How do Reviews Affect my Business?

How would you feel as a business owner if you found out that over 90% of customers say that online reviews influence their buying decisions?

I would bet that you either pat yourself on the back if your business already has a strategy in place for gaining reviews and managing your online reputation, or you would scratch your head and think shucks, I better get a review strategy in place.

Regardless of where you stand on a review strategy, online reviews are important for a variety of reasons, and have major implications that affect:

  • Your rankings in local search engines
  • Which search results actually gets clicked on
  • Consumers purchasing decisions

This makes online reviews as critical to your local SEO strategy as building citations (Local Directory Pages) and your actual web design.


Hopefully this helps you understand from a customer’s perspective on just how important online reviews are in helping your customer’s purchasing decisions.

Why Online Reviews Matter For Local SEO

First we need to understand why search engines such as Google and Yelp love online reviews. The biggest reason, consumers need online reviews. Search engines are in the business of providing people at home or on the go with quick accurate information to help them make decisions around their future purchases. The faster they can do this, the more customers return and use their search engine.

Additionally, according to MOZ’s Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, online reviews are thought to make up 10% of how Google and other search engines decide to rank search results. below is a pie chart MOZ provide to visually break down the different variables:

Where Should I Focus on Driving Reviews?

Customer reviews on any website are great to have, however not all review sites are created equal. Some websites carry more SEO value with Google than others, specifically websites with strong brand names and industry focused sites.

There are two very easy ways to determine the most important review sites in your industry, and both entail a simple search on Google for: “industry keyword” reviews.

See which websites rank for the above search terms. Below is an example of this in the Cleaning industry.

The Value of Review Syndication.

Review websites that share their reviews to other sites (including Google) are also more valuable than those that keep their reviews for themselves. Not only do you get the benefit of potential customers seeing your reviews on more websites, but Google may actually count these reviews multiple times in its ranking algorithm.

If a customer leaves you a good review, thank them—and let other customers know about it in the process—by posting a link to that review on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, as well as on your own website.