It is widely understood that third-party reviews are an essential ranking factor for local business listings in Google. In fact, David Mihm’s comprehensive survey Local Search Ranking Factors classifies reviews as one of five “general ranking signals.”
You can think of it this way: Reviews are their own Local SEO category. Besides the sheer quantity of third-party reviews, the quality of the reviews and the frequency with which the reviews are accrued are each separate signals used by Google to determine rank.
The key to Google finding your customer reviews, and thereby conferring a ranking benefit, comes down to three pieces of data — Name, Addresses, and Phone Number (NAP). I have written about the benefits of ensuring NAP consistency across directories before. Google is the most sophisticated search engine in the world, but that does not mean it couldn’t use a little help.
Google’s goal is to return the most relevant search results for its users. To ensure Google recognizes your business as a quality search result for local searches, find every website with customer reviews for your business and ensure the NAP data is consistent with your Google+ Local Page. Make the match as close as possible. Leave nothing to chance.
It is not always clear whether or not Google recognizes a business’s reviews on a given directory, but one way you can tell is by checking the “Reviews Around the Web” section of your Google+ Local page. You can be fairly certain that Google is factoring signals from pages it links to.
Superior Care Auto Center of Brooklyn is a good example: