BrightLocal released a study on reviews within Google local and Google maps. It looked at over 93,000 business reviews in Google and produced the findings around how many businesses have reviews, the average star ratings across businesses, their rankings in Google local and more.
Who gets reviews and what are the types of reviews given? The study showed that 74 percent of local businesses have at least one Google review, while the average local business has 39 Google reviews.
Sixty-one percent of local businesses have an average star rating of four to five stars. On average local businesses have a 4.4 star rating on Google local.
The hospitality business sector generally has the largest number of reviews, while accountants, landscaping businesses, and senior living services have the fewest number of reviews. Senior living services also have among the lowest star ratings, along with car dealerships.
Photography businesses, alternative therapy businesses, and marketing businesses generally have the highest star ratings
Do these reviews impact local rankings in Google? One needs to be careful using studies to find a correlation between reviews and rankings. Google does say in its own help document that “Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking.”
The study showed that businesses in the top 10 positions on Google have an average of 4.42 stars and that businesses ranking in the top three positions are more likely to have an average star rating of 4-5 stars than those in in positions 7 to 10. Twenty-six percent of businesses in positions 7 to 10 don’t have Google reviews, compared to 20% of businesses in positions 1 to 3.
Here is a graph plotting this data:
Why does this matter? Google doesn’t divulge its secret sauce for local or web rankings, and we need to be cautious about drawing correlation between ranking and ratings from this study. But we know they are a factor and that ratings have become signals to both search engines and users. Businesses that attract or encourage their customers to leave reviews often seem to have a relationship with how well they rank in Google local.
Learn more. You can learn more about the study and dig deeper into the data over here.