How ratings and reviews impact local SEO

Reviews and ratings on the internet have become an integral part of many businesses, especially those in smaller towns. The idea that a good review will help boost sales has spread to many industries like local SEO services, but is it really true?

The “google reviews local seo” is a problem that has been present for a while. Google’s recent changes to their algorithm have caused many businesses to lose their rankings and traffic. Reviews are the most important factor in local SEO, so it is imperative that businesses take action.

Following the COVID-19 outbreak, one thing is clearer than ever for those of us in the Local SEO world: if you want your company to have an effect in your neighborhood, a strong local internet presence is a requirement. User involvement, such as gaining ratings and reviews from your active customers, is an important part of any successful Local SEO plan, in addition to keeping a comprehensive and accurate Google My Business page. 

Do ratings and reviews, on the other hand, have an influence on your local SEO? Is it the case, and if so, how?

That was the focus of our Local SEO Rankings Study for 2021. We looked at 5,624 business-related terms and evaluated the Local Pack results in Google Maps, as well as the Local Pack on Desktop and Mobile, to find out.

How Do Google Maps Reviews and Ratings Affect Local SEO?

We discovered that the average number of reviews for a listing had a substantially bigger influence on its performance than the average rating for listings on Google Maps. In fact, we discovered that for the top three spots, average rating did not correspond with placement. 

The following is a breakdown of the average rating for all of the listings we looked at across all categories:


It’s worth noting that all three places have average ratings of above 4.1, indicating that good feedback is still helpful, even if it doesn’t impact whether you earn first place on Google Maps. 

The amount of reviews a listing received, on the other hand, was related to its ranking. 

For all of the listings we looked at, this is the average number of reviews in the top three positions: 


Notice how the top position received more evaluations on average than the second and third places. When we looked at the median number of reviews, we got the same result: 


These findings demonstrate the importance of encouraging as many pleased customers to provide reviews as feasible. Maintaining a high amount of reviews and an average rating of 4.1 or above, in addition to a solid Google My Business page, may aid to increase exposure in Google Maps results.


While reviews and ratings are vital, there’s no disputing that distance matters when it comes to Local SEO. Relevance, prominence, and distance are the three major ranking considerations for a Google My Business profile, according to Google.

We put this to the test in our research, beginning with the Empire State Building. We discovered that 72 percent of the items that ranked were within a two-mile radius. Another 20% were between 2 and 10 miles distant, while another 6% were between 10 and 50 miles away. (There were also some fascinating outliers, such as one that scored from 400 miles away!)


We also looked at the median distance by category and discovered that certain kinds of companies (such as Automotive, with a median of 3.1 miles) required consumers to go substantially farther than others (like Beauty and Fitness at only 0.3 miles). 


How Do Reviews Affect Your Desktop Local Pack Rankings?

The influence of ratings and reviews on Local Pack performance on desktop was less obvious as compared to our Google Maps results. Nonetheless, we may infer that the amount of reviews a listing receives has a greater influence on its success than the average rating. 

The average rating for the top three spots in the Local Pack on desktop did not correspond with position, as it did with Google Maps. The average rating for the second position was the highest, while all three were still over 4.1.


The average number of reviews for companies in the local pack did not connect with their rankings on desktop. In fact, despite having the highest average rating, the second-place entries had the lowest average number of reviews. 


With the median number of reviews, this was not the case. Instead, the median number of reviews is directly proportional to rank, with first-place listings having the greatest median number of reviews, followed by second and third-place listings. 


So, what’s the deal? The presence of outliers is the key contributor here. Food and eating, for example, get considerably more evaluations than other categories. Outliers are created, which might distort the statistics. The median is a bit more dependable in these instances. 

We may deduce from the median number of reviews that the number of reviews does affect your Local Pack performance on desktop, particularly if your average rating is over 4.1. 

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Analyze the Review

The review reasons that appear in the Local Pack findings were also examined. 


The bulk of them (60 percent) had a neutral tone, meaning they described the essence of their encounter without expressing any specific emotion. They may, for example, have stated the sort of place they visited, the type of food offered, and so on without remarking on the service quality.

Only 2% of the quotations examined were unfavorable. That indicates the vast majority of visible review reasons reported a favorable or satisfactory experience with that particular local company.


The remaining 38% of evaluated quotations were favorable, describing their experience with terms like fantastic, best, lovely, outstanding, or professional. 

The most common adjectives mentioned in the reviews we looked at are shown below:


We may deduce from these statistics that consumers are more inclined to post a review if they have had a pleasant experience rather than a bad one. Given that 91 percent of consumers read reviews and 84 percent believe them as much as a personal suggestion from a friend, encouraging your satisfied customers to submit reviews might have a significant beneficial influence on your exposure as well as conversion.


