Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Reviews and your ranking in search - any correlation?

This is one of the $64,000 questions we are asked every day of our lives, and the answer is not straightforward - that is, unless you apply some simple logic.

To begin with, Google is hardly likely to publish its search algorithms any time soon - they are its most valuable asset, a bit like the secret formula is for Coca Cola. But if you diligently monitor the web, and read Google's blog assiduously, as we do, you begin to get a feel, along these lines...

  • Google likes reviews - a lot. Over the past five years they have dedicated huge resources - and massive space in search - to reviews 
  • Google really, really likes its own reviews - way above those of any other company - and it controls their relative prominence in search
  • Google is aware that the US Congress is looking at their monopoly position in reviews - and it has come up with a clever solution: Google Partners
Here are just two pieces of hard evidence. This (from the Google My Business help centre)...




...and (this from a Google search)...


And what can we extrapolate from this?
  • That businesses need to concentrate all their available energy on Google reviews
  • That Google partners, from the point of view of most businesses, are a red herring, at least from a search visibility point-of-view
  • That businesses should host independently verified reviews on their own websites
But, most convincing of all, let's look at some real-life examples of businesses that tick these boxes: they all have two things in common: they have great Google scores and numbers of reviews and they all have their own reviews on their own websites for Google to find (and in many cases pull through into search using the schema)...

Here's a business - with 112 Google reviews and another 137 on its own website - showing in a competitive local search...




...and another...


.
..given that the cost, in effort and in financial terms, is hardly prohibitive, don't you think it's time your business tried professional review management for itself?




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