I always get this question: Do Google Reviews impact local rankings?
The short answer is YES.
There have been many case studies & research like this by big SEO authorities, smaller independent researchers, and oh yeah google says so too.
We are going to explore some of these in further detail.
2021 Local SEO Ranking Study (By SEMrush)
SEMrush studied 5,624 business-oriented keywords and analyzed the Local Pack results in Google Maps and the local pack on Desktop and Mobile.
They found that the number of reviews was a key factor in where your business ranks. The top position had more reviews than those in positions two and three.
✨ Key insights: Top-position businesses had more reviews
Local Pack Rankings Case Study (By Sterlin Sky)
In this case study, Joy Hawkins wanted to uncover if the recency of reviews was an important ranking factor.
To test her theory, she enlisted one of her clients who had historically received a healthy amount of Google reviews every month but had since dropped off.
Here is their review profile over time.
The owner of this listing took her up on the test and began prioritizing Google Reviews within their operations. He got his staff around it, something we suggest in our article How To Get Google Reviews.
Here were the results from the client’s listing. This tool is called local Viking it allows you to see your position for a keyword over time overlaid against a geographical region. Red = bad, Green = Good.
The results here are clear-cut. Google Review velocity has a direct impact on your local map pack rankings.
I know what you’re thinking: How many reviews do I need every week?
Well, it depends. Have a look at your competitors’ review profiles, if they are getting 1 a month you need to get 2 a month if they are getting 20 a week you need to get 21 a week.
✨ Key insights: You need to get Google reviews consistently more than your competitors
What Google says about reviews
Even Google themselves say that Google reviews impact rankings.
Here is the direct quote
Google review count and review score factor into local search ranking. More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business’ local ranking.
Google is, how do I put this, always shady about telling you what ranking factors are important. So, the fact that they have outwardly said it means it’s super important to them.
✨ Key insights: Google says it is a ranking factor (this is pretty much all the proof you need)
The 2021 Local Search Ranking Factors (By Whitespark)
In Whitesparks Local Search Ranking Factor Annual Report they asked 82 SEO experts what they believe to be the most influential factors to getting your Google Business Profile in position one.
They’ve been doing this since, 2013, and every year SEO experts are placing more and more importance on Google Reviews.
Here is what that looks like.
Of all 180 factors, these SEO Experts gave priority to Google Reviews at 17% only coming in second to Google Business Profile factors, which makes sense.
The following review characteristics were deemed to be most important with the top 2 being the overall top factors in GBP conversion:
- High Star Ratings.
- Positive Sentiment in Review Text.
- Quantity of Google Reviews.
- Recency of Reviews.
- Presence of Owner Responses to Reviews.
- Quantity of Positive Review Attributes.
✨ Key insights: SEO Experts are placing more and more importance on Google Reviews as a ranking factor
It’s clear that Google Reviews are a significant ranking factor for both your Local Pack and Local Organic rankings.
They not only impact where you rank but are also a key conversion factor for customers.
Reviews for a long time have been make-or-break for a local business’s success.
Google knows it, experts know it, and in-depth quantitative data knows it.
Having a Google Review tool that gets you Google reviews like clockwork is super important.