The Impact of Local Reviews on Google

The Impact of Local Reviews on Google


Google My Business Reviews

A little background Information!

With the initial release of Google Maps many years ago, reviews were not part of the initial release, but have been a solid fixture on Google’s for some time now and they are here to stay. The fact is consumers love reviews!

A consumer survey by Bright Local, a leading SEO and online marketing company suggests that over 90% of consumers use reviews to evaluate local businesses. 84% of them trust reviews. it’s, therefore, no wonder that Google likes them too and features them so prominently.

With reviews and star ratings now displayed in search results, they can affect the way people find your business online and may determine whether they want to engage with you.

It also stands to reason that if consumers love reviews, Google’s ranking algorithm does too. Businesses with strong and positive review profile on Google tend to be rewarded with higher rankings.

So why are reviews important? By encouraging customer reviews will lead to more reviews, which in turn lead to better online visibility, which leads to more customers, which again will result in more reviews. It’s one of the highly important marketing techniques any business can engage in to increase their online presence.

How Google Evaluates Reviews

Well Google, as secretive as it is we can only guess, but many local SEO and search experts have theorized for years that Google primarily evaluates reviews across some key attributes. I’ve listed the major ones in below.

Number of Reviews

In Google’s world, popular businesses rank near the top of search results. Less popular businesses rank further down. Reviews are one way for Google to assess popularity.

All other factors being equal, popular businesses tend to serve more customers than less popular ones. So, if your customers leave reviews of your business at a higher rate than your competitors’ customers do, your business will appear more popular and stands a good chance at outranking the competition.

Content of Review

Not only is Google looking at the number of reviews when assessing the popularity of local businesses, it’s looking at what people are saying about local businesses in those reviews.

For example, plumbing contractors whose customers mention the kind of projects they execute, such as “bathroom renovation,” are likely to rank better for searches for those kinds of projects.

Google’s ability to analyse reviews through semantics includes a sentiment filter. Adjectives like “great,” “terrific,” or “best” are likely to rank your business higher than reviews with adjectives like “poor,” “average,” or “OK.”

The content of your customers’ reviews isn’t generally something you can control. But prompting your customers to think about specific questions as they write their review e.g. “What service did we conduct for you – bathroom renovation or laundry renovation?” “How would you rate our overall service – excellent, very good, fully satisfied?” can help improve the effectiveness of those reviews with respect to your rankings. Obviously, you need to customise these questions according to your business.

Star Rating

Google’s algorithm seems to value volume and the content and sentiment of the reviews more strongly than the star rating that customers leave for a business. However, from a consumers point of view, 5 stars always stand out!

Diversity of Reviews

A common misconception is that Google does not use third-party reviews to rank local results. They do! In some cases, reviews on sites such as Facebook, True Local etc., can also improve your rankings even more.

It’s not only a best-practice, but it’s also valuable to gain reviews from your customers on some other sites beyond just Google.

Getting ongoing positive reviews is what will lead to long-term success.

Implementing a review request strategy and processes should be part of any business full transaction cycle and part of a strong marketing regime with their clients.

Like to find out more about Google My Business and online strategies, we ‘d love to help, call us on 03 9739 5445 or take a look our range of SEO Services.

Google Security Warning Notices

Google Security Warning Notices

Google Security Warning Notices for HTTP Sites

Is your website secure?

Before we go on, let’s try to simplify this by explaining a few important terms you will need to know:

What is HTTP :
HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. HTTP is the underlying protocol used by the World Wide Web and this protocol defines how messages and data are formatted and transmitted, and what actions Web servers and browsers should take in response to various commands.

What is HTTPS:
HTTPS Stands for HyperText Transport Protocol Secure. HTTPS is the same thing as HTTP but uses a secure socket layer (SSL) for security purposes. Therefore, secure websites use the HTTPS protocol to encrypt the data being sent back and forth with SSL encryption.

What is SSL:
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private. To be able to create an SSL connection a web server requires an SSL Certificate.

