Every small business owner knows about Yelp reviews, but what about Google reviews?
In the battle of Yelp vs. Google reviews, there are a few big reasons that Google reviews are better for local business owners. Not only are they more visible in search and easier for customers to leave—there’s also less competition, more impact, and more opportunity. And they are FANTASTIC for local SEO as well.
Does that sound too good to be true? It’s not, and while we have little against Yelp! let’s look at all the reasons we think your focus should be on getting Google Reviews for your business.
Unlike Yelp, Google Wants You to Ask For Reviews
Yelp’s official policy is that they don’t even want you to ask for reviews.
Because Yelp knows that you will not ask for a review unless you think it will be a 5 star review.
Google’s policy makes a lot more sense: not only do they want you to ask for reviews, but they even give you a link to make it even easier.
If you’re in a high volume industry like hairdressing or the restaurant business, it makes sense to systemize your efforts and rely on your staff to remember to ask for reviews as they deal with customers.
If you’re in a lower volume industry like roofing or real estate sales, it might make more sense to chase down each customer with an individualized approach. But, however you do it (even if it’s just a note on a receipt) ask for Google Reviews, the big G won’t be mad.
Google Reviews are Vital for Local SEO
If you’re investing in SEO for your business (which you should be,) Google reviews can give you a strong advantage.
In 2017, Local SEO Guide looked at 200+ local ranking factors, such as “total number of words on page” and “number of photos,” to see which ones had the strongest effect on rankings in Google’s local pack.
Out of the top 10 most influential factors, nine of them involved Google reviews:
Total additional organic rankings
Number of Google reviews that mention the target keyword
Number of Google reviews that mention the target city
Total number of Google reviews
Percentage of Google reviews that mention the keyword
Percentage of Google reviews that mention the city
Average yearly Google reviews
Number of Google reviews not responded to
Number of new Google reviews in the last year
Average weekly Google reviews
Google probably uses these reviews as ranking factors because they offer a direct way to gauge customer satisfaction.
If 100 people say you’re a 5-star business, Google would not be doing the job they claim to do – give their users the best information – if they did not show your business to shoppers prominently just because you don’t have enough words on your page or enough photos on your local listing.
Ultimately, Google wants to show users results that satisfy their needs, and reviews are one of the best ways they can judge user satisfaction.
So do Yelp reviews impact your SEO too?
Not really. Here’s why:
Since Google and Yelp aren’t exactly friends, Google can only guess how much Yelp works to prevent dirty tricks. If one person leaves ten reviews from ten different accounts on Google, Google should know about it, because Google can see things like their IP and if they’ve recently visited the business. But if someone sets up ten Yelp accounts to post fake reviews, Google can only hope that Yelp do something about it.
Ultimately, they can’t trust it.
That’s why Google should, and does, trust their own reviews more.
It’s Easier to Bury a Bad Review than Remove It
Removing a bad review from Google is tough. While anyone can report a fake review, getting Google to remove it can be much more complicated. Get ready to contact their support line, provide evidence, and argue your case. And to wait, for a long time.
The truth is that no one expects you to have a perfect record, and having a few bad reviews can be a good thing, if it helps you improve an aspect of your service you were not aware was lacking. All you need to do is earn a lot more good reviews than bad ones.
Google Reviews Don’t Get Filtered Like Yelp Reviews
If you leave a review on Yelp, there’s a good chance you’ll never see it again. Yelp loves filtering out reviews they don’t think are real, honest, and legitimate, but even they admit real reviews get chucked out too. So, all that effort you put into asking your customers to leave you a review could go to waste because it’s not something they have done much of before so Yelp decided they were suspect.
You won’t have that problem on Google. Google doesn’t remove a lot of reviews, for better or for worse. And if you’re worried about getting too many Google reviews at once, don’t be. Stick with Google and you’ll get to keep your happy customers and your reviews.
Yelp has Trust Issues
After polling more than a thousand users, Brightlocal found that 85% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Meanwhile, 73% of consumers also said they trust a business more if they have positive reviews.
No matter what you personally think about online reviews, the people have spoken.
So why does Google get the edge here, even when their review platform has a lot of problems?
Because Yelp’s trust issues are much more public.
It’s easy to find fairly candid discussions about people writing fake Yelp review for cash, whether you can pay Yelp to remove bad reviews, and whether Yelp sued South Park for slander. Add in a borderline abusive sales staff – yes, no doubt you’ve had calls from them too, we have- a review filter that doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense, and a troubled business model, and it’s a wonder that they’ve made it this far.
At least for now, we think a review on Google could carry more weight than a review on Yelp in the future. And Google won’t keep calling you to advertise with them every ten minutes.
You Can Leave a Google Review from Any Google Account
If someone wants to leave a review on Yelp, they’ll need a Yelp account. They’ll also need a few other friends and reviews if they don’t want it filtered out. Unfortunately, that rules out many people. Even if they really like your business it’s a lot of effort to ask them to go to just to leave you a few nice words.
Meanwhile, on Google, anyone with a Google account can leave a review. That means anyone who has ever logged into Gmail or YouTube is good to go, and most of the time Google already trusts them, so the review should ‘stick’
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