Does Responding to Reviews Help SEO?

Negative reviews. Positive reviews. Google reviews. Yelp reviews. Social media reviews. Customer reviews of all kinds are a powerful force that helps shape your local business’s online reputation

You likely know that reviews matter and that responding to online reviews is critical in any digital marketing strategy. That’s because taking the time to acknowledge customers and thank them for their personal recommendations can help you: 

  • Resolve customer service issues
  • Build trust with repeat and potential customers
  • Reach and convert new customers
  • Evaluate your online reputation and find opportunities to improve the customer experience

But you may be curious: Does responding to reviews influence SEO rankings? Yes, it can. And we’re here to explain how. But first, let’s dive into the basics. What is SEO, anyway? We have answers on that, too.

What is SEO?

If you’re wondering what is SEO and why it matters for local businesses, then you’ve come to the right place. 

SEO stands for search engine optimization. Although that’s a mouthful, it’s a pretty simple concept to grasp, especially if you’ve spent any amount of time Googling or poking around any other search engine. 

When you search for something, you get a list of results beneath your search queries. This list of results is ranked in order of what the search engine thinks is the most relevant content related to your search. 

SEO efforts are an essential component of a digital marketing strategy that businesses use to help their website or Google Business Profile listing (formerly known as Google My Business listing) show up higher in these results. The higher your listing appears in search results, the more visibility, traffic and visits you’re likely to get. 

For local businesses, in particular, taking the time to improve your local SEO is a huge deal. It can be the difference between being the company nobody knows about because you’re not listed in Google Maps and the local search to being the go-to service provider in town.

Does responding to reviews help SEO?

Yes, in short: Responding to reviews helps SEO. According to none other than one of the leading authorities on the matter, Google says that managing and responding to customer reviews about your business is one way to improve your local ranking on its platform.

If you’re looking to maximize your visibility through SEO and ensure your business shows up in relevant local searches, the leading search engine recommends reviewing your Google Business Profile to make sure it is:

  • Accurate
  • Complete
  • Engaging

To do that, Google suggests:

  1. Filling out all of the Business Profile information
  2. Verifying your locations
  3. Keeping your business hours accurate

…and most relevant to the question that brought you to this article:

  1. Managing and responding to your reviews

Google explains that responding to Google reviews shows you value your customers and their feedback.

For some insights into how Google determines local rankings using its search algorithm, the search engine explains that there are three key ranking factors the company keeps in mind when evaluating how to display Google Maps and Google Search results:

    • Relevance: This is a measure of how well any given Business Profile matches a local search and if they have a complete and detailed listing (again, that includes responding to online reviews)
    • Distance: Google considers how far away each listing is from the location used in a given search or the user’s location
  • Prominence: Google also looks at how well-known a given business is when ranking in the search results

While you may not be able to easily change your location’s distance or prominence, you can increase your relevance by keeping your Business Profile up-to-date. Ask customers to give reviews and keep up your review response rates by writing helpful replies. 

Extra efforts to generate and respond to reviews help Google and potential customers get to know your business better. Best of all, it empowers the search engine to match your profile to relevant local searches. 

Other benefits of responding to reviews

Negative reviews — 1- and 2-star reviews — can take a hit to your online reputation and turn away potential customers who find your business through local search.

However, responding to negative reviews on social media, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and other sites can turn things around. It demonstrates to existing and potential customers that you:

  • Make efforts to resolve customer service issues from unhappy customers 
  • Appreciate customer feedback of all kinds
  • Value customer loyalty

According to the Google support page, high-quality customer reviews can boost your local ranking and increase the chances customers will revisit your business. Responding to your current reviews also encourages future reviews because it signals to customers that their opinions and experiences matter. 

Manage your online reputation with Broadly 

We help business owners and local businesses get more reviews. With our customer review management tools, we’ll help you keep up with online reviews across channels and even automate the review request process to grow your Google reviews.

Book a demo today to see how we can help with your customer reviews.