If you are wondering why growing positive reviews for your business is important in April 2023 we have you covered.
Let’s get to the point by answering the question above:
YES, local Google reviews and SEO are intrinsically linked and can determine how high your online business ranks on search engines.
To help elaborate on this point, this post discusses why you need to include gathering and managing reviews for your local business as part of your SEO strategy.
Then, we’ll dive into different ways how you can collect the reviews to improve your local search rankings.
Reasons Why Local Businesses Need Online Reviews
As a local business owner, you have your job cut out against competitors with arguably deeper pockets and years ahead of you in the market.
Thankfully, the internet has somewhat levelled the playing field by giving you a fighting chance against more prominent brands in the industry.
One of the best ways you can do this is by making your website appear on top of local search results of a search engine like Google.
Aside from the usual SEO efforts, getting positive online customer reviews is a tactic you consider using moving forward. And below are the reasons why:
#1 – Build Trust with Your Audience
What makes customer reviews crucial is how it builds trust among the public in your brand.
It’s one thing for your brand to tell people how great your products are. It’s another if a customer tells others the same thing.
The fact that the good word is coming from someone who has no stake in the success of your business makes a world of difference.
From an SEO standpoint, reviews help determine your brand’s E-A-T, which stands for:
- Expertise – Does the business have a high level of knowledge about its topic?
- Authoritativeness – Does it possess credentials and qualifications from notable award-giving bodies?
- Trustworthiness – Do people get their money’s worth from your products?
These terms are seen in Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines, a document that discusses what manual raters look for in a website to determine which search queries to appear in and how high.
Despite this, E-A-T isn’t a ranking factor. Websites that don’t exhibit expertise, authority, and trust can still rank high on Google search results.
To be clear, E-A-T still impacts your local business’s search rankings, but not in the way other ranking factors like content and backlinks do.
Nonetheless, you must still showcase E-A-T in your niche simply because it makes sense to do so.
They inform Google and other search engines about the sentiment towards your brand. More positive reviews mean more positive sentiment, which Google uses as signals to help determine what to do with your site.
BUILD TRUST WITH MORE 5 STAR REVIEWS
#2 – Conduct Online Review Management
Whether you like it or not, your business will become a brand sooner than later.
You’re not just a business selling products and services to people at this stage. Instead, you become much bigger, representing an idea that people associate with your company.
In this case, you must protect everything your brand stands for, from your products and services to how you acquit yourselves to customers. They all point back to the brand you want your company to be.
Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.
There will be people putting your company down, particularly irate customers voicing their displeasure on social media with their purchase.
You can smooth things over with these customers and try to come to a resolution. Being able to do so shows your brand character and gets you back into their good graces.
However, you’ll always be playing defence by constantly chasing unhappy customers. While resolving issues with current customers is the right thing to do, you simply can’t make everybody happy.
GET 5 STAR REVIEWS TO BOOST YOUR REPUTATION ONLINE
While resolving issues with current customers is the right thing to do, you simply can’t make everybody happy.
Instead, focus on your happy customers and get testimonials about how your business helped solve their problems.
Encourage them to share their reviews on your Google Business Profile or other review sites like Yelp.
Collecting as many positive reviews about your business online allows you to control the narrative about your business and present it to people in a way that best reflects your brand.
#3 – Bring in More Referral Traffic and Sales
This brings us to our last and most important reason.
As mentioned, a positive customer review bears more weight than anything good you say about your brand.
The customer review comes from an unbiased and objective point of view, not tainted by its association with the company. As a result, people will trust it more.
And since it follows that the more positive reviews you can collect for your brand mean, the more trust your can build, it’s only a matter of time before you can turn that trust into revenue.
Think about it:
If all the reviews point to your business being good, people have no choice but to buy from you!
By leveraging the power of positive reviews, you can build enough goodwill from your target audience to eventually turn them into paying customers when all’s said and done.
INCREASE CONVERSIONS WITH MORE 5 STAR REVIEWS
How Small Businesses Can Get Local Reviews
As the saying goes, “ask, and you shall receive.”
To be clear, you may or may not (more on this later) get the reviews you want for your local business. But you wouldn’t know for sure unless you try.
