Why Reviews And Ratings Impact Click Through Rates

Impact of Reviews and Ratings on Search Click-Through Rates

This article is originally posted at BrightLocal

Key ‘Takeaways’ From This Post
Going from a 3-star rating to a 5-star rating gets a business 25% more clicks from Google Local Pack
Having a 5-star rating earns a business 39% more clicks from Google Local than having a 1-star rating
56% of consumers select a business if it has positive ratings/reviews displayed in Google Local Pack
Star Ratings displayed in Local Pack results generate higher CTR than organic search results
A positive reputation can boost search ranking, drive more clicks and build trust among consumers
How Online Reviews Impact Search and Consumer Attitudes
Over the years, online reviews have grown to become an important aspect of a successful digital marketing strategy for local businesses.

More and More Consumers Read Reviews Before Making a Purchase…
Reading online reviews about a business, product or service is an important part of the modern-day consumer buying process. In our annual Local Consumer Review Study we found that:

91% of consumers read online reviews when searching for local businesses
84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
7 out of 10 consumers will leave a review if the business just asks them to
Reviews Impact Google Local Pack Results and Local Organic Search Rankings
It’s also been demonstrated that Online Reviews/Ratings can have a positive impact on ranking within search results.

Two recent studies by Moz and The Local SEO Guide show the variety of ranking factors that influence local search rankings. Both of these studies show that online reviews influence where a business appears in Google’s Local 3-Pack results and in localized organic search results.

As more consumers read and write online reviews, we believe that positive reviews will help continue to improve your rankings. (Note: Google is improving its ability to detect review spam/fake reviews.)

But the impact of your online reputation goes far beyond just the power to influence search engine rankings. The greatest power of online reviews is their ability to influence the buying choices searchers make when looking through search results and selecting a business to contact.

Measuring the Impact of Reviews on Search Click-Through Rates
In our Local Consumer Review Study we found that overall star rating is the #1 factor that consumers pay most attention to when evaluating a local business on the internet.

Therefore, we determined it’s probable that showing reviews and ratings in search engine results influence click-through rates (CTR) from “Search to Click.”

But how much do positive online reviews improve click throughs?

With limited data publicly available to answer this question (especially in terms of how it impacts local search and localized organic search), we conducted a series of tests in Q4 2016 with our consumer panel.

We set out to provide answers for two specific questions:

What impact do reviews and ratings have on CTR from Local Pack Results?
What impact do reviews and ratings have on CTR from Organic Search Results?
Click here to jump straight to the results of this study.

Research Methodology
Testing the CTR impact of reviews in real search results is very tricky. It requires manipulating real business listings and web pages to present a variety of review counts and rating scores to searchers. This action is considered ‘spam’ and therefore potentially damaging to businesses involved. Added to this, the tracking of clicks from specific search terms is virtually impossible due to incomplete data in Google Analytics (‘Not Provided’) and lack of granular data in GMB Insights (no keywords).

Therefore we opted to set up multiple, virtual tests using mock-ups of Google search engine result pages (SERPs). Some SERPs contained Google Local 3-Pack results and some just displayed localized organic results.

We created variations targeting three different types of local businesses (Plumbers, Florists and Realtors) and varied both the star rating and the review count to ensure that we had a realistic spread of results to show to participants and to draw findings against.

In total we used 18 variations of Google SERPs and presented these SERP mock-ups to different audience groups.

The study was conducted October/November 2016 and 6,283 members of our consumer panel participated in the tests.

Example of Google Local Pack Results:

Get More Reviews.com


Example of Google Localized Organic Results:

serp results from good reviews

Audience and Audience Groups
The 6,283 consumer participants were based in North America — 72% from the USA and 28% from Canada.

We divided the audience into different groups:

Control Group – A control group (30%) were shown SERPs with no ratings and review count displayed.
Test Groups – The remaining participants (70%) were split into test groups and shown different SERPs with a variation of star ratings from 1 star to 5 stars.
Participants were asked to imagine that they were searching for a plumber/florist/realtor and to click on the listing that they would be most inclined to click on.

