Learn how Google ranks search results and why reviews matter. Explore strategies to collect, manage, and leverage reviews to boost your online presence and attract more customers.
How Google Reviews Impact Your Local SEO Ranking

In today's digital age, online reviews and SEO ratings wield considerable influence over a business's online visibility and reputation. Recent surveys suggest that a whopping 93% of global travelers say their booking decisions are influenced by customer reviews. For this reason, businesses across all industries must incorporate effective review managementprocesses into their marketing strategies.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore why reviews and SEO ratings are important, where to get reviews, and how to leverage them to boost your search visibility.

How does Google SEO work?

Before learning how online reviews and SEO ratings impact online searches, it's imperative to first understand Google's basic ranking algorithm.

Google ranks search results by evaluating many factors to determine the most relevant and high-quality web pages for users. Relevance is paramount, as Google assesses how well a web page matches the user's query by analyzing keywordusage, content quality, and user intent. Proper keyword usage in content, headings, and meta tags is essential for indicating relevance, but keyword stuffing is discouraged. Furthermore, Google considers factors like user engagement, such as click-through rates and dwell time on pages, as indicators of the quality and appeal of search results. Indeed, while you can deploy a handful of backend SEO strategy, content is still king when it comes to search engine visibility.

Aside from websites, these parameters also apply to online listings, such as those on Booking.com, Tripadvisor, and more. Needless to say, the website prioritizes its primary business listing platform, Google My Business, so it's highly recommended to create and optimize a Google Business profile for all your business. To learn more about this, read our article Google Business Profile Guide: How to Optimize Your Profile

Do reviews improve SEO?

Yes, reviews and SEO ranking goes hand-in-hand, and each review can significantly affect your search engineranking. They provide fresh content, incorporate relevant keywords, and increase user engagement, all of which are factors that search engines consider when ranking websites. Positive reviews can enhance credibility and trust, leading to higher click-through rates and improved rankings in search results.

Do reviews help local SEO?

Absolutely, reviews are vital for local SEO, significantly enhancing visibility in local search results, especially on Google Maps and Google My Business. Studies indicate that a 5-star rating can boost clicks from the Google Local Pack by 25%, and 56% of consumers prefer businesses with positive reviews in the Local Pack.

Reviews influence local rankings by building trust and encouraging user interaction. High-quality reviews with relevant keywords help search engines understand your business's context and quality, increasing the likelihood of appearing in local search results.

Why are reviews and ratings important?

Reviews and SEO rankings can significantly impact a business, regardless of whether they have a physical store or are operating digitally. According to a BrightLocal survey in 2021, 91% of consumers aged 18-34 (the most powerful consumer group) trust customer reviews as much as personal recommendations. Instead of looking for complete product lists or other business information, customers prioritize looking for reviews, as they create realistic representations of a business's offers.

screenshot google search best hotels siena italy
Sample of a Google Search featuring Google Reviews and Tripadvisor content.

Additionally, a study found that online reviews contribute to approximately 15.44% of how Google ranks a local business, emphasizing their role in search engine optimization. Furthermore, a one-star improvement in a business's Yelp rating can lead to a 5-9% increase in revenue . The same goes with other leading review websites such as Tripadvisor and Trustpilot, demonstrating the direct link between good visibility in a review website and financial success. These statistics underscore the critical role reviews and ratings play in building trust, improving search rankings, and driving revenue for businesses in the digital age.


How do reviews affect unbranded searches?

Aside from general consumer statistics, it's also worth noting that reviews and ratings affect unbranded searches.

Unbranded searches are those where users are looking for generic products or services. While branded searches still account for 60% of organic traffic for websites, the 40% left for unbranded searches can still significantly affect the revenue generation of a business.

screenshot unbranded search singapore
Sample of an unbranded search.

Reviews play a pivotal role in unbranded searches by helping search engines understand the quality and relevance of your offerings. High-quality reviews with relevant keywords can increase your website's chances of ranking higher in unbranded search results.

This is especially true for the hospitality industry. In today's age, where the market is filled with alternative accommodation choices, travelers rarely do branded searches when looking for a place to stay. Usually, they just key in generic keywords into Google, like "best capsule hotel in Singapore" or "best 4-bedroom property in Singapore". Without enough reviews, your booking pages would not be able to rank in such searches.

How do reviews affect branded searches?

Branded searches involve users looking for a specific brand or business, and it accounts for the most number of organic traffic for a website. Reviews significantly impact branded searches as they provide social proof and credibility. Positive reviews can enhance click-through rates and engagement, leading to improved rankings for branded searches.

sample of a branded search singapore
Sample of a branded search.

