I posted an article the other day showing a study that was done on the number of businesses with Google reviews and the average score of high ranking sites. To rank in Google, everything is relative so you typically just need to be better than the other sites you are competing with for certain search terms, so if your competitors all have less than 5 reviews, then 6 reviews may be a good count. I should also point out that these correlation studies don’t mean cause, but they do show us data about things that may be meaningful to Google. With the latest Google algorithm adjustments focusing on E.A.T. or expertise, authoritativeness, and trust, more and more people are diving into the data of what that means.
I have been saying for years that as Google gets a better feel for how to handle reviews, they will become more important. There are many, many, fake reviews out there, and Google still has not figured it out, but I think when you are able to get a good threshold of reviews, that score starts to count more. I recently had a client that hadn’t focused on reviews in the past and actually had very few and one was one of those mysterious negatives. They got hit a bit by the latest update and though they weren’t necessarily a local targeted business, and hence not focusing on that, we decided to reach out and ask for reviews to get the count and score up. They did a great job with this plan and got their reviews count up over 10 and their average score up over 4. Within a week, their traffic seemed to return to the growth path that we had been seeing prior.
10 Reviews and a 4+ Star Average
Of course, there are hundreds of algorithm factors and just getting the 10-4 level doesn’t necessarily fix all of your problems if you are lacking in important areas like content, links, and speed, but if you are doing a good job with this stuff and saw a drop, it may be worth reaching out and getting a review management plan going. In fact, even if you didn’t see a drop, it is worth baking reviews into your business process now, because it appears that they are only growing in importance. If you haven’t been trying to get reviews, a good number to start aiming for is the 10 threshold, but you should also look at the counts of leaders in your space. Certain industries are more likely to get regular reviews than others, so you may be in one where 10 is great or you may be in one where your local leaders all have over 50 and you have a lot of work to do. Remember, if you ask they will review. Not all of them, but some, so keep asking and your review count will grow organically. Of course you want to make sure you are doing a good job and the good reviews will come. Having over 10 also helps smooth out that one crazy customer that may leave you a bad review. It will blend into your score a little better than if that is your only review.