When we looked at the influence of distance on Local Pack desktop results, we found that the results were extremely comparable to Google Maps. 70% of the results were within a two-mile radius, 22% were between two and ten miles away, and 6% were between ten and fifty miles distant from our location. (Another similarity: our largest outlier was in Canada, more than 300 miles distant.)


When we looked at the median distance by category, we discovered that certain groups (particularly, Automotive) were prepared to drive far further than others. 


Analyzing the Information

When we compared our Local Pack results on desktop to Google Maps, we found that over 70% of listings appeared in the top three spots on both platforms, but not always in the same order. When we took both presence and position into consideration on both platforms, we found that around 54% of the findings were the same. Given how ranking may change depending on a variety of criteria, we thought this degree of similarity was noteworthy.

How Do Reviews Affect Your Mobile Local Pack Ranking?

Average rating was not indicative of position in the Local Pack on mobile, just as it was not predictive of position in Google Maps and the Local Pack on desktop. Despite the fact that each position’s average rating was almost identical, position two was once again the highest, despite having the lowest average number of reviews. 

Furthermore, all three professions received average ratings of 4.1 or above. 


As previously stated, the median number of reviews is the more trustworthy statistic since certain categories get much more reviews than others. In the case of mobile Local Pack, the median number of reviews declined with position, with position one having the largest median number, followed by two and three, respectively.


This matches what we found on the desktop and in Google Maps. When browsing the Local Pack on mobile, the number of reviews is a more relevant component in deciding a business’s placement in the results, provided that the average rating is good (ideally over 4.1). 

Analyze the Review

The visible quotations from review justifications presented in the Local Pack on mobile are around 65 percent of the time the identical ones that show on desktop. As a consequence, the patterns are quite similar. 

Again, a large majority (60 percent) used a neutral tone when describing an event, indicating they did not use either positive or negative words. Only 1.5 percent were negative, while 38.5 percent were favorable. 


The most often used adjectives in these quotations were comparable to those in the desktop version. The majority of cellphone reviews were favorable in tone, with terms like wonderful, best, nice, outstanding, and professional used often.


Because the review quotations that display on mobile and desktop are almost identical, the same method you employ to encourage pleased customers to post reviews should work for all platforms.


The distance breakdown for the Local Pack on mobile, as on desktop, is quite similar to Google Maps. Again, 70% of the results were within 2 miles of our location, with another 22% between 2 and 10 miles and 6% between 10 and 50 miles. 


When we split down the median distance by category, we observed that the Automotive category ranked from substantially further away, similar to our Local Pack Desktop and Google Maps results. On mobile, their median distance was 3.6 miles, compared to 1.7 miles for the runner-up, Sports & Recreation. Beauty and Fitness had the shortest median distance once again, at 0.3 miles.


Analyzing the Information

We observed striking parallels between the Local Pack on mobile and Google Maps, just as we did with the desktop Local Pack. Around 69 percent of entries in the top three spots were found on both platforms, but not always in the same order. In the meanwhile, over 52% of listings displayed in the same spot on both sites. 

The results of the Local Pack on mobile and desktop, on the other hand, were not similar. Approximately 77 percent of listings, regardless of rank, appeared on both mobile and desktop. When both presence and position were taken into account, the percentage reduced to about 68 percent.

What You Can Do if You Don’t Like It

It’s never simple to persuade your consumers to leave a review. There may be as many techniques as there are companies with web accounts to do this. Of course, the first step is to guarantee that as many clients as possible have a favorable experience. 

You may assist those pleased customers in leaving more powerful reviews by giving links to your Google listing as well as opening questions, which can make it simpler for reviewers to write their evaluations while also gently encouraging them to include the keywords you want to target. (You can learn more about local SEO methods in this blog article.)

It’s also critical to keep an eye on your internet reviews and reply accordingly when necessary. You may utilize the Reviews report in the Listing Management tool to keep track of the reviews for each of your business’s locations, as well as your average rating and reply to them all without ever leaving the page. 


Of course, arming oneself with information is one of the greatest ways to keep on top of local SEO. Do you want to learn more about how to use Google Maps and the Local Pack to your advantage? Don’t miss out on the Local SEO Rankings booklet, which will be released shortly!

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The “how important are google reviews for seo” is a question that has been asked many times. The answer to the question is that they are very important, as they can help you rank on Google and other search engines.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do reviews impact Local SEO rankings?

A: Reviews do not impact your local SEO rankings.

Why are reviews important for Local SEO?

A: Reviews are important for Local SEO because people post their opinions and thoughts on the products they have purchased or used. Google recognizes reviews as a valuable resource, which is why it incorporates them into Search Engine Optimization.

How do Google reviews Impact SEO?

A: Google reviews have a strong impact on SEO. The more positive your google reviews, the better it is for your search engine rankings.

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