By: Morrow Heard
Most of what you hear about Google reviews and Google’s algorithm paints the process as a hurdle for your practice’s online presence. There are endless metrics and factors that can make your star rating lower than you may think it should be. You may have positive reviews, but still show up lower on the web page than a competitor who has reviews coming in more frequently. Google can be frustrating at times for businesses, but keep in mind that it is a consumer-based company.
In a post on the official Google blog, Google explained in specific detail some aspects of their complicated algorithm.
Google is always trying to improve search results and search rankings to optimize the results for the users. It was brought to Google’s attention that there were businesses that were attempting to generate bad customer service reviews for themselves. In the business’s opinion, this negative activity would generate more clicks on their sites and move them up in the Google search results.
Google immediately looked into this situation and researched different options to improve the user experience. They considered blocking certain businesses and exposing user reviews next to search results. Google ultimately settled on a change to their algorithm that detects poor user experiences from reviews to determine where page should show up in search results.
Google closely guards their star rating criteria and algorithms to minimize loopholes and create the most accurate and helpful user experience, as explained in the blog post by Amit Singhal, a Google Fellow. Google’s goal with this algorithm addition was to keep bad customer experiences “negative” for businesses.
So, although increasing your star rating can be tricky, and the search results can be frustrating, Google tries to create a user experience that the consumer can trust. And thus, the little extra effort to increase reviews and ranking the correct way is good for Google, good for the consumer and good for business.
For more information on how customer reviews impact organic search rankings, check out this article from Forbes: Your Guide to Customer Reviews for Organic Search Rankings in 2014.