For starters, set up your marketing automation tool to send an email hours after your customers receive your product. It should ask them to click on a link that will bring them to a new page where they can leave a review about their purchase.
Here’s an example from Airbnb:
Most of the time, customers are busy and won’t be able to get to writing the review until they completely forget about it.
To prevent this from happening, send them another follow-up email reminding them to write the review.
Send the follow-up days after the first one. There’s no one answer regarding how long you have to wait before sending the follow-up email, but you can start by sending it three to four days after and work your way from there.
From this approach, you must monitor the campaign’s conversion rates to see how customers are responding.
If you’re unsatisfied with the number of reviews you’ve received so far, tweak the emails by changing the copy, call to action, and when the follow-up email will be sent.
Making small changes to your campaign should help you compare and contrast it with the previous one. You can then see which version of the elements produced better results and stick with those/
Make Writing Reviews Easy for Them
Instead of nagging them with constant email reminders, you can simply let customers come to you with their reviews.
In fact, if your product or service is very good, they’ll be more than happy to talk about awesome it is without you asking them to do it.
All you need here is to enable customers to write a review from the product page.
A simple “Write a Review” button that opens a short form that people can fill out with their review should be easy enough.
Once done, you must display the reviews on the page for prospects to see. This way, you can get them to convert into customers, especially if you have amassed many positive reviews.
Like the email campaign above, getting people to click on the button will be challenging.
Using a heat mapping tool should help you identify the percentage of visitors who hovered and/or clicked on the button.
Using the data collected here, you can make changes to the button, such as its copy, size, colour, and location, to hopefully get more traction from it.
Consolidate Reviews in a Single Place
Even if you tried your best to get customers to write a review on your product page, they might still go out of their way to write on third-party review sites.
There’s nothing wrong with this, as sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and others let you grow your presence on these platforms.
The more reviews you get from third-party sites, the more people will learn about your local business.
However, this presents another challenge for you: collecting and showcasing all the reviews on a single page.
By featuring all your business reviews online on your product page, for instance, you make accessing them easier for everyone. In addition, this helps prospects decide to purchase your product faster.
Instead of manually copying and pasting them onto your site page, use review management tools instead.
You can automatically collect reviews, photos, videos, and the average star rating of your products from review sites and social media. Then, filter the reviews only to show the most relevant ones.
Turn a Bad Review into a Good One
As mentioned above, responding to reviews that negatively affect your brand shows people that you care.
The trickiest part about managing negative reviews is to avoid making them about your brand.
This seems ironic because review management aims to improve your brand reputation by addressing customer feedback that casts a negative light on your business.
Instead, you should make your reply about your customers.
Find out why they’re unhappy with your product or service. Hear your customers out and allow them to explain their side. Make them feel valued for having opinions about your business even though they’re not flattering.
Only then can you offer alternatives to solve their problems.
Approaching negative reviews this way allows you to build stronger relationships with customers. By getting deeper into their situations, you learn more about how to improve your business and provide a better customer experience.
Another factor to consider is the volume of reviews your business is receiving.
A popular brand will receive more reviews than a less popular one. This can be a good and bad thing because the number of bad reviews you’ll get also increases.
And since fresh reviews about your brand keep coming, you must regularly stay on top of the reviews. Having unaddressed negative reviews over time can seriously hurt your reputation and impact your SEO rankings.
Online reputation management tools can tremendously help you in this regard.
They can help find reviews for you to reply to on different review platforms.
These tools can also unearth social media for posts talking about your business and analyse the sentiment of each. This way, you can focus on reviews with negative sentiments first before addressing the positive ones.
Let RateMyBusiness.io Give Your Business a Head Start in Positive Reviews!
As you can see, getting and managing reviews play a critical role in your business’s success. You get an opportunity to build trust with your audience that can improve your search rankings and sales over time.
However, getting reviews that can increase your organic and local pack rankings takes a lot of work.
Even if you follow the steps above, expect only to get a handful of reviews at the start. You can only grow the number of reviews you receive and your business in the process by consistently implementing them.
However, there’s an easier way to get reviews without doing any of the heavy lifting above, at least for now.
You can hire us at RateMyBusiness.io to create buzz about your business through positive reviews on Facebook or Google Business Profile.
Click here to learn more about our services.