Do Google Business reviews contribute to better search rankings?
Is this something my client should focus on?
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Err, reputation with customers first, then search engines:
Your customer should focus on reviews regardless of SEO due to the fact many people nowadays look at reviews before considering a service or product.
Reviews do contribute to local rankings:
That said, Reviews do contribute to local rankings in both snack pack and in local organics. But, obtaining just Google reviews and no other sources is going to damage your diversity profile, since Google likes things natural and having just Google Reviews is unrealistic and looks either like solicited reviews or worse self-generated.
Google My Business aka Google Local, uses multiple review platforms:
Google doesn't just use reviews from Google My Business, it uses Facebook, Tripadvisor, Checkatrade, Yell, Yelp and other citation sites which are administrated well and is widely used.
How much does reviews count towards local rankings?
Google does not release official details on how much something contributes to the rankings, however there is several large scale case studies that estimate reviews contributions to be between 7-13%
- Snack Pack: Review Signals (Review quantity, review velocity, review diversity, etc.) 13%
- Local Organics: Review Signals (Review quantity, review velocity, review diversity, etc.) 7%