Posting first-party reviews on local pages is one of the ways that businesses can improve their organic search results and drive conversions. Although soliciting reviews from customers is frowned upon by many third-party review platforms, including Yelp, there is no issue with soliciting first-party reviews for the purpose of gathering consumer feedback and publishing review content to a business’ own local pages. Google places significant value on user-generated content (UGC), which includes first-party reviews. Integrating first-party reviews into local pages is a proven way to pull in fresh content from customers, which sends a signal to Google to index and crawl those local pages more frequently.
Google looks at the terms and phrases that customers naturally sprinkle into their reviews as signals for what types of searches a brand’s content should appear in, which means the more people are writing about a local business, the more opportunities that business will have to appear in local search results. The benefits of publishing first-party reviews on local pages include:
Research shows us that first-party reviews are an excellent driver of online conversions. In surveys, 91% of 18 to 34 year old consumers said they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Brands have full control over the reviews they choose to publish on their own local pages; however, Google does frown on businesses intentionally preventing negative reviews from appearing. Instead of weeding out certain reviews, it is considered a best practice for brands to highlight the reviews that best promote their products or services throughout their marketing channels. When publishing reviews on local pages, it’s critical to use Schema markup, in particular, to identify such elements as average rating and total review count. Google and Bing will use these signals in many cases to display rich results in search. Incorporating first-party reviews into local pages drives SEO, builds customer trust, and increases your search rank.
However, for multi-location brands, the process of integrating first-party reviews into hundreds or thousands of local pages can be cumbersome. Companies like Brandify work with multi-location brands to collect and integrate first-party reviews into local pages and ensure that all local pages are providing the strongest SEO signals possible.