Weighing The Implications Of Business Reviews Directly From Mobile Search
By Kelly Marcus
Google now offers the option for mobile users to post business reviews and ratings directly from their mobile device. When searching on mobile devices or within Google Maps, local business information features an area for users give businesses stars and write a review without ever having to leave a mobile SERP. This is going to significantly change the number and types of reviews a business can earn and has implications for the future of mobile and local SEO.
What Does This Mean For Local Search?
Reviews have always been an essential element to local search. Now Google is taking it a step further by allowing signed-in users to provide reviews directly from their phone. This echoes past changes Google has made to show the growing importance of mobile for local search. More and more users are using mobile devices over desktop computers and Google is making it easier for these users to access and offer the information they want.
It won’t be unusual for businesses to see a large spike in reviews following this update, as there are significantly fewer steps required to offer reviews. It may also affect the types of reviews left for businesses. Many users may avoid writing lengthy detailed reviews if they are using a mobile device. There has been no mention whether users will have access to voice search technology to leave reviews.
According to Search Engine Land, 88% of consumers use reviews to determine the quality of a local business and 39% read reviews on a regular basis. With this update, there will be an increased amount of reviews for users to evaluate before determining an opinion on a business.
This also reinforces the importance of Google reviews for the SEO success of a local business. Reviews have always been an important source of information for Google. With a larger amount of reviews, Google will be able to gain more accurate information to incorporate into Google Maps & Knowledge Graphs.
While this can have a positive impact on some businesses, there may also be some backlash for those that do not highly value customer service. Previously, customers would have to take multiple steps to leave a negative business review. With this update, customers can leave negative reviews from the location while still upset about their poor experience.
What Should You Do?
This update allows businesses to ask for reviews from their customers in person and directly after a transaction. Marketing managers and business owners should share this information with any employees that have direct interactions with consumers and remind them that the success of a business relies on a strong review profile.
Business owners should also expect to allocate more time to respond to a significantly increased number of business reviews. It is an SEO best practice to respond to business reviews, whether positive or negative. More time should be spent monitoring these new reviews and crafting unique and personalized responses.
Businesses should be on the lookout for future changes to users’ mobile experience. If Google is looking toward keeping users within search, future additions to mobile SERPs such as direct hotel bookings, direct table reservations and “Buy” buttons may be next steps for mobile. Eventually, users may not even have to leave Google to get exactly what they need out of mobile search.
Kelly is an SEO Analyst on the Travel Team at Acronym Media. Kelly supports the team in executing a variety of efforts including on-page, off-page, and technical optimizations with special focus on local search optimization. She has enhanced the SEO strategy for high-profile clients such as Four Seasons, Viceroy Hotels & Resorts, and Denihan Hotel Group.
Prior to Acronym, Kelly graduated from Penn State University in 2014 with degrees in Public Relations and Psychology. She has past experience in public relations, marketing, paid search, and social media.