This May, some small business owners noticed a sudden drop in the number of reviews attached to their profiles as Google deleted millions of legacy reviews by anonymous users. An estimated 3 per cent of all Google reviews were lost, according to a BrightLocal analysis of almost 2 million reviews of more than 40,000 businesses. Naturally, local search marketing agencies were concerned by the change.
Search Engine Land contributor Joy Hawkins took the opportunity to gauge the impact of online reviews on local search rankings. Her small-scale study consisted of searching New York dentists, identifying four offices that had lost between 4 and 56 per cent of their reviews, and monitoring the sites for ranking drops. She found that each site fell marginally after the purge and generally maintained their new ranking in the following weeks. Overall, the results weren’t catastrophic.
“Although it seems safe to say the number of reviews does impact ranking, there are also 200 additional factors that are used to determine how a page ranks, so it rarely comes down to who has the most reviews,” Hawkins writes.
As any local search marketing professional can attest, reviews affect more than rankings; they also impact your online reputation. A company with a four-and-a-half-star rating based on 100 Google reviews is more likely to attract new customers than a similar company with fewer reviews and a lesser rating. For local search marketers, cultivating positive reviews is an essential task.
As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media understands what it takes to get your business found online. Through a holistic approach including local search marketing, paid search, social media, and review management, GrowthEngine ensures that your business is visible and discoverable to every audience that matters.
Image credit: Pixabay