If you’re considering buying a product, you’re probably going to read the reviews to see what other folks have to say. Similarly, If when you’re looking for a local business, there’s a good chance that you’re going to read online reviews before making your final decision.
Most consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family, and nearly everyone reads reviews before deciding to buy something. Clearly, reviews are important to people, but they’re also a key part of Google’s local algorithm.
According to Moz’s 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors study, reviews are the 3rd most important ranking signal for showing up in the local map pack, or the map with 3 listings that appear underneath when Google returns search results. Google looks at factors such as review score, review quantity, review velocity, and the actual text in reviews as prominent factors in local search rankings.
In other words, if you’ve got a better review score and more reviews than your competitors (and all other factors are equal), you’re likely to rank higher in local searches. Reviews are social proof—real human data that’s associated with the entity of your business online.