the importance of reviews for seoAny well planned SEO strategy should include an array of on site and off site strategies. Not any two websites are alike, but I believe there are a few must have strategies that every website should use. Right now I am seeing wonderful results with business reviews, directly produced on site, with proper schema markup.

Targeting Consumers Who Are Ready to Make a Conversion

Consumers have different needs when doing a search for information. Entertainment, researching, and shopping are a few big reasons for a consumer search. By having reviews properly marked up on your website, you will help increase conversions by attracting the ‘shopping’ consumer. When a consumer is looking to make a purchase or choose a business for a service needed, having real reviews on your website increases trust. Trust is huge for any business.

SEO Impact of Online Reviews

Conversions are awesome, yes, but it’s not just about conversions. With the proper review markup your search results should shine like a diamond in the rough compared to competitors who have not implemented reviews. You still get a positive impact if a consumer sees your search result, chooses to visit your website, looks around on a few pages for a bit, and then leaves without converting. You still had positive SEO impact from a page visitor that didn’t immediately leave your website. This type of visitor is still great. Yes, they left and aren’t paying you for a service, but they just helped your overall SEO goal in a different, positive way. And they might come back and be a client soon.

Ranking Boost with Reviews

Consumers have proven to search engines that they read reviews, and search engines want to show results for content that consumers want to see. The more a search engine shows what consumers want to see, the more times that consumer will come back to them for answers. With this in mind, we usually see better search engine ranking results.

According to the MOZ Local Search Ranking Factors, review signals make up 8.4% of overall ranking factors. These review signals include quantity, velocity, diversity, etc.

Google Update for Reviews Schema

It’s best to no longer add third party review schema markup on your website. This means that you don’t want to add review markup on your website for a review created elsewhere. You can still include schema markup for reviews that have been directly produced by your site.

Below is the list of new Google Review guidelines

The following guidelines apply to critic reviews of local businesses:

  • Snippets must not be written or provided by the business or content provider unless they are genuine, independent, and unpaid editorial reviews.
  • Critic reviews must allow for customers to express both positive and negative sentiments. They may not be vetted by the business or restricted by the content provider based on the positive/negative sentiment of the review before submission to Google.
  • Critic reviews cannot be template sentences built from data or automated metrics. For example, the following is not acceptable: “Based on X number of responses, on average people experienced X with this business.”
  • Critic reviews for multiple-location businesses such as retail chains or franchises can only be submitted for the specific business location for which they were written. In other words, critic reviews for multiple-location businesses cannot be syndicated or applied to all business locations of the same company.
  • Content providers must have no commercial agreements paid or otherwise with businesses to provide critic reviews.
  • Do not include critic reviews that are duplicate or similar across many businesses.
  • Only include critic reviews that have been directly produced by your site, not reviews from third- party sites or syndicated reviews.
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