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What is the Google Reviews Plugin, and Why is it Good for SEO?


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Gone are the days of telephone books and newspaper testimonials. Despite a growing proportion of users opting for alternative means of web browsing to satisfy their queries – whether it’s a quirky brunch spot or a local mechanic – Google remains the first port of call. Within the user experience, determining the risk of your investment is often a key contributor to conversion when browsing products and services online. That’s where the Google Reviews Plugin for Wordpress comes in – it’s natural to want a second opinion on a product before dishing out money for it, or wasting your time going to a business that could potentially fail to meet your expectations. With 84% of customers trusting online reviews just as much as personal recommendations, utilising online reviews is not only a free way to boost your SEO strategy, but aso offers a way to instil customer trust in your company with little to no cost.

The team at SEO Melbourne explores how Google reviews are an integral signal in determining the quality of your site’s online sentiment – and how this can be implemented in WordPress, the market’s most widely used content management system.


How Exactly Can it Help Businesses?

To put it simply, trust – people are much more likely to trust people, as a form of social proof dictating how appropriate certain behaviours are. When a consumer sees positive testimonials from like-minded individuals who are satisfied with a product, it has a huge impact on whether they themselves will convert. There’s only a very small minority of people whose online purchase habits are not affected by reviews – a survey by The Podium found that online reviews influence 93% of customers’ purchase decisions. As we all know, modern means of media consumption is almost entirely digital, which is reflected in the ways younger demographics engage with reviews; 95% of users aged 18-34 will consult with online reviews, when interested in a product, compared with the overall average of 86%.

Trust Infographic Search Engine Optimisation Melbourne Google Reviews Plugin SEO Melbourne Agency

Now, take the human instinctive to want a second opinion, and pair it with the golden standard in search platforms – like Google – and you have a trust-gaining dream team. The ritual answer to any 21st century question has often been to “Google it” – whether it’s ‘Where have I seen that actor before?’ or ‘What time is my train?’, we all flock to the search engine as an unspoken hub of information. Out of the majority that search for reviews before converting, 81% of users opt for Google. It makes sense to use the site that ranks as the most popular review site, over Facebook and Yelp, to showcase your reviews, right? Not to mention, as a tool insular to the platform itself, Google Reviews are a great means for refining signals of Google SEO, without the guesswork as to whether or not the search engine is likely to take its data into account.


Choosing Which Reviews You Showcase

Embedding your reviews with Google doesn’t only give you an extra vantage on gaining customer trust – it also includes various optional features, one of which involves a dynamic feed of fresh reviews. This means that customer reviews are live-fed to your site as soon as they’re posted. This is great for you and your website, taking some of the maintenance work from your shoulders whilst increasing the chance of conversion. 40% of users only consider reviews up to two weeks old when researching a product or service, while consistent signs of site activity is often regarded by the search engine as a form of proactivity-  and therefore that the resources that exist on the site are more likely to be contemporary, to users’ concurrent search needs.

SEO Company Melbourne Reviews Graph Melbourne Search Engine Optimisation Google Reviews Plugin

The Google Reviews plugin also offers you the ability to select which views appear on your website. While it can be tempting to showcase your best reviews, it often may not be the best for your business – a profile of purely positive reviews can speak to tampering or misrepresentation, from users’ perspectives (unless it’s genuine, then you’ve got nothing to worry about!). If a negative comment surfaces off-site, all that trust you’ve cultivated becomes moot, and your company’s reputation suffers in the process. As Migs Bassig so eloquently put in a post for ReviewTrackers, “consumers can’t verify the legitimacy of a review if you’re the one controlling the content”.


How Is It Good for SEO?

Reviews are the go-to means for users across generations in developing consumer trust, regarding these resources often as metrics to determine pathways to user conversion. Alongside a high majority of these users considering themselves more likely to convert when able to engage with on-site reviews, the Google Reviews plugin is an effective and free tool businesses can use to increase CRO. But how does it improve SEO?