So what’s happening now? Very soon Google Chrome (version 63) will show ‘Not Secure’ warnings on HTTP websites in three situations:

  1. When a user arrives at a HTTP site.
  2. When a user enters data (such as filling in a contact us form) on an HTTP page.
  3. When a user visits a HTTP website when using an Incognito mode.

In addition, Google will begin sending out notices to website owners that their sites will be tagged as “Not Secure” in Google Chrome beginning in October 2017!

So, what does this mean, what are the practical implications?

Firstly, will your website be affected?

is your website secure

Here are two important questions you need to answer:

  1. Does your site require visitors to input any text? This includes a user simply filling in a contact form, a request for more information form, or even a request for quote form etc.?
  2. Is your website using HTTP:// in the address bar? (i.e.

If you answered “Yes” to both of those questions, you strongly need to consider implementing, an SSL certificate on your website to avoid it showing a “Not Secure” warning in a visitor’s web browser and potentially turning them away from your website!

A secure website is indicated on a web browser by a green address bar and the protocol prefix HTTPS as opposed to HTTP in the website’s URL, these are often found on a website that involves monetary transactions, however, https is the preferred web protocol for the future. In fact, all new websites regardless should be built on the HTTPS protocol. At Clark Marketing & Design this is now a standard inclusion for all new web design.

Whilst you may not have monetary transactions on your website, how might a visitor feel when, once they have gone searching for your products or services, found your website and then decided, yes, I will request a quote and starts to complete a request for quote online form, only to receive a “Not Secure” warning?

So, whilst this new preferred web protocol of https, is basically about making the web a safer place, what can an adding an SSL Certificate, and thus changing from HTTP to HTTPS do for your website and business?

Firstly, it simply makes your website more secure. Displaying the secure message on your site shows your customers your site is fully secured, building a trust connection. Having a secure site helps increase conversions by showing users that their details will be secure and the site is reputable.

Secondly, Search Engines including Google have stated from 2014 that having a secure site will become an important ranking factor and this will only increase in importance in 2017 and beyond. Having a secure site will not only help with your organic ranking efforts but will also have a positive impact on users on your site.

Thirdly, if you have an eCommerce website it qualifies you for accepting payments and helps ensure authentication.

Having a HTTPS site will be as important as having a mobile-friendly website over the coming years.

If you would like to find out more we can advise on HTTP to HTTPS conversions, as well as a range of web and SEO Services

Google New Posts the top things you need to know.

Google New Posts the top things you need to know.

Are you utilising the new Google Posts feature in Google maps? It’s great for promoting local business.
Google has been ramping up the opportunities for business this year for local search via Google My Business.

The latest thing to hit the market is Google Posts. This new feature allows you to publish your events, products and services directly to Google Search (in the Knowledge Panel) and Maps. Google Posts content will appear in both Google search and maps results.

Go to your Google My Business account and click on “Posts” on the left-side menu when you are in your Google business listing.
If you don’t have a a Google My Business account or Google map listing, we can help you set up with our affordable SEO services.

Google says this give local businesses the ability to:

1. Share daily specials or current promotions that encourage new and existing customers to take advantage of your offers,promote events and tell customers about upcoming happenings at your location.

2. Showcase your top products and highlight new arrivals.

3. Choose one of the available options to connect with your customers directly from your Google listing: give them a one-click path to make a reservation, sign up for a newsletter, learn more about latest offers, or even buy a specific product from your website.

But note, these Google Posts generally expire within seven days after posting them!

Here’s an example of what a Google Post looks like:

Google-Posts-What you need to know

Here are the top things you need to know to get the most out of Google Posts.

1. Use the Google posts to highlight sales, specials, promotions or unique selling propositions. Don’t just shove a bunch of keywords into your post!

2. The best size to use for the image is 750 pixels ×750 pixels. If you use anything smaller than 250×250, it won’t be accepted.

3. The first 100 characters are what shows up in the Knowledge Panel. Make these characters count, and make sure your sentence doesn’t get cut off.

