It’s the age-old question, do Google reviews help ranking? The answer is yes, Google reviews help ranking – but does the actual number of reviews have an impact?
And we’ve heard for years that reviews are a ranking factor in local search, but what does that really mean? You might even be asking “how many Google reviews does it take to increase rating?”
As you probably know, Google allows listings for the business as well as practitioners’ listings for certain industries (dentists, doctors, lawyers, insurance agents, etc.).
Many businesses set up practitioner listings and then do nothing with them, so we wanted to see if we could get a boost in rankings for the listing if we got more reviews on it.
So, we decided to test this out.
We have an insurance agent who has a listing for the business as well as a practitioner listing for the agent himself.
It was a listing that he had not done much with as it only had 3 reviews. The listing was also targeting completely different keywords than the main listing for the practice.
We asked the client to try to get some more reviews on this listing to see what would happen.
As you will see in the image below, we noticed a ranking increase when the listing went from 3 to 16 reviews. However, there really is not a ranking numbers increase when the listing went from 16 to 31 reviews.
The Law of Diminishing Returns:
The Law of Diminishing Returns is very common in marketing.
You may do something (in this case get more reviews on a listing) and get a great result (in this case a ranking boost). But, that doesn’t mean that if you keep doing it you will get the same results.
In this case, we concluded that there is a ranking boost, but the boost does not necessarily continue if you keep getting more reviews.
Joel Headley, co-founder of Leadferno, (who formerly worked at Patient Pop) mentioned ten could be the “magic number.” Joel stated, “At Patient Pop, [we saw] an increase in appointment leads when there were over ten reviews.”
Similarly, Mike Blumenthal mentioned at a LocalU event years ago that there was a ranking boost with ten reviews. So, we have come to a similar conclusion as these two; once you hit ten reviews there is a ranking boost.
At Sterling Sky, we have repeated this test many many times with our clients, so we are very confident in this conclusion.
Rankings are More Than Just Reviews:
Local ranking is based on a variety of factors, so just because you have a ton of reviews does not mean you are going to rank the best.
In the image below, you will see this in effect — the blue line shows the number of reviews and the red shows the number of top 3 rankings.
This graph shows a personal injury attorney who was killing it with reviews, but they were not ranking well at all.
So, reviews are only one piece of the puzzle. Just because you have a lot of reviews does not mean you will rank well.
There does appear to be a ranking numbers boost once a listing has ten reviews.
So, it is important for a listing to get a minimum of ten reviews. However, continuing to get more and more reviews does not seem to yield the same ranking boost.
Local rankings are affected by a variety of factors, just because a listing has a ton of reviews, does not mean it will rank well.
In addition, we are not suggesting only getting ten reviews for a listing.
Even though there may not be a Google reviews ranking boost, getting more reviews helps in other ways like building trust and conversions.