In an age when the competition has become even more vicious for small businesses, online reputation management is one of the key ways you can set your business apart from others. For several years, Google’s algorithms have been cracking down on websites they deem to promote less-than-savory content. In the same vein, online businesses have been trying to crack what makes Google tick. However, as we steadily move towards an increasingly digital world, we do understand that Google is constantly updating its formula to better serve internet users (see our post on the Top 7 Local SEO Factors). Google is extremely adept at following consumer behavior and trends, the way they pose a query, and what influences their buying decisions. As consumer behavior changes over time, so does Google’s algorithm which evolves to meet the consumer needs. As such, search engines love online reviews as a deciding factor for search engine ranking because consumers heavily rely on online reviews. In fact, 93% of users report that online reviews help them decide whether or not they should buy from a certain page or website. Although many businesses neglect to actively engage in managing their online reputation, these days this SEO strategy carries more weight than ever, so much so that User review signals on business rating sites account for an estimated 15.4% of local search engine rankings. Source: Moz When you think about SEO, online customer reviews are not the first things to come to mind, what with other focus areas
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