Where should I get reviews?

While quantity is essential, knowing where to ask for reviews and ratings is important. Without identifying the best platform to connect with your customers, you wouldn't be able to use your reviews to boost your search engine visibility.

Here are some of the top platforms to ask for reviews and ratings:

Google Reviews

Google Reviews is a cornerstone of online reputation management. They enhance your credibility and play a pivotal role in local search rankings. Google My Business (GMB) reviews are prominently displayed in search results, making them a vital resource for potential customers evaluating your business. Encouraging satisfied customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business page not only boosts your online presence but also increases the likelihood of your business appearing in local search results.

Furthermore, it's also essential to monitor the activities of your Google Business Profile. Fake reviews can only help your local SEO ranking for a while, but this can imme

Booking websites or review platforms

For businesses in the hospitality and travel industries, review platforms like TripAdvisor, Expedia, and Airbnb are indispensable. These platforms cater specifically to travelers and offer a vast audience of potential customers. Accumulating reviews on these platforms can significantly influence the decisions of travelers when choosing accommodations, restaurants, or activities. It's crucial to maintain a strong presence on these platforms and actively encourage satisfied guests to share their experiences.

To determine which review platforms are most relevant to your business, consider factors like your industry, target audience, and geographic reach. Conducting research and reading customer reviews of your competitors can help identify the most effective platforms for your specific business.

Read our article Discover the Best Customer Review Sites for Your Business to learn which website you include in your SEO strategy and process.

Social Media

Social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, are not only excellent for engaging with your audience but also for gathering reviews and testimonials. Encourage customers to share their experiences on your social media pages or through user-generated content. Positive social media reviews and testimonials can enhance your brand's image and attract new customers who value peer recommendations.


Incorporating a review section directly on your website provides a convenient and trustworthy space for customers to leave feedback. This allows you to maintain control over your online reputation and build trust with website visitors. Ensure your website's review section is user-friendly, easy to access, and prominently displayed. Additionally, consider implementing schema markup to provide structured data to search engines, which can potentially lead to rich snippets and star ratings in search results, further enhancing your search visibility.

To learn more about how you can collect Google reviews on your website, read our article Boost Credibility and Trust: Adding Google Reviews to Your Website .

Strategically selecting the platforms to ask for reviews and ratings is essential for businesses aiming to improve their search engine visibility. Each platform offers unique advantages, and tailoring your approach to your industry and target audience can yield the most significant impact.

Are Google Reviews good for SEO?

Google Reviews play a pivotal role in influencing search results, particularly in two significant aspects:

Google Map Searches

High star ratings and the presence of relevant keywords in Google reviews can have a profound positive impact on rankings in Google Maps searches. When potential customers search for local businesses or services, they often rely on star ratings to gauge the quality and credibility of a business. Furthermore, the inclusion of keywords in Google reviewshelps search engines understand the context and relevance of your business, increasing the likelihood of your business appearing in local map results. In essence, Google Maps rankings are directly affected by the quantity and quality of reviews.

screenshot google maps best hotels siena italy
Google Maps’ Local 3-pack for best hotels in Siena, Italy.

Additionally, the quality and authenticity of Google reviews are pivotal factors in determining search visibility. Genuine reviews that reflect real customer experiences build trust not only with potential customers but also with search engines. Google's algorithms are designed to favor businesses with authentic reviews, making it crucial to maintain the integrity of your review ecosystem.

To learn how you can rank in Google Maps searches, read our complete article, Google Maps Marketing: Unlock Your Business Potential with This Ultimate Guide

Google My Business Profile

A well-maintained Google My Business (GMB) profile is essential for businesses aiming to improve their search rankings. The components of a strong GMB profile include high star ratings, positive reviews, and a substantial quantity of reviews. Star ratings are often the first thing potential customers notice when they encounter your GMB listing, and higher ratings can lead to increased click-through rates and engagement. Positive sentiment in review text further reinforces your business's credibility and reputation.

screenshot Google My Business best hotels siena italy
Sample of a well-optimized Google My Business account ranking first on relevant searches.

Beyond star ratings and sentiment, the recency of reviews is another critical factor influencing search visibility. Googlevalues fresh feedback, so regularly encouraging customers to leave reviews helps maintain an up-to-date online presence. Responsiveness to customer feedback is equally vital. Addressing reviews, both positive and negative, demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction and can positively impact your search rankings.

