Google My Business is a free tool that allows business owners to increase their visibility online and manage the information users see when they search. With this platform, businesses can upload pictures, verify business information and respond to customer reviews. Reviews on Google show up in search results, as well as Google Maps results. Because of this, it is important to understand the impact Google reviews can have on your small business.
Consider how often consumers find a business by “Googling” it. A local search can bring up dozens of businesses in the same category, so reviews are often one of the factors that drive purchase decisions.
Word-of-mouth and personal testimonies have always played a tremendous role in how consumers choose products and services. Over the years, the way information is shared has evolved, but the sentiment has remained the same. A consumer review report from 2016, revealed that 84% of people surveyed trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Reviews on Google can help your business rank higher in search results and make your business appear more credible to potential customers.
According to the “2017 Local Search Ranking Factors” survey by Moz, reviews have a 13% effect on a business’s local search rank. That number has gone up over 2% since 2015. Google recognizes the importance of reviews and is beginning to add more weight to them. Not only do consumers rely on reviews to choose where they do business, but it is also becoming a larger factor in local SEO rank.