It’s Useful Content

Reviews make for useful user generated content (UGC), and allow customers access to unaltered social proof without leaving the page. Relying on the psychology that ‘people enjoy being part of a social group of like-minded people’, which eventually may affect their purchasing decisions and their online behaviour, reviews can provide consumers with the reassurance they need to convert. More than that, reviews written by previous customers are more than likely to exhibit the language generally used by your target audience, driving them to your site based on long-tail keyword traffic.

‘Is it Worth Paying For?’

The free version of the Google Reviews plugin allows only five reviews per location to be visible on-site. However, for an annual payment of 85USD the business version allows for unlimited reviews to be visible. The upgrade may be worth the investment, as users engage with an average of 10 reviews before trusting a business. If only half of the average presents on your Wordpress site, users may leave your page in search of further social proof, become side-tracked and end up lost as prospective leads. Below is a table of the different features on the free and business versions of the plugin.

SEO Melbourne Version Comparison Melbourne Search Engine Optimisation Google Reviews Plugin

Like all good quality content, reviews can increase dwell time/time spent on page. It’s easy to go down a rabbit hole when you’re researching the perfect product or the best deal, to the extent that once you embed customer reviews with the Google reviews plugin, users can spend an additional 5-10 minutes on your site.

Reviews also serve as a viable means of repurposing content. Tools such as Google Review Stickers allow you to create marketing materials using UGC. You can repurpose customer reviews to make posters, stickers, table tents and social media posts to further promote your business and increase brand-awareness. Additionally, you can use taglines such as “Our reviews don’t lie,” or, “See what other customers have said” to increase CTR and drive more traffic to your website.

SEO Melbourne Marketing Materials Search Engine Optimisation Melbourne Google Reviews Plugin

Engagement with Reviews

Having Google reviews publicised on your site appears as just the first step – the other half involves genuine engagement with your reviews. Instead of shunning negative reviews and excluding them from your site, use them instil further faith in your business. Data shows that 80% of customers feel as if businesses actually care when reviews receive a response, negative or otherwise. While 40% of users would consider a business that responds to negative reviews over those that don’t. Even Google encourages businesses to interact with their customers to drive further reviews. Google suggests creating a click through link for customers to leave reviews, an effective way to do so is through a CTA button. With the majority of users reading company responses to reviews, it becomes an open space to show appreciation to existing customers and to regain trust on negative reviews.

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Star Ratings

The star rating of a business can affect its position in SERPs as Google takes ratings into consideration and favours highly rated sites. Potential customers are able to discern whether they trust your business based on its star rating in Google search before even clicking through to your site. Meaning that a good star rating can increase both your traffic and conversion rate up to 17%.

Local Search Ranking

Reviews play a huge role in how high up your business lands on local SERPs. Implementing Google reviews both enhances SEO, and sends a positive signal regarding websites to the Google algorithm. But who better to trust than Google itself? Clearly on their search support page it states:

“Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so SEO best practices also apply to local search optimisation”.

Consumer reliance on online reviews has grown exponentially over recent years, and is now one of the fastest growing local factors. A recent survey conducted by Moz found that reviews are one of the three top-ranking factors in local search alongside Google my business signals and link signals.

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Final Thoughts

The Google Reviews Plugin offers a cost-effective way to promote your business and gain consumer trust. It boosts your SEO by implementing the language that your audience uses and in doing so increases keyword traffic. Google reviews are just as trustworthy as a recommendation from a friend and even more appealing than an ad on TV. Whether you opt for the free version or the upgrade, the Google Reviews plugin is a handy tool for your business’ marketing and SEO strategy. Now you know how to embed Google reviews, all you need to do is claim your Google my business listing to start – and here’s how.

To explore more great SEO-related topics and resources, visit SEO Company Melbourne – the experts in anything and everything SEO.

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