Local organic search results are largely influenced by customer reviews online. For instance, if your company is on several major directory listings and you receive customer reviews regularly, you’ll likely rank higher.
When someone searches for a similar business in your area, Google will use customer reviews as the determining factor for whom is placed on the top three spots. Once you have great reviews you’ll begin to generate more clicks, and better reviews will ultimately lead to more business. Another major benefit to customer reviews is that they let potential customers know you own a reliable business.
If you’re trying to decide between two equal competitors, the business that pursues online reviews will undoubtedly win in terms of traffic and purchases. Due to the Pigeon algorithm, Yelp and other directories are increasing their influence in search results. In some instances, some of these business directories rank higher than the actual business page themselves. Reviews on Google + play a major factor when appearing in search results. In fact, Google + reviews appear before a majority of brand search queries. Other influential listing sites include Foursquare, Citysearch, Yelp and Yellow Pages.
Other factors that influence your ranking include the structure of your site, user experience, content strategy and link building. These actually play a larger role in rankings than customer reviews. It’s important to remember that you should never sacrifice the quality of your content to attract more reviews.