Third party reviews are now being viewed by search engines such as Google and Bing as the most important feature to ranking and have taken over that top spot from back links. This makes online feedback and evaluations such as Facebook reviews as critical to your local SEO strategy as getting other websites to link to you with great anchor text. More specifically, 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. Local business reviews are more important than ever. 93% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2017, with 12% looking for a local business online every day according to brightlocal.com consumer review survey. Think about it, if you want to know where to go to eat for dinner in a new town, what would you do? You would probably ask people on the street or friends who have been there what they like. Well, social media makes that even easier with third party validation. Which is why 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
In the past, a link from a third-party site was considered a vote of importance and based on the anchor text, relevant for your site. However, with so much gamesmanship going on and the ability to buy your way into local directories, or even pay a website owner for a link on their resources page, search engines now look at inbound links as not as trustworthy as they once were. In fact, the trust factor for reviews on Google, Yelp and Facebook coming form consumers is the most important thing you can have, if you want to show up in the Google Local Pack (top 3 on the map).
When you search for a specific business on Google, there is now a box on the right side of the results page that gives you information about the company including pictures, times the business is open and most important, highlights of consumer reviews posted by verified customers, which shows you how many Facebook and google reviews have been posted.
So what is the takeaway from this blog post? Make sure that every time you perform a service or sell a product for someone, ask them to review your company on one of the big 3, Facebook, Google, and Yelp. A great way to do this, if you sell online is to even set up an email automation campaign upon completion of the sale to request that review.
If you need help with this or just want to get more information about how social media can impact your SEO efforts give us a call or shoot us an email today, or better yet, post your comment on the VRG Facebook page.