Recently, Joy Hawkins from Sterling Sky published a study showing some correlation between the length of a review and how long it showed up on your business profile. That is just one reason to try to get a fuller story from your reviewers. Review management is growing in importance as all facets of reviews become bigger pieces of the ranking puzzle.  I have blogged in the past about Google trusting what people say about you more than what you say about yourself at times.

Though some of Joy’s study verifies through research things that we already know, such as negative reviews tend to be longer, it still brings up the conversation again about how important it is to ask for a detailed review. Of course, people with an axe to grind tend to write out more about what their problem was than someone that was generally satisfied. In fact, it can be tougher to get the happy people to remember to leave you a review as they move on with their day.  This is why, though you can’t control what people say, it is a good idea to find ways to coax a more detailed review from people.

Longer Reviews Tell More of a Story

Many people read reviews before making purchase decisions. A 2022 Moz study showed 68% of people trusted what customers said about the business more than what the business said. It makes sense. Not only are the searchers reading the reviews, but Google is using the information in those reviews to inform their algorithm about different aspects of the business. In many ways, those words can help your business show up for specific searches that match those words. So in some ways, a 4-star review that details what they liked about your company and uses keywords others might search for is more valuable than a 5-star review that just says “excellent” or something similar. Of course, we want those 5-stars coming in too, but getting that details can be really important for building up your search presence for all of those little things people search for that may not be a primary business category.

In the example below, Google found references to “best” and “great” related to burgers in the review text, making these businesses more relevant to my local search, and putting them at the top of the rankings.

Best burger near me Google search

These types of searches come into play all of the time.  You may be surprised how often.  Below is another.  “Best pasta near me” once again triggers a “best pasta” review as the number one ranked option. These all come from customers leaving detailed reviews that identify what their experience was.  Remember that Google will tell you the number one ranking factor is user experience (UX). What shows the user experience more than a user review?

Ask for Detail

So don’t just ask for reviews, ask for detailed reviews. Ask your customers to tell you what they liked about the experience. This will hopefully trigger them to share more keywords about what their experience with you and make your business listing more relevant for those searches. Of course, it helps to have those things listed on your Google Business page and website as well. That will back up the review, but as you can see in the examples above, the reviews carry a lot of weight. Keep on doing a great job and asking for detailed reviews.