With over one billion active monthly users, Google Maps is a key aspect of local SEO. Any business that can increase its visibility for a local search term will inevitably experience a dramatic increase in targeted traffic. But why have reviews become such a key factor, and how can a business use this to its advantage? Reputation Sensei™ helps businesses in Atlanta and across the United States to increase visibility with the use of reviews.
The Importance of Reviews in Google Maps
The way a business reaches consumers has changed considerably in recent times. Whereas advertising and word-of-mouth were the main factors driving a consumer towards using a product or service, reviews and search engine visibility are the main focus.
A key reason for this change is that Google offers a user-friendly experience for searchers. Using the proximity of the searcher, Google Maps lists all the relevant businesses based on the user’s query. What you may not know is that Google filters the businesses that surface based on customer reviews, giving prominence to only the most favorable services. Let’s look at a real-world example.
How Can Reviews Help Visibility in Google Maps?
As the screenshot shows above, a search for “best allergy doctor in Alpharetta” returns the top listing with a 4.9 star rating based on 355 reviews. Additionally, this listing features a review that includes the words “best” and “allergy” – both words that were included in the search query.
Why Did Google Select These Businesses to Appear?
There are two important factors influencing the choice of businesses that appeared in the Google Maps query for “best allergy doctor in Alpharetta.”
1. Understanding Star Ratings
The word “best” is a common prefix to a local search. When this word is included, Google lists only profiles with a star rating of 4.0 or higher. But even a simple location-based term will be filtered based on reviews. Simply put, a large number of positive reviews will ensure your business is listed prominently in Google Maps. Having fewer reviews that are also of low quality can dramatically limit your business’ visibility in maps.
These results are mirrored in consumer behavior, with an estimated 48% of searchers unwilling to use a business with a rating below 4.0. Searchers also expect to see reviews from the last three months, highlighting the importance of an ongoing review collection process.
Mentions are the second important factor that can influence a business listing surfacing in Google Maps. Just as the word “best” in the example query helped provide relevance to the search term, various other keywords play a similar role. In practical terms, the more reviews you can acquire, the greater chance of a mention related to a user’s search query. This increased relevance will also lead to an increased click-through rate to your business’ website, phone call, or even direction requests to your business’ location.
How Can a Business Get More Reviews?
At first glance, search results heavily determined by reviews might appear to favor big businesses and chains. However, there are plenty of opportunities for small businesses to outperform the competition in the local landscape. Engaging with your community, proactively requesting reviews and building customer relationships are all areas where a local business can thrive.
Reputation Sensei has helped numerous companies in Atlanta to grow their businesses using a process called reputation marketing. By streamlining the customer review process and building closer relationships with consumers, local businesses can generate an ongoing stream of positive reviews. As these new reviews influence Google Maps placement, a cycle of positive sentiment and greater visibility allows your business to grow.
We Can Help Your Business Get More Reviews
Reviews are already an important part of local SEO. Reputation Sensei trains and assists businesses in reputation marketing built on a foundation of positive reviews. To find out how we can help your business, call (770) 263-7455 or book an online review.