How Do Reviews and Ratings Affect Click-Through Rates on Google Local Pack Results?
online review ratings

Key Findings:

Listings with 5 stars earned 69% of clicks from the Local Pack
Listings with 4 stars earned 59% of clicks…
Listings with 3 stars earned 44% of clicks…
Listings with 1 or 2 stars earned less clicks than listings with no stars

From the findings we can see that showing a positive star rating of 3 stars has a positive impact on click-through rates. The higher the star rating the more clicks a listing received from Google’s Local Pack.

We also discovered an uplift that earning additional high-star reviews had on lead generation from Google Local. Going from a 3-star to a 5-star rating can earn a business 25% more clicks. This alone justifies the extra investment of time and effort to generate more positive reviews.

However, when a business had less than 3 stars displayed on their Google search listing, the click-through rate was less than if they have no stars at all.

These results were consistent across the different business types and SERP variations that we showed to participants.

Going from a 3-star rating to a 5-star rating gets a business 25% more clicks from Google Local Pack

Variance in Click-Through-Rates Based on Star Rating
The chart below looks at the same data as above but presents it differently. In this chart we show the variance in click-through rates for different star ratings vs. having no stars at all. You can see the impact that higher star ratings have on click-through vs. negative ratings.

Variation in Click Through Rate Based on Star Rating from Google Local Pack

Having a 5-star rating earns a business 28% more clicks vs. having no rating
Having a 5-star rating earns a business 39% more clicks than having a 1-star rating
Having a 1-star rating reduces the clicks a business gets by 11% vs. having no ratings

This chart shows the benefit that a 4- or 5-star rating brings a business. These businesses will earn more clicks from Google Local and drive more leads to their business — which should have a direct, positive impact on their bottom line.

It also shows the damaging impact of negative reviews and ratings. Even if a business manages to get into the local pack, their chances of attracting clicks is significantly reduced if they have a negative reputation score. Business owners need to be aware of their reviews and star ratings on Google — and all other important review sites and traffic sources — and if they get negative reviews then they must take action to respond and try to turn negative reviews into positive ones.

How Do Users Pick a Business from Google’s Local Pack?
After participants clicked on their chosen result, we asked them a follow-up question: Why did you pick that result?

Key Findings:

56% picked a business because it had positive star ratings/reviews
10% liked the business name
9% picked the top listing

This reaffirms the impact that positive reviews have on how searchers judge and select the businesses they click on in Google’s Local Pack. For 56% of consumers, their decision to click was directly influenced by the star rating.

Some users still made decisions based on other factors, some very arbitrary such as liking the business name or choosing at random.

When there are no listings in the SERP that contain ratings, then searchers have very little information to base their decisions on. Therefore, they make their choices based on more arbitrary factors. This highlights the usefulness and value of reviews to consumers because it helps them make a more informed decision. This also makes it more likely for them to pick a high-quality local business to work with.

56% of consumers select a business if it has positive ratings/reviews displayed in Google Local Pack


How Do Reviews and Ratings Affect Click Through from Organic Search Results?
In this part of the study we asked participants to look at organic search pages and click on the result they would be most inclined to click on. We used the same set of industries and varied the star ratings and position within the SERPs.

The Control Group viewed SERPs with no stars and the Test Groups viewed SERPs that contained star ratings.

About Star Ratings in Organic SERPS
Having star ratings in organic SERPs is not linked to Google My Business like it is in the Google Local Pack. These ratings are part of Google’s ‘rich snippets’ which enhance search results with additional, useful information to help searchers click on the best results for them.

To get stars to appear in organic search results requires marking up pages on the business’ website using Schema.org ‘AggregateRanking’ markup. Reviews and ratings should relate to specific products and services — not purely for the business itself.

Find out how to get star ratings in Google organic search results.

