Today Google announced they will start using page speed as a mobile ranking factor, beginning in July. Google has been using page speed as a desktop ranking factor since 2010. For years, Google talked about wanting to use the same page speed signal for mobile search results. It wasn’t until June of 2016, that someone from Google officially confirmed that Google’s page speed factor would soon apply to mobile as well.
Over the years, I’ve worked with clients in a variety of different industries; medical, legal, hospitality, finance, real estate, ecommerce, you name it. For most (if not all) of these industries, online reviews have become increasingly important. It’s already difficult enough asking customers to leave reviews. It feels forced and unnatural. But some industries are trickier than others.
Online reviews have become the Achilles heel of local businesses. What people say about your business matters. I’ve seen clients lose 40 percent of their organic traffic, after a customer left a 1-star review, and tanked their average rating. I’ve even seen negative reviews force local businesses to close their doors for good. It isn’t fair, but it’s the harsh reality of owning a business in the digital age. The good news is that there’s plenty that business owners can do to reinforce their reputation.
Since machines are sophisticated enough to understand complex, conversational queries, users are beginning to speak to search engines in the same way they would speak to another human being. Machines don’t just listen to us anymore; they are now capable of engaging and interacting with us, too. Voice search is taking this semantic technology to the next level. Instead of typing a query into Google and choosing from a list of search results, voice search technology allows consumers to use voice commands on their smartphones or personal assistant devices.
BrightLocal recently released the results of their 2016 Local Consumer Review Survey. The purpose of the annual survey, which BrightLocal first launched in 2010, is to evaluate how online reviews influence consumer behavior, and how these trends shift over time. This year’s survey had just over 1,000 participants, and consisted of 16 questions. The 2016 data further reinforces the growing importance of online reviews, and when compared to data from previous years, you can clearly see just how much online reviews have evolved over the past six years.