented recently (or are testing, at the very least) within Google shopping is weighted heavily by reviews. If people list their products via the Google Merchant Centre, they will often appear at the top or right-hand side of the page in a category page format. If we search for ‘little black dress’ we are shown a variety of searches that are appropriate responses to that search term, but may not necessarily be the highest quality – the seller may have paid more than its competitor to get into position 1. However, if we search ‘best little black dress’ the results that we are served show a selection that is categorised by the review of the product and placed in consecutive order. Presumably, we think, to make the Google shopping process easier for consumers, so that we spend more money.
We’re not sure how far Google will go with this; whether it’s an already implemented change, or they’re still testing other options. Perhaps if someone includes ‘cheap’ in their search term Google will start automatically filtering products from cheapest to highest price (which it doesn’t currently – you have to apply the filter yourself within the Google Shopping tab).
We’ll be keeping our eye out!