By now it seems obvious why customer reviews are so important—people trust other people. Google now highlights customer reviews on SERPs so that even before clicking a website, users know what others have said about a certain company. Not only are customer reviews highlighted on a SERP, but those reviews oftentimes also help give the company a start rating. This means that Google users don’t even have to read the customer reviews if they don’t want because they can quickly glance over the start rating.

Below is an example of what customer reviews look like on a Google SERP: Below is an example of what customer reviews look like on a Google SERP:

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As you can see above, users also have the option to click to see all of the reviews as well as click one of the recommended links to see more reviews. In most cases these links to take users to third-party websites like Yelp and OpenTable, both of which thrive on customer reviews and often rank well on a SERP.

The moral of the story: Reviews are everywhere, so you want to have not only positive reviews for your company, but also a large amount of reviews online.

The Relationship Between Customer Reviews and SEO

While it is true that reviews do not impact rankings when it comes to organic search, that doesn’t mean that they have no SEO affect at all. Reviews are most important from a local standpoint. As you can see from the screenshot above, reviews are only going to show up if a company has a Google+ Local page. If you’re unfamiliar with why local SEO is so important, visit here. Ultimately, it’s local SEO that is going to help you rank on a SERP for a relevant audience.

Reviews can be the difference in ranking number one on a local search page versus, well, ranking in any other spot. Google likes to see reviews for local companies because it shows that the company is popular and trusted by many. Aside from only helping local rankings, reviews will also help you rank for map searches and mobile searches. This makes reviews matter for three different types of rankings: Maps, Mobile, and Local.

It’s also a safe guess that this could change in the future. According to a Search Engine Land article, 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. If this trend keeps up we could see Google making changes to their organic algorithm. This is just speculation, but it’s best to be prepared just in case.

How to Collect More Company Reviews for Your Company

Naturally, because reviews are only becoming more important it makes sense to want to actively try and earn the most positive reviews possible. It’s important to remember, however, that Google and most of the other review sites such as Yelp do not allow you to offer anything free in exchange for a review. The reviews need to be completely authentic, and in the eyes of Google offering a free gift could sway that authenticity.

Nevertheless there are plenty of ways to earn more reviews while still playing by the rules:

  • Put a link or button on your homepage or on some of your high-traffic pages asking visitors to leave you a review. This makes it easy to navigate to where they need to go to leave the review.
  • Remind people on social media to review your company every few weeks.
  • Ask your loyal customers to leave you a review. If you have a company with a physical store that offer products or services, give a card to people after they have worked with you that has the information they need to leave a review.
  • Put testimonials on your website so that people know they can leave a review (and potentially be included in the testimonials).
  • Reach out to anyone who gave you a negative review. This could potentially change that person’s review into something positive because you went above and beyond.
  • Send an email to customers/clients after you’ve worked together that includes a link where they can go and leave a review.

Keep in mind that you should also be managing your reviews and constantly checking back to see what is being said. Make sure you’re always responding to negative reviews whenever possible to show that you care (and of course to actually improve your business).

What about fake reviews?

Reviewing your own company is considered a fake review and is prohibited. If you’re caught your website could face a penalty, and in some cases even a fine. If you notice that fake reviews are being posted about your company, Google and Yelp will be able to detect those reviews and remove them eventually! You can visit this article to learn more about fake reviews.

Do you have any thoughts about reviews and SEO? Let us know your story in the comment section below.