Variation in Click Through Rate Based on Star Rating in Localized Organic Results

Key Findings:

Listings with 5 stars earned 19% of clicks from localized organic SERPs
Listings with 4 stars earned 16% of clicks…
Listings with 3 stars earned 11%% of clicks…
Listings with 1-3 stars earned less clicks than listings with no stars

Again we see a positive uplift in clicks earned by search results that displayed positive star ratings. However, the uplift is less impressive and significant than we saw in the Google local pack study.

Results that display 4- or 5-star ratings earned more clicks vs. no stars. However, the increase is only 4% and 7% respectively vs. 18% and 28% in the Google Local Pack.

The larger set of results (10) in the organic SERPs certainly diluted the clicks that each results received (vs. the smaller Local Pack). Additionally, visually the star ratings don’t stand out as much in organic search results and therefore attracts fewer clicks.

Across all the organic SERPs tested, we observed that 52% of users clicked on the top three results. So, just like they do in real-world searches, the top three search results listed get the lion’s share of the clicks. We also found that results with star ratings that appear lower down the SERP get much fewer clicks than the ones that appear higher up in the results.

It’s clear that within organic results, positioning on the page has a much bigger impact on CTR than in the Local Pack because users have more search results to look at and select from.

We also surmise that consumers are used to seeing star ratings in Google’s Local Pack results and therefore they watch out for them and are drawn more to click on corresponding listings with stars.

Star Ratings displayed in Local Pack results generate higher CTR than organic search results


Variance in Click-Through Rate Based on Star Ratings (Organic Results)
Variation in Click Through Rate Based on Star Rating Localised Organic Results


Looking at the variance in CTR we see the reduced impact that star ratings have when users click in organic results.

There is only a 16% swing in CTR between 1-star and 5-stars — whereas the Local Pack study found a 39% swing!

But even though the impact isn’t as great, if a local business is able to get stars in organic SERPs, then they will secure additional clicks and more leads to their business. Promoting their positive reputation certainly won’t do their business any harm.

The results of the study show the influence that reviews and ratings have on the decisions that searchers make.

Negative ratings reduce clicks and positive ratings increase clicks.

It’s not rocket science, but it’s further evidence of the impact that online reviews and reputation marketing has in convincing consumers to select a local business. A positive reputation can boost the visibility and make a business stand out in search results and encourage more consumers to contact them. Beyond search, reputation helps build trust consumers have in a business which impacts conversion both on site and through other marketing channels the business promotes their reputation on.

A positive reputation can boost search ranking, drive more clicks and build trust among local consumers.

Article by bright local view original post click here

Getting More Online Reviews

Getting More Online Reviews Made Easy

Outside of the restaurant and hotel industries getting more online reviews is difficult, it can be an actual battle for organisations to obtain positive reviews.

Customers don’t typically evaluate their landscaper, health club, auto rental firm and also numerous various other company kinds that they connect with each day unless something fails.

As a result of this, we chat day-to-day with business that do exceptional job and have a fantastic real-world online reputation, yet have a lot more negative online reviews than favorable.

For company owner, this variation between on the internet and offline track record is beyond irritating. So what’s a local business owner or general supervisor to do when they discover themselves in this situation?

Ask delighted customers for raving reviews.

Pointer the review equilibrium back in your favor by getting those pleased clients to be your online supporters. Below, I’ll share some tips, best tests and also practices you can go to obtain even more favorable reviews.

Initially, you may be questioning: Is it fine to ask for reviews? For Google, the response is a definite “yes.”.

Yelp, nonetheless, has released conflicting statements on whether or not you’re enabled to ask customers for reviews. I asked Yelp straight, and they told me that it is fine to request for reviews as long as there is no incentivizing (See # 2 in “5 Yelp truths local business owner should know”). For all the various other evaluation websites, you’ll need to inspect their regards to solution and guidelines.


Now that we have that off the beaten track, let’s dive in ...

