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    There are many ways to drive traffic to your website — advertising, social media, email, etc. that direct your audience directly to your website —however, online traffic is still primarily run through search engines.  And search engines react to your online reviews much like the people seeing them do.

    Folks everywhere use the internet every day to find answers to their problems. And, if your website is optimized correctly, with the right content and keywords, more people are likely to click on your information. Once they see your website in the search results, a very common reaction is to look at your reviews. If you’re scoring well enough, and seem to respond quickly and thoroughly enough, they’ll head over to your website. Once they’re on your website, you have a much more likelihood of converting that person into a customer.

    X, Y and Z and how they affect a search?

    When a person types a question into a search box or speaks it into their mobile- or home-device, the search engine starts working (very quickly) to find results. In fact, Google alone takes into account more than 200 different factors to help populate relevant data for users. Don’t get overwhelmed… it’s almost impossible to fully integrate all 200 in your SEO strategy, even for the experts! You can, however, follow guidelines on how to become more optimized. Let’s take a look at a few factors that affect a search result:

    Your question: Have you ever noticed that Google tries to answer your question before you do? Search engines try everything they can to understand exactly what you’re looking for.

    Your location: Search engines use your geographic location to deliver relevant data near you. Utilizing tools like Google Places and Google My Business are particularly useful for businesses optimizing local SEO.

    Your device: Content displays differently on a mobile device or desktop, for example, long-form content is better viewed on a desktop. Whereas quick price comparisons are best viewed on a mobile device.

    With that said, search engines also consider technical SEO elements on the website itself, such as:

    • Site speed

    • Mobile-friendly design

    • Redirects

    • Domain authority

    • XML sitemap

    • Duplicate content and more

    All of these factors mean that search engine results vary among individual people. Two people, asking the same question, may have very different results simply because of their location, device and search history. While SEO strategy may seem impossible to master, that’s simply not the case, which is why we’re here to help. 

    Your reviews: Google My Business reviews that included the searched-for keyword were the second-most influential factor when examining a local business’ performance in the “Local Pack”, the box of local search and map results that appears at the top of relevant searches in Google.

    You can see this in action for the query in the screenshot: when searching for “vegetarian lunch”, one of the factors Google used to determine which businesses to display in the Local Pack was reviews. Specifically, notice the snippets of reviews at the bottom of each business’ space – my search terms (and sometimes similar or semantically-related ones, such as “vegetarian” and “vegan”) are bolded, indicating Google’s determination of relevance.

    FootSteps Marketing Online 5-Star Review

    In fact, the only search ranking factor that was found to be more important than reviews is the total amount of additional organic rankings – in other words, if the site is SEO-friendly and already has great organic rankings for lots of terms, the site is more likely to show up in the Local Pack.

    Same question, different results

    Knowing that two people can ask the same question and receive different results can be infuriating… or it can be inspiring. Reviews, and how you respond to them, can be the single defining factor once someone finds you through their search engine efforts. Learn how to cultivate great reviews, how best to respond to them and how to ensure that, if it’s the final factor in “getting found online” you can be sure you’ve done your best, check out our blog on empowering you customers to be your best salesmen and be sure to keep updating your SEO strategies. We recommended quarterly updates, paired with active blogging, and hope that you’ll lean on the experts (Hey! That’s us!) when you hit a wall.