4. If you have multiple posts, the newest ones will show first, and the older ones will show in a carousel format.

5. The posts have unique URLs you can share by clicking on the posts.

6. Post often as the posts only stay live for seven days, and there currently isn’t a way to schedule posts. Events will stay live until the event is over.

If you really want to maximise your Google Map listing, find out more about on of our SEO services – Citation Listings and why citations they are a key factor in local search rankings. Or simply call us on (03) 9739 5445 and we will explain more.

The Value of Search Engine Optimisation

The Value of Search Engine Optimisation

It’s important to be listed on Google’s first result page for the keywords and keyword phrase you want to be found for. If people cannot find your website in the search results, then it’s highly unlikely they won’t visit your website. But how important exactly is it to be listed on Google’s first results page and what’s the value to your business?

A recent study by Ignite Visibility, a premier Internet marketing company based in San Diego in the USA shows the click-through-rates in 2017 by search engine position.


The first result gets 44.64% of the clicks and generally, the findings show higher ranking pages in Google have higher click-through-rates because people don’t want to scroll endlessly through the search engine. However, interestingly, position #10 on Google Page #1 gets more clicks than position #6!

Click-Through Rate % in 2017 By Position:

  • Position 1 – 44.64%
  • Position 2 – 28.92%
  • Position 3 – 28.52%
  • Position 4 – 19.50%
  • Position 5 – 20%
  • Position 6 – 14.62%
  • Position 7 – 16.53%
  • Position 8 – 15.02%
  • Position 9 – 12%
  • Position 10 – 17.26%

As we can see there is a clear correlation between ranking position and click-through rates in Google.

What’s the value of high Google rankings for your business?

Having top 10 rankings is great but are the results really worth the time and effort? Here’s a very simple hypothetical example:

Say you run an ad on Google AdWords for a particular keyword that gets 1,000 impressions during a week. 20 visitors click the ad to visit your website.

Of these 20 visitors, let’s say 6 of these visitors purchase something or take on your services and the total profit is $50.

The keyword delivers 20 visitors and 6 buyers to your website. The total profit is $50. That means that the average single visitor who finds your website through that keyword is worth $2.50 to your business (20 visitors created a profit of $50: $50/20 visitors = $2.50/visitor).

In this simple example, 1,000 people search for the keyword every week. If your website was listed as the first result for the keyword, you would get 446 visitors per week (44.64% of all clicks go to the top ranked page, as explained above, this example assumes that all searchers click a listing in the results).

As the average visitors adds $2.50 to your profits (see above) you would earn $2.50 x 446 visitors = $1,115.00 per week with just one top ranking!

Can you afford not to have your website search engine optimised?

Want to find out about our affordable SEO services and how we can help your business and website – check out our SEO services Page and our Exclusive SEO Page.

Creating Valuable Website Content

Creating Valuable Website Content

Creating Valuable Website Content – What Do Searchers Want?

A common goal for any business owner is to increase traffic to their website.

You want to see positive results in traffic and the search result positions.

In 2016, Google rolled a number of new algorithms and updates which affected the way website were ranked in the Google Search Results pages. One of these was the Panda algorithm. The Panda algorithm basically prevents website with poor quality content quality and poor user experience working their way into the top spots of Google’s search results.

So how do you create valuable content that will help your website increase its visibility and rankings?

Let’s stake a step back………you may have thought SEO is all about keywords! Well, it’s still very important to select the right keywords. These should show medium to high average monthly search volume and have a targeted web page for these keywords, as well as include the keywords in the on-page elements of your web pages. However, the strategy needs to go beyond just the right keywords. It needs to be enhanced by creating valuable content that users want and have content that converts.

In order to create valuable content, you first need to think about why a searcher is looking for your types of products or services ~ that is what is their intent, what is the type of content the user is looking for? Knowing this information will enhance any keyword or marketing strategy.

User intent

User intent simply refers to the information that users are looking for when the ‘surf the web.’ For example, if a user was searching for ‘pet dogs,’ he or she might be looking for information about what dog a great with children, or what’s involved in buying a pet dog locally, or for information on particular breeds.