The gold criterion: Asking face to face.
There’s no far better means to ask for, and obtain, reviews than to do it face to face. The person-to-person demand is extremely efficient, specifically if the requester has actually spent a great deal of time with the customer. We’ve located that asking face to face can garner you 7 to 8 times much more reviews compared to asking through email.

Let’s take a furniture shop as an instance. A sales link might invest an hour or even more aiding a consumer select as well as personalize just the ideal sofa for their home. They are familiar with each various other during that time, speak about where they’re from, their households, as well as so on. A mini-bond is constructed in the time spent with each other.

At the end of the sale, there is now no individual much better placed to request an evaluation compared to this sales associate. The associate can describe that it helps various other clients who are investigating them and gives a true point of view on business.

If you’re considering asking consumers for reviews, first try to find out the consumer touch points and that within the company develops the deepest connection with the consumer. That is likely the person that must be asking for reviews.

The “pointer” trick.
The “tip” technique is among those testimonial growth hacks that can function really wonderful specifically industries. The technique is that somebody that has actually spent a great deal of time with a consumer after that requests a testimonial, yet includes the twist of, “If you had a great experience and include my given name in the review, the company provides me a $10 pointer.”.


This little “sugar” provides a consumer the additional reward to leave an on-line evaluation, especially if he or she had a good experience.

We’ve seen this technique job best with services offered in as well as around customers’ homes. This consists of landscapers, exterminators as well as moving companies.

The solution carriers work hard, and also people sometimes want to tip them for their job; this strategy offers clients a cost-free way to tip somebody that did an excellent work.

For the right companies, this could considerably accelerate the number of testimonial that can be found in.

Asking by means of email.
Asking for reviews by means of email is a bit harder. There are situations where you do not have a great deal (or any type of) deal with time with a consumer. In those circumstances, email might be your only option.

If you’re going to request for reviews by means of e-mail, we strongly motivate you to pre-screen your customers by means of an interior survey prior to complying with up with an additional email asking for a public testimonial. While this might seem like cheating, it’s no different from just what you would certainly carry out in person.

You would not ask them for an on-line evaluation if somebody is plainly upset. Likewise, making use of triggers from an internal study enables you to apply this same human logic, simply algorithmically.

Right here are several of the most effective techniques for your email demand letter:.

Have the e-mail come from a real individual’s e-mail address (Even better, have it originate from a name they would certainly identify, such as someone they worked with).
Have the email written as an individual request from that exact same individual.
Have a really clear call-to-action link/button. Eliminate random social media or web site footer web links– simply as with excellent conversion rate optimization, have a singular goal of customers clicking the review button.
Examination making use of a plain-text e-mail versus an HTML email.
Examination various subject lines: We’ve found that making use of the individual’s name in the subject line works well in many instances but falls completely flat in a couple of others.
Test different e-mail copy to see what executes ideal.
As with any excellent project, test everything up until you’re getting the most effective conversion-to-review price feasible (not simply open price). Email will certainly nearly never do along with asking in person, but it can still be really effective at range.

An organizational initiative.
We’ve seen that reviews often tend to be a slow flow up until getting them is absolutely embraced as an organizational effort, not simply some side project done by marketing. The most effective strategies for making reviews a concern throughout a company include:.

Making better reviews a top-down emphasis; execs should connect the significance.
Getting business buy-in on the value of reviews by helping workers understand the direct impact they carry the company.
Training crucial workers on how you can request reviews.
Developing a scorecard that tracks reviews by areas (just like our SERP score, but for reviews).
Supplying incentives as well as honors for the places that have the finest on line reviews.
Placing the C-suite behind the online-reviews initiative is the outright ideal method to get activity to be taken.

Battle back.
The straightforward act of requesting for reviews begins to place the power back right into your hands. Several company owner just toss their hands up in the air and also presume there is nothing they could do. As you could see, it’s fairly the other.

Requesting reviews doesn’t call for any type of unique tools or modern technology, simply a commitment to see it via. Utilizing these methods, you can combat back versus the sensation of businesses (exterior of the food as well as hospitality industry) just obtaining adverse reviews.

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