Posted by Colleen Frye & filed under Local Search Focus, Search Engine Marketing.

Google Reviews

Two of my VERY favorite topics! Google reviews & local businesses. Yours too, I just know it 😉

As y’all may remember, we use BrightLocal, a keyword ranking tool, to provide you with the most unbiased rankings for your business. We have been using this service for years now and really have come to trust them and what they’re all about. And that also includes their awesome ‘Studies’ they perform where they focus on one particular thing and research the heck out of it. They do the hard work and we get a clear understanding of what’s been found. Most of the time, these findings are extremely helpful for local businesses!

This is one of those times! Just recently, BrightLocal released a study on reviews within Google Local and Google Maps. It looked at over 93,000 business reviews in Google (dang!) and produced the findings around how many businesses have reviews, the average star ratings across businesses, their rankings in Google local, plus more.

Curious what the study discovered!? We were too! We’ve outlined the general findings below:

  • 74% of local businesses have at least one review
  • The average business has 39 reviews on Google
  • 61% of local businesses have an average star rating of 4 to 5 stars
  • On average, local businesses have a 4.4 star rating on Google
  • The hospitality sector has the largest number of reviews
  • Accounts, landscaping & senior living centers have the fewest reviews
  • Photograph businesses, alternative therapy businesses & marketing businesses generally have the highest star rating

So now that you know what we know, what does this mean for your business & how do reviews impact local rankings in Google!?

One takeaway with studies is that you have to be really careful how you interpret them. Especially when it comes to finding a correlation with reviews & rankings when there are so many factors in between. However, Google does say in its own help document that “Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking.”

The study showed that businesses in the top 10 positions on Google have an average of 4.42 stars and that businesses ranking in the top three positions are more likely to have an average star rating of 4-5 stars than those in in positions 7 to 10. Twenty-six percent of businesses in positions 7 to 10 don’t have Google reviews, compared to 20% of businesses in positions 1 to 3.

It’s something to think about! The moral of the story, ask for reviews from happy customers! It certainly can’t hurt. And heck, even a couple negative reviews here and there are actually encouraged by Google… it shows the company is human!


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