Generally, a user goes does a Google search with the intention to:

  • Learn something.
  • Do something.
  • Go somewhere.

The content to support each of those searches would be very different. If the page has been without an understanding of the user’s intent, the right content may not be included, causing users to leave the site unhappy and look elsewhere.

This means that when planning what keywords to target in your digital marketing campaign, you also want to be sure to ask the following questions:

  • What content would best address my users’ intent?
  • What content will my users and potential customers find the most useful/interesting/sharable?

How to identify user intent?

There are a number of different ways to identify user intent, including asking your customers and staff what sort of information they would typically seek, and find of value when looking for products or services that are similar to yours when doing a Google Search.

Another way is to use Google yourself to gain an insight.

In order for Google to maintain and increase its revenue, it needs its users to continually use it, and to do this it needs to produce accurate results that answer or address each user’s question or intent when they type a query into the Google Search box.

To use Google itself as a tool for understanding user intent:

1. Identify which is the best keyword to target.

2. Perform a Google search for the targeted keyword.

3. Review at least the top five or six results and look at the content on the pages that rank high for.

4. Document the results that are returned and specifically note what type of content most commonly appear at the top of the Google search results for that particular keyword.

This will give you a sense of what content users are looking for when they search for
a keyword or keyword phrase.

For example, a user searching for informational content may search for ‘Best pet dogs for children’ and find results that include a list of the best pet dogs or breed’s suitable for children and families with some photos and relative supporting information.

On the other hand, a user who wants to know what’s involved in buying a pet dog might search for ‘What I need to know for buying a pet dog,’ and would find some information that is relevant and should be considered when buying a pet etc.

Once you identify the user’s intent, it is very beneficial to brainstorm different types of content that you can create that will be better and more valuable to your users.

Remember that the content on the website isn’t for you; it is for your audience – the website users.

For more articles about improving your website and its SEO performance take a look here.

Benefits of a Professional Website Design

Benefits of a Professional Website Design

A Good First Impression is a Must!

In order to succeed in business these days, having an online presence is necessary. Firstly you want your website to be found for your key products and services, and of course, it has to be relevant and up-to-date. But what about the visual web design?

You might think you can get away with a pretty basic look for your website, but in order to attract visitors to your site, again and again, it has to be engaging and eye-catching. Why? Here are three straightforward reasons:

1. Adds Credibility for your Business

Good-Website-Design How many times have you left a web page simply because it looks unattractive, gaudy or confusing?

With a professionally designed website, users would are more willing to engage and explore your website, it adds a strong measure of professionalism and initially establishes a degree of trust and credibility.

With a poorly designed website, some visitors may think your company is a fake, ‘doesn’t really care’ or even bogus simply because little effort has gone into the website design.


2. Helps Visitors Navigate around the site

Good-Website-Design-NavigationThe navigation of any website is a very important factor in web design. A well-designed website has simple and intuitive navigation to immediately help users understand how to explore the site and also find relevant information they are looking for.

However, this doesn’t just involve the ad-hoc placement of buttons and links. The design considerations should also include the colour scheme and readability. How do you expect users to get around your site if they can barely read the text, buttons and links? With the proper design, it’s easier for users explore your website content, be engaged, stay on the website longer and take the appropriate action you want them to take.


3. Leaves A Good Impression

Best-Website-DesignRemember your website gives users an idea what your company is about. If they leave your site not having understood your ‘what you are about and what you do and offer’, then it’s likely they will not bother to return or remember your brand at all. If the design and content of your website are good then you have a great opportunity to convince potential clients to engage your business for their required products and services. They will remember you, your brand, your products and services.

This may not seem like much, but remember it’s hard to make a second first impression, especially when you consider the choice and competition that exists on the web.

All in all, an attractive and well-designed website is an important step to engage with your desired audience.

If you need help in design or redesigning your website, we can help you!

Take a look at some of our recent website design here.