Moreover, the presence of positive review attributes, such as mentions of excellent customer service, product quality, or unique offerings, can also contribute to improved search visibility. These attributes provide additional context and relevance to your business, making it more appealing to potential customers and search engines alike.

To learn more about optimizing your Google My Business listing, read our complete article, Google My Business Guide: How to Optimize Your Profile .

Does replying to Google Reviews help?

Yes, replying to Google Reviews is beneficial. Responding to reviews not only shows customers that you value their feedback but also positively impacts your SEO. Engaging with reviews increases user interaction, which is a factor Google considers in rankings. It also demonstrates your commitment to customer service, which builds trust and credibility.

Craft personalized responses for each review. Address specific comments and express gratitude. For negative reviews, respond professionally, acknowledging concerns and offering solutions. This not only improves your online reputation but also encourages more customer interaction.

How many Google Reviews are necessary for a positive SEO effect?

While there’s no exact number, having at least 10-15 reviews can significantly benefit your SEO. This provides a solid foundation for Google to evaluate your business's relevance and credibility. More reviews generally lead to higher rankings, as they contribute to fresh content and increased user engagement.

Aim to consistently gather new reviews rather than focusing on a specific number. Implement strategies such as follow-up emails or incentives to encourage customers to leave feedback. Regularly updating your reviews signals to Google that your business is active and trustworthy.

How to boost search visibility with reviews?

Boosting search visibility through effective review management is a multifaceted approach that involves several key strategies:

Actively collect reviews

To proactively build your online reputation, it's essential to actively ask for reviews from your customers. Employ various strategies to encourage customers to leave feedback, such as sending follow-up emails after a purchase or service or offering incentives like discounts or exclusive offers in exchange for reviews. These tactics not only increase the volume of reviews but also ensure a steady flow of fresh feedback, which search engines value.

However, it's worth noting that collection review strategies can sometimes affect the consumer experience. To avoid this, read our complete article How to Collect Reviews and Elevate Your Brand's Image.

Proper review monitoring and management

Regularly monitoring and managing your reviews is crucial for maintaining trust with your audience. Consistently check review platforms, social media channels, and your website for new reviews. Respond to reviews promptly and professionally, whether they are positive or negative.

Read our article Review Management Software: Ensuring Online Reputation the Smart Way to learn how to streamline an efficient review management process.

Promote positive reviews

Leverage the power of positive reviews by showcasing them on your website and across your social media channels. Feature customer testimonials prominently on your website's landing pages or dedicated testimonial sections. Sharing positive reviews on social media not only boosts your online reputation but also encourages others to leave their feedback. User-generated content, such as photos or videos of satisfied customers, can also be powerful tools for promoting positive experiences.

Read our article on handling positive reviews to learn more strategies on how to turn them into effective marketing assets.

Resolve negative reviews

Negative reviews can be challenging, but addressing them promptly and professionally is essential for reputation management. Respond to negative reviews with empathy and a willingness to resolve the issue. Encourage dissatisfied customers to contact you directly to discuss their concerns further. Demonstrating a commitment to customer satisfaction can turn negative experiences into positive outcomes and showcase your dedication to excellence.

To mitigate the impact of negative reviews on your online reputation, read our article Don’t Let Negative Reviews Ruin Your Business: Examples & Tips

Do keywords in Google Reviews help SEO?

Yes, keywords in Google Reviews play a crucial role in enhancing SEO. They help search engines understand the context of your business and improve visibility in local search results. Here are some expert tips for leveraging keywords in your Google Reviews:

  1. Encourage Specific Feedback: Ask customers to mention specific products or services in their reviews. This naturally incorporates relevant keywords without seeming forced.
  2. Respond Strategically: When replying to reviews, subtly include keywords related to your business. This reinforces the relevance of your services to search engines.
  3. Use Review Request Templates: Create templates for review requests that suggest customers mention particular aspects of their experience. This can guide them to use keywords organically.
  4. Highlight Positive Attributes: When responding, highlight positive attributes mentioned by customers. For example, if someone praises your "fast delivery," incorporate that term in your response.
  5. Monitor Keyword Trends: Keep track of trending keywords in your industry and subtly encourage their use in reviews. This ensures that your content remains current and relevant.

Do fake reviews affect Google SEO?

Yes, fake reviews can significantly affect Google SEO including local SEO, but not in a positive way. While a sudden influx of positive reviews might seem beneficial initially, Google's algorithms are sophisticated and can detect unnatural patterns. Fake reviews can lead to penalties, reducing your search visibility and damaging your credibility.

