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Moz Report: Google Reviews Just Became More Important Than Ever

It’s no secret that your online reviews matter. The first-hand experiences of your customers explaining what you did right and how well you did it, in tandem with their 5-star ratings, go a long way in boosting your online reputation and inviting others to give your business a try. But, have you ever considered how important reviews are for new customers looking for services like yours online? In an ideal world, anytime someone does a Google search for your kind of service, you’d be the first option that comes up. As it turns out, you do have a say in this, and it all comes down to Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Moz, an SEO technology, education, and software company, just released their annual report on local SEO, which, in their words, is “…all about increasing search visibility for businesses that serve their customers face-to-face,” and “can be brick-and-mortar businesses with physical locations…” or “service-area businesses that operate throughout a certain geographic area.” Moz surveyed over 1,400 business owners, staff, agencies, webmasters, and in-house SEO staff to help answer the most important questions regarding local SEO.

For several years, Moz’s survey ranked proximity to a location as a more important search factor than the quantity and quality of a business’ reviews. In fact, according to the report from 2017, the influence reviews had on local search factors in 2015 was just 10.80%, and 13.13% in 2017. While it might make sense for Google to point someone in the direction of the nearest business they are looking for, that doesn’t always mean someone is physically close to a location they’ll want to try. What if the closest business doesn’t have the greatest reviews? Experts in the SEO industry seem to agree, and in the 2019 report, 90% of marketers agreed that Google’s emphasis on proximity harms the quality of results.

And now, in 2020, that seems to have finally changed. Leave it to the year 2020 to shake things up!

In this year’s report, Moz was surprised to find that the factors that rank local businesses in search results have changed this year, according to respondents of their survey. Those surveyed observed that the top-ten most important ranking factors led with Google My Business elements, such as having keywords in the business name, correct categories, and other descriptive details, while the second most important factor was Google reviews. The number of reviews, the sentiment of the reviews, the star rating, and whether or not reviews have responses from the owner all contributed as the second most important local ranking factor.

While the proximity of the searcher to the place of business has long been the leading factor in local search rankings (since 2017 to be exact), it has fallen behind reviews as an influential factor, down to the third slot. Google search results are now more impacted by reviews than ever before, according to industry professionals.

What does this mean? Quite simply, Google reviews influence your place in potential customer’s search results. Search engine optimization is exactly that: optimizing your place in the search results of potential customers.

Why does this matter? If you’re in the industry I’m searching for on Google, you get placement above your competition. More eyes, more buys, baby! (I’ll see myself out now.)

What’s next? Well my friend, you’ve come to the right place. WebPunch is built for exactly this sort of thing. Our feedback tool that surveys your customers leads to more reviews, and more than that, positive reviews. The number of reviews on your Google My Business page influences search results. Not only that, but review responses from the owner impact the search results even more. Hey, we do that too! Our Review Response Team responds on behalf of business owners, not only ensuring that every customer feels heard and valued, but responses also factor into your appearance at the top of the search results. Every response is crafted using the voice of your brand so that your customer’s experience is consistent, and continues their positive interaction with your business.

You have a say in your Search Engine Optimization, and WebPunch can help. We’re experts in making sure that your SEO is in tip-top shape, and we do that through local listing optimization, feedback, reviews, and review responses. We can’t place enough emphasis on just how important it is to do all you can to be the most searchable, and more importantly, that we’re in your corner, ready, willing, and able! If you’re interested in how we can make this happen, feel free to reach out.

Author Bio:

Jon Frisch is a Content Creator at WebPunch. He lives in Pasadena, CA, and spends his time writing and recording music, playing guitar, and performing. He also got married recently! He is the fun uncle, or funcle, if you will, to ten awesome nieces and nephews. Jon loves a good karaoke night, writing comedy scripts, taking road trips, and finding the best coffee shops in town. Jon never passes up the opportunity for a good pun or a lame-dad joke.