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SEO Best Practices: Have You Improved Your Google Star Rating?

posted by Michael Epps Utley Michael Epps Utley
drawing with person of long brown hair sitting in front of an oversized computer screen on their phone. They are leaving a 5 star review on the screen behind them. There is a plant next to the screen and leaves in the background of the illustration

You’ve been working on your website development and following your on-site SEO checklist. Now that you have a well-established website, you’re ready for the next phase. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when it comes to managing off-site SEO factors like rankings. But don’t worry. We’ll tell you where to start and what to focus on for improved off-site search engine optimization

Track GMB Performance and Reviews

Google My Business (GMB) reviews have a direct impact on how well you rank on search engine results pages (SERPs), which is good news for your clickthrough rate. In fact, GMB listings with positive reviews can receive up to 29% more clicks, meaning more high-intent traffic for your site.

Tracking this critical set of SEO KPIs begins as simply as setting up a spreadsheet to monitor the following:

  • Number of Google Reviews Submitted through GMB: This gives a sense of how many impressions and clicks your listing is getting.

  • Star Rating and Content of Each Review: Aside from the value of knowing what customers, clients, and vendors think of your services in real-time, you have keywords about those products and services that you can use to fine-tune your pay-per-click (PPC) and content marketing strategy.

  • Total Star Rating: Cumulative data gives a good overview of trends in your visibility, your performance, and the overall impression you’re making on people you do business with.

Each month, check your total star rating. If it’s between 4 and 5 stars, things are going well, and your GMB review activity is likely improving your search engine results performance. If your star rating is below 4 stars, it’s important to understand why your ranking is low.

How to Improve Star Ratings

According to Agency51: “Although not definitively proven, there are rumours that Google uses business reputation signals in their search algorithm, and there is some empirical evidence that having a negative reputation (this includes online reviews, scam reports, site security/malware issues and so on) can also affect your visibility in Google search for the worse.”

Aside from pinpointing operational improvements you need to make, review data is a great starting point for improving SEO, since more stars is more likely to lead to a hire rank, which leads to more clicks, and so on. Once you know where things stand, you can:

  • Earn More Good Reviews: Invite happy customers to leave reviews after completing their services, receiving the product, etc.

  • Share Your Review Link: Get and share your GMB review link via email or text. Incorporating this chance to leave reviews into your content marketing is a seamless way to invite people to take the next step.

Pace Yourself when Gathering Reviews

Like many things, improving SEO through good reputation management is about quality over quantity. When it comes to improving GMB engagement and performance, don't feel like you have to get lots of reviews in a short period of time for this approach to be helpful. One or two new reviews each month have improved SEO for our clients.

When it comes to planning, we suggest getting a handle on Google first and then expand to understand the other search platforms relevant to your industry. There are numerous directories and listings services out there, and finding the ones most relevant to your business could give you added traction and improved engagement.

Note: some of these platforms are very sensitive to people asking for reviews. Your performance marketing agency or SEO team can give you tips on creative solutions to those challenges.

From GoEpps in Nashville, Tennessee

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