How Do Online Reviews Impact Search Ranking?

Written by Stephanie Allen

December 11, 2017

With the increase in digital channels on which to broadcast and consume information, consumers are turning online to gather information at every point along their path to purchase. Online reviews and reputation are a huge part of the modern-consumers buying journey, and can help businesses gain the trust of consumers. 

According to Moz, 91% of consumers read online reviews when searching for local businesses, with 84% of consumers trusting these online reviews.

Not only do online reviews impact the consumer, but from an SEO point of view, they impact Google as well. Good reviews let Google know that people are happy with your products and/or services, and therefore your website deserves to be ranked above others/competitors who don’t have high ratings, and thus help you:

  1. Improve search engine ranking​ 
  2. Stand out in the search results
  3. Positively influence purchase decisions

As an example, when searching for ‘cheap number plates Ireland’ appear at the top of the organic results, and have a rating of 9.8/10, above who also have a rating but a slightly smaller one, at 9.4/10.

Reviews are one form of user-generated content that search engines take into consideration, and user-generated content helps build up SEO points as it provides sites with fresh content, and a lot more backlinks.

Aside from providing user-generated fresh content, online reviews also naturally help your site rank for long-tail keywords. How? long-tail keywords are specific phrases with low search competition that are much easier rank highly for, and by looking at customer comments/reviews you as a business can see what words they are using and can then integrate these phrases as keywords for your on-site optimisation.

We’ve had a look at the personalised number plate industry to check which of the top 10 companies have ratings extensions and of those that do, what their current average score is:

Company Ratings Included Number of Reviews Ratings Score
Speedy Reg Trustpilot 837 9.8/10
Plates4less Trustpilot 3,096 9.8/10
Regtransfers Trustpilot 3,013 9.7/10
National Numbers Trustpilot 847 9.5/10
Primo Registrations Trustpilot 296 9.5/10
New Reg Trustpilot 531 9.4/10


We tested a few different search terms, specifically looking at car registration plate companies as an example, looking at how ratings affected search position. During our test we found that in most cases, at least 2 of the top 5 companies listed on Google for number plate terms that we tested, included ratings on their organic search results!

Search Term Ranking Positioning

Irish number plates



Cheap Irish car number plates


Cheap number plates



Obviously, online reviews and ratings aren’t the only thing that help boost your organic ranking but according to MOZ’s Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, they are thought to make up 10% of how Google and other search engines decide to rank search results, so a pretty important factor to consider.

Search engines aren’t just listening to what you have to say about yourself – they’re listening to what other people have to say about you too!



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Enjoyed reading this article? Find more like it below…