What Is Sentiment Analysis and Why Does It Matter for Local SEO?

April 10th, 2024, 09:00 AM

How customers feel about a business can make or break it — even one bad review can start to steer customers away and potentially hurt your ranking in local search results. 

Sentiment analysis is a powerful tool that can provide business owners and marketers with valuable insights into how customers feel, which can help them stay competitive in the local market.

By analyzing online reviews and other forms of customer feedback, businesses can gain a better understanding of customer needs and preferences, allowing them to make informed decisions that ultimately improve their online reputation and search engine rankings.

What Is Sentiment Analysis?

In a broad sense, sentiment analysis is a technique used to determine the sentiment (positive, negative, or neutral) expressed in a text. It involves analyzing the text to understand the subjective information it contains, such as opinions, feelings, emotions, and attitudes. 

Sentiment analysis can be applied to various types of text-based data, including social media posts, customer reviews, survey responses, and news articles, to gain insights into how people feel about certain topics, brands, products, or services.

Sentiment Analysis and Local SEO

When it comes to local SEO, there's one main source of sentiment that you should care about: online reviews, especially Google Business Profile reviews.

In the context of these online reviews, sentiment analysis refers to the process of analyzing and understanding the sentiment expressed in the reviews. 

This analysis helps businesses and local SEO professionals understand the opinions, attitudes, and emotions of customers toward products, services, or experiences.

Why Is Sentiment Analysis Important for Local SEO?

Sentiment analysis is important for local SEO because it helps businesses (and the marketing professionals they work with) understand how customers feel about their products, services, and brand, which can directly impact their online reputation and search engine rankings. 

How does sentiment directly impact search rankings? Well, reviews are an important ranking factor for Google — Google's local search algorithm rewards Google Business Profiles with more positive reviews by ranking them higher in local search results.

By performing sentiment analysis on online reviews, businesses can gain valuable insights into customer opinions, identify areas for improvement, and make informed decisions to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Implementing changes that improve customer sentiment can lead to more and better reviews and, ultimately, a higher ranking on Google.

Benefits of Sentiment Analysis for Local SEO

Customer Insights

Sentiment analysis provides businesses with valuable insights into customer opinions, preferences, and feedback. By analyzing sentiment in local reviews, businesses can identify trends, patterns, and areas for improvement, allowing them to better meet customer needs and expectations.

For example, if a restaurant's customers mention that service is slow, the business could hire additional staff or implement new training or tools to improve the speed of service. Such improvements will then be reflected in future reviews, contributing to a better local search ranking.

Reputation Management

Monitoring sentiment in local reviews also helps businesses manage their overall online reputation.

By quickly identifying and addressing negative sentiment, businesses can mitigate potential damage to their reputation and improve customer perceptions, limiting the number of negative reviews that can hurt local rankings.

Competitive Advantage

By analyzing sentiment in local reviews for both your business and its competitors, you can gain a competitive advantage by identifying strengths and weaknesses compared to the competition. This allows businesses to differentiate themselves and improve their offerings to better meet customer needs.

For example, let's say customers are raving about a certain type of coffee beverage that a nearby competing cafe serves, but you don't yet have on the menu. You might consider coming up with your own, even more delicious, version and adding it to the menu to win over customers who may go to the competing business specifically for that beverage.

Or, imagine you're an auto mechanic, and your top competitor's customers repeatedly mention in reviews that they love the ease of making service appointments online, but you don't have an online appointment booking system yet. You could then create a new service reservation portal on your website to improve the booking experience and attract more local customers.

Best Practices for Using Sentiment Analysis for Local SEO

Collecting Customer Feedback:

  • Use multiple channels to collect feedback, including online reviews, surveys, social media, and customer service interactions.
  • Regularly monitor online review sites (especially Google Business Profile) and social media platforms for customer feedback.
  • Encourage customers to leave reviews by providing incentives or making the process easy and convenient.

Analyzing Customer Feedback:

  • Use a sentiment analysis tool, like Local Falcon, to analyze customer feedback automatically and identify positive, negative, and neutral sentiments.
  • Look for trends and patterns in the feedback to identify areas for improvement.
  • Pay attention to specific keywords or phrases that indicate customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction.

Responding to Negative Reviews:

  • Respond promptly to negative reviews to show that you care about customer feedback.
  • Apologize for any negative experiences and offer solutions or compensation where appropriate.
  • Use negative feedback as an opportunity to improve your products or services and prevent similar issues in the future.

Using Sentiment Analysis Insights:

  • Use insights from sentiment analysis to improve products or services based on customer feedback.
  • Identify areas of strength and promote them in your marketing efforts.
  • Adjust your messaging and communication strategies based on customer sentiment to better resonate with your audience.

Monitoring and Adjusting Strategies:

  • Continuously monitor customer feedback and sentiment to track the effectiveness of your strategies.
  • Adjust your strategies based on changing customer sentiment and feedback.
  • Use sentiment analysis as a proactive tool to anticipate customer needs and stay ahead of the competition.

Training and Education:

  • Train your team to use sentiment analysis tools effectively and interpret the results accurately.
  • Educate your team about the importance of customer feedback and how it can be used to improve business performance.
  • Encourage a customer-centric culture within your organization to prioritize customer satisfaction and feedback.

Integration with Other Strategies:

  • Integrate sentiment analysis with other digital marketing strategies, such as content marketing and social media marketing, to create more targeted and effective campaigns.
  • Use sentiment analysis insights to inform your SEO strategy and improve your local search rankings.


Understanding customer sentiment is crucial for businesses looking to succeed in local SEO. 

Sentiment analysis provides valuable insights into customer opinions, preferences, and experiences, allowing businesses to make informed decisions that can positively impact their online reputation and search engine rankings.

Overall, sentiment analysis is a powerful tool that can help businesses gain a competitive advantage, especially in the hyper-competitive local search market.

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