Google also aggregates reviews, pulling in consumer reviews from other reputable sites to generate a score for your business. Positive social proof coupled with effective SEO, is a winning combination for all businesses.
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Google reviews are created by people with Google+ accounts. These reviews have much more impact in search rankings than Yelp or other local search sites. Quality and quantity of reviews are the most important factors that affect Google ranking. This conclusion came from an extensive study by Digital Marketing Works (DMW). The key for marketers is the more quality reviews you can get, the better chance of a high local Google ranking. Another ranking variable is distance and travel time, but market size does not seem to make a difference.
Importance of Reviews
Reviews help define your image for consumers who use them for their research, since reading reviews can help speed up decisions about purchases. Businesses that get the most high quality reviews tend to get high Google ranking. So it's advantageous to optimize your profile for Google reviews, since this content creates extra clicks for your business. Reviews on other sites such as Yahoo have less impact on Google ranking.
Lengthy reviews have greater impact on Google ranking than short reviews. Well written reviews can be the best promotion because they are treated as endorsements. But bad reviews can be damaging. That's why you want to make sure that your site gets higher ranking than web pages with bad reviews about your business. You can gain an edge over sites with competing keywords by creating as much authoritative content as possible.
One way to get an edge is to create more local content pages than your competitors. Google favors sites that offer a lot of original useful content. Such sites are considered to have authority and can get high search rankings.