Customer reviews power local search results. And Google is your new home page. Those are two big findings from the newly published 2020 Moz State of Local SEO Industry Report.
Local search authority Moz surveyed enterprises and agencies to get a snapshot of how they’re managing search engine optimization (SEO). The report is considered to be a definitive snapshot of the state of SEO. Among the findings:
Reviews Are Critical
- 90 percent of respondents say that review signals (ranging from the number of reviews to the actual ratings) affect local rankings.
“No brand can afford to ignore its reviews, and many will require help implementing robust management,” Moz asserts. In addition, “ . . . reviews shape reputation, impact conversions, and drive both customer service and sales. They’re a force that cannot be ignored when crafting a modern local strategy.”
Google Is Your New Home Page
- 78% of respondents agree that search engine results pages (SERPs) on Google are basically acting as “a one-stop-shop for local searchers.”
- 75% of marketers believe that the use of Google My Business (GMB) profile features affects rankings in the local pack (a section of Google’s search results that shows the local business related to your query).
In other words, people are finding answers to their questions based on everything in the Google Search universe, including GMB listings. (This phenomenon is known as “zero-click” or “no-click” searches, or searches that do not result in a click to a website. More about that here.)
As Moz reports, “The results are clear: there’s a widespread belief in the power of Google My Business to directly influence local pack rankings. That’s where your opportunity lies . . . Google My Business has an ever-growing and changing feature set that requires both time and expertise — things many businesses lack. Focus your attention on GMB management, including categories, reviews, descriptions, menus, Posts, Q&A, photos, and analysis to impact local rankings.”
The implications of the report are clear:
- Manage your customer reviews like a precious asset. Encourage customers to leave them. Respond to them. And learn from them. As we have discussed in our own thought leadership, we live in a feedback economy in which reviews power your business growth.
- Businesses need to monitor and manage their GMB listings, which form the basis of their identity on Google (e.g., on Google Maps). Doing so means keeping your data accurate and your content descriptive, engaging, and optimized for search. (We discuss a number of tips for keeping your GMB listing useful in this blog post.)
To learn more about how to win in Google’s world, contact Reputation.com.