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Interesting article on Search Engine Journal about the importance of business reviews. Your business listing is prompted up with more positive reviews which is especially important for local area search.
Google Local Search Study: Businesses on First Page Have an Avg. 4.4 Star Rating
Businesses ranking on the first page of Google local search results have an average review rating of 4.42 stars.
This information was revealed in a recent study from BrightLocal which examines Google reviews and how they relate to local rankings.
A high star rating was found to strongly correlate with better rankings in Google search.
Businesses ranking in the top 3 positions are more likely to have an average star rating of 4-5 stars (64% of businesses have 4-5 stars).
Out of those ranking in positions 7-10 59% of were found to have a 4-5 star rating.
Only 20% of businesses in positions 1-3 were found to have no Google reviews, compared to 26% of businesses in positions 7-10.
Those numbers stress the importance of having a favorable star rating when it comes to ranking well in Google local search.
Positive reviews send signals to Google that the business is trustworthy and provides a good experience for customers.
Therefore, Google will be more likely to direct people toward those businesses when searching for what they offer.
Other Key Findings from the Study
Only 5% of businesses have an average star rating below 3 stars
Photographers, alternative therapy businesses, and marketing services have the highest average star ratings
Senior living services, car dealerships, and hotels have the lowest average star ratings
Bars, restaurants, and hotels are the industries that are most likely to have Google Reviews
Accountants are the least likely industry to have reviews on Google
Results from this study are based on the analysis of 93,000 businesses’ Google reviews in 26 industries.
Another recent study from Moz further illustrates the growing importance of Google My Business signals in local search results.
Have you ever searched various services or products from your PC, tablet and phone trying to figure out what happens when your customers do the same? I'm guessing we all have and came to the same conclusion: it's a moving target. As shop owners we are all thinking "How do people in need of my services find me online"? Once we know the answer to this question we know where to go to get found, but that answer doesn't seem to be clear.
Google search is still the #1 lead generator but the playing field has changed, here is the best article I have ever seen which clearly describes what Google is (and was) doing. If you struggle like me to understand, this will clear up a little confusion. To read it, CLICK HERE.
Scorpion Internet Marketing are the experts my company has recently teamed up with for web development and marketing.
Google has a great informational page that outlines best practices to increase your website/business ranking in search results.
Can’t find your business? Improve your info.
You may find that your business doesn’t appear for relevant searches in your area. To maximize how often your customers see your business in local search results, complete the following tasks in Google My Business. Providing and updating business information in Google My Business can help your business’s local ranking on Google and enhance your presence in Search and Maps.
Enter complete data
Local results favor the most relevant results for each search, and businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to match with the right searches. Make sure that you’ve entered all of your business information in Google My Business, so customers know more about what you do, where you are, and when they can visit you. Provide information like (but not limited to) your physical address, phone number, and category. Make sure to keep this information updated as your business changes. Learn how to edit your business information
Verify your location(s)
Verify your business locations to give them the best opportunity to appear for users across Google products, like Maps and Search. Learn more about verification
Keep your hours accurate
Entering and updating your opening hours, including special hours for holidays and special events, lets potential customers know when you’re available and gives them confidence that when they travel to your location, it will be open. Learn how to edit your hours
Manage and respond to reviews
Interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business. High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location. Encourage customers to leave feedback by creating a link they can click to write reviews. Learn more
Adding photos to your listings shows people your goods and services, and can help you tell the story of your business. Accurate and appealing pictures may also show potential customers that your business offers what they’re searching for. Learn more
How Google determines local ranking
Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. These factors are combined to help find the best match for your search. For example, Google algorithms might decide that a business that's farther away from your location is more likely to have what you're looking for than a business that's closer, and therefore rank it higher in local results.
Relevance refers to how well a local listing matches what someone is searching for. Adding complete and detailed business information can help Google better understand your business and match your listing to relevant searches.
Just like it sounds–how far is each potential search result from the location term used in a search? If a user doesn't specify a location in their search, Google will calculate distance based on what’s known about their location.
Prominence refers to how well-known a business is. Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results try to reflect this in local ranking. For example, famous museums, landmark hotels, or well-known store brands that are familiar to many people are also likely to be prominent in local search results.
Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the web (like links, articles, and directories). Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business's local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so SEO best practices also apply to local search optimization.
There's no way to request or pay for a better local ranking on Google. We do our best to keep the details of the search algorithm confidential to make the ranking system as fair as possible for everyone.
About 6-7 years ago a customer had us tow his no run 2000 Chevrolet Blazer into the shop. The tow was billed to our shop. The conclusion of our diagnosis was that the car needed an engine and the customer was not gong to fix it. Imagine my susprise to come in on a Monday morning and find the Blazer was gone from our lot. It had been blocked in by other cars but someone had went to the business next door drove up over the curb and the grass and drug it out of our lot over our curb. You could see the tracks in the grass and on the curb. The total that was owed was only about $80. Guess what I never heard from the owner (kid) again. So I assume someone out of the blue did not steal a car that would not run.
I turned the bill over to our law firm for collections simply on the principle of the matter. About 6 months ago my law firm collected on the bill which was now over $300 due to interest and court costs. Then today I am left two one star reviews slandering our business on Google by this individual. This person was nothing other than a thief and Google allows this kind of reviews to occur. I have received about 6 undeserved one star reviews with no comments in the last year. Stuff from a former employee I fired and reviews from people with no record of them having ever been in the shop.