Focus on gathering genuine reviews by providing excellent service and encouraging satisfied customers to share their experiences. Use automated follow-up emails or in-store prompts to request reviews. It would also be helpful to use targeted strategies that can boost the visibility of your listing within Google's local SEO.

Write SEO-ready review responses with MARA AI

Responding to online reviews can be a daunting task, especially if you’re considering search engine optimization. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be with our AI Review Assistant , MARA. This intuitive tool is designed to ease your Online Reputation Management process, making it more efficient, personalized, and time-saving. It offers the best and most personalized AI for responding to and analyzing your guest reviews.

Streamlined Review Inbox

After you ask for reviews, the first step in optimizing your customer reviews for SEO is through properly monitoring them.

One of the key features of this tool is the Review Inbox . Your review inbox makes responding to reviews as simple as hitting "Generate reply" and clicking "Send". The Review Inbox connects to multiple review sources, including Google, Booking.com, and TripAdvisor, giving you a panoramic view of all your reviews. And you can even configure review response automation: Why not allow MARA to automatically respond to simple reviews, like 5-star Google reviews with no text, ensuring you never miss a review? Daily notifications about new reviews keep you updated and in control.

MARA Review Inbox
Easy review management with a seamless Review Inbox.

Analyzing Your Online Reviews

Relevant keywords and key topics are essential when optimizing your online review content. You can start by analyzing your customer reviews.

To help you understand and analyze the multitude of reviews, the Review Assistant also incorporates Review Analytics . This provides actionable, easy-to-understand insights that are tailored exclusively to your business. With MARA, you can quickly get the gist of all your reviews without needing to read each one. The analysis is so detailed that you can find out about specific issues like "the water in the pool is too cold" or "lack of vegan breakfast options". These insights help optimize guest experience without requiring you to be a data expert.

MARA Review Analytics
Conducting initial SEO research with Review Analytics.

Personalization for SEO

MARA's AI isn't just about efficiency; it's about personalization too. The Brand Voice feature allows the AI to adapt to your tone, making sure your responses sound authentically you. Plus, with Smart Snippets , you can "teach" the AI how to respond to recurring praises or complaints. Your AI then incorporates this information into its responses, but always with different words, providing more personalized, relevant replies.

This review response assistant has quickly become a game-changer for over 2000 customers. Its promising capacity to elevate your overall rating, amplify response rates, glean insights from customer feedback, and economize both time and money, is the reason behind its growing popularity.

Final Thought

In the digital landscape, reviews and ratings are indispensable assets for businesses seeking to enhance their online presence and search engine rankings. By understanding their significance, strategically gathering reviews, and effectively managing them, you can leverage the power of reviews to boost your search visibility and ultimately grow your business. Fortunately, managing online reviews need not be an overwhelming task. With the appropriate software, not only can you streamline the process, but you can also personalize your responses, and derive valuable insights from the reviews. So, why hesitate to give our AI Review Assistant, MARA, a try? It's completely free for testing , doesn't require a credit card, and can be fully operational in less than five minutes.

This post is part of our hero content series on “ Online Reputation Management for Hotels - All You Need to Know " and "Mastering Google Reviews - A Complete Guide".

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Frequently Asked Questions:

Why is online rating important?

Aside from better search engine visibility, online ratings are important because they provide social proof and help potential customers make informed decisions. High ratings instill trust and confidence in a business, increasing the likelihood of customer engagement.

What is the value of ratings and reviews?

The value of ratings and reviews lies in their ability to reach more customers and build a strong reputation for businesses. Positive reviews can enhance a company's online image, attract more customers, and improve overall trustworthiness, while negative reviews offer insights for improvement and transparency.

How do ratings and reviews affect sales?

Ratings and reviews have a direct impact on sales, as consumers often rely on them to evaluate products or services. Positive reviews can boost sales by providing reassurance and influencing purchase decisions, while negative reviews can deter potential buyers if not appropriately addressed.

Do you have to pay Google for SEO?

No, you don’t have to pay Google for SEO. SEO focuses on optimizing your website organically to improve search rankings. While paid advertising can complement SEO efforts, organic rankings are achieved through high-quality content, keyword optimization, and user engagement.

How can customer reviews impact SEO strategy?

Customer reviews can significantly enhance your SEO strategy by providing fresh content, incorporating relevant keywords, and increasing user engagement. Positive reviews build trust and credibility, leading to higher click-through rates and improved search rankings.

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