There is no getting away from it: business reviews are more important than ever for your local search rankings, with local SEO growing in influence and importance. The fact is that lots of positive reviews are likely to increase your local rankings in Google and other search engines.
Why reviews matter
Google is already returning the top three searches for businesses in relation to queries, and it uses ratings as a deciding factor in the businesses it selects for these promotional spots.
Additionally, if you have stronger reviews, you are likely to receive a greater proportion of clicks through your ranking. This makes sense when you think about it. After all, if you see three restaurants returned for your “local Indian restaurant” search, you are more likely to click through to the one with five stars. Qualified traffic is a deciding factor here.
Essentially, stronger reviews will translate into better and greater business. Although a review is subjective and all businesses will get a poor one every now and then, a trend or theme shows other potential customers whether or not you can be trusted as a supplier.
Good customer reviews can give you credibility to influence customers and highlight your business as a good choice. They increase your chance of being featured in a specific search, and once you achieve this featured rating, a stronger overall rating score will increase your chances of getting click-throughs. A website design company such as http://www.viziononline.co.uk/ can help you to optimise your website and make it as search-friendly as possible in addition to integrating reviews and ratings functionality for easy feedback.
Adding it all up
The fact remains that the strength and influence of customer reviews is growing, primarily due to the Pigeon update that Google released two years ago. As a result, third-party directories such as Yelp now have even more power over the results of search rankings than ever before. Remember that reviews on a single platform might not translate into the same visibility of power on a rival platform, with some syndicating reviews and others retaining exclusivity over their own review systems.
Different platforms also carry different weight, with those on Google+ considered prime. Foursquare, Yelp, YP and CitySearch are also well worth focusing on.