In April 2022, Google My Business rebranded to become Google Business Profile (GBP). The rebrand firmly moved ‘my business’ away from just local business results to a much wider presence that could be relevant for almost all brands.
As part of this shift, Google is now starting to consider review content (the words, not just the ratings) as potential signals. We believe that this combination of a widening GBP remit, and the potential signalling from Google reviews could become an important SEO consideration in 2022.
Why are reviews important for consumers?
Consumers read reviews to make an informed decision on their purchase. In 2021, 61% of online shoppers surveyed always read reviews before purchasing online.
The 2019 Consumer Research Report from Salsify suggested that online shoppers expected to see reviews when looking at a product online. The survey identified that younger audiences expected a higher number of reviews per product, than older audiences.
Why are Google Reviews important?
In 2021, Google’s share of online reviews increased to 71 percent, up from 67 percent in 2020, according to research from Birdeye. This rise indicates a rise in willingness from consumers to share their experiences and opinions online and on Google.
The continued rise of ‘no click searches’ (where a Google property is the top results) means that more Google reviews than ever before are being seen.
According to ReviewTrackers, Review interaction is up by 50% from pre-pandemic levels. It’s one of the many signs demonstrating consumers’ heightened sensitivity about where to go or what to purchase in the wake of the pandemic.
As belts tighten for a global economy, we can expect even greater pre-purchase consideration which will only raise the importance of reviews.
In late 2022, and into 2023, as the news markets move at a faster pace (the war, price inflation etc.) we should expect consumers to seek the freshest reviews to aid their purchase decisions.
How Google Reviews can influence SEO
Google likes to display the most relevant results for a user’s search query and this includes leveraging Google reviews. We are seeing reviews now broken down into key themes, based on the content of the review. For example, a reviews of a butcher may be broken down into themes, like different meats, delivery or service.
These topic themes could help the signals to Google that could influence SEO. For example, if a brand received regular, positive reviews on it’s steak products, would that influence their organic ranking position? We believe that a brand with Google reviews could have a greater chance for non-brand ranking (ranking for products/services not just brand searches) to which quality reviews will help.
3 Considerations for Harnessing Reviews
- To harness Google reviews, you will need a Google Business Profile. Google your brand to first check if there is already a profile to be claimed. Check the guidelines for representing your business on Google.
2. Consider asking explicitly for Google reviews. Encourage ‘textual’ reviews, not just stars.
3. Ensure your GBP is fully maximised, and regularly updated.
How Escaping Gravity Harnesses GBP & Reviews for SEO
We believe that GBP is part of an extended, and successful SEO strategy. Working closely with our clients and their partners, our SEO Consultancy teams can advise on the best ways to harness all of the wider GBP elements including tracking, updates, Reviews, FAQ’s and more.
Do contact us, if you’d like to know more about how GBP can be part of our your next SEO strategy.