One of the things you will hear SEO experts say these days is to incorporate customer reviews on your website and product pages. While you should naturally expect customer reviews to be positive for your services, products and business as a whole, you might not really grasp the idea of customer reviews hurting your SEO. Many people want to know if customer reviews can really impact search results. There is no direct yes or no answer to this question. However, you can safely say that there is definitely a correlation between customer reviews and website rankings on search engines.
There is no direct impact of your business' online rating on your SEO rankings. The indirect effects cannot be denied though. Take the example of Google maps. After the recent updates, Google maps now show businesses with their ratings right beside their names. It is important here to understand that your business can appear in Google Map results even if it is not rated 5 out of 5. However, do you think customers will feel like clicking on the link when they have dozens of other links with 5 out of 5 stars? People search for businesses on Google Maps because they are looking to visit some place.
A man will not like to take his family to a new restaurant after seeing that its rating is below 3. Instead he will select the restaurant with a higher rating. Now, another important update that Google recently made in this application makes it clear that somehow your website ranking and visibility will be hurt in local business searches – that is if you have a bad rating. When Google presents its map results of local businesses, it clearly outlines the point that businesses that have higher rating are ranked higher. From this you could say that online reviews and ratings are affecting your SEO visibility directly.
The effect of customer reviews is quite noticeable in mobile search results. When you search for a business on Google Now you will notice that all the businesses appear with the ratings and the number of people who reviewed them. Businesses that have a higher average rating from their users will be ranked higher. This puts results with low ratings and reviews down on the list. In simple words, your business is not even visible to most of the people who look only at the top results when they search for something. There are some funny ways customer reviews, good or bad, can affect your SEO. For example, if a customer wrote a funny review about your business or product, it could get shared on the web for entertainment.
There are several Amazon reviews that have been shared on many online blogs for being witty. Such reviews can even earn you backlinks and mentions as bloggers will mention your company's name when they talk about the review. However, such a review can be devastating for your business if it goes viral. The more people know about it the more they will start making an opinion about your business based on a review. Lastly, when you have customer reviews on your product pages, they help those web pages rank higher.What happens is your customers naturally use several keywords when making comments. Search engine crawlers analyze these keywords and start ranking you for them. The good thing is that customers can help you identify some new keywords as well. For example, you might have named one of your t-shirts "the comfortable T" and customers could have started calling it "the comfy t". This adds to the list of keywords you are bidding for and can help you rank higher for the new keyword.