With more and more of your customers turning to the internet to do their shopping, it’s important to make sure you’re ranking high in local search results—and that starts with ensuring your business has great online reviews.
Good reviews are a strong indicator to Google of how well your business performs, which helps improve your ranking on search engine results pages. In order to get these good reviews, you need to know how to ask for them – and where! Here’s what you need to know about customer reviews and local strategies.
Customer reviews are an excellent way to get in touch with your customer base. They give you a chance to learn what customers love about your product, and also where they feel you could improve. A study done by the Pew Research Center found that people read about four or 5 reviews on average before making a purchase decision. That’s because it can be easier than spending hours doing research.
Reviews are key to success on the internet. People trust their peers, who have likely gone through the same or similar experience that they’re looking into. This is why customer reviews are so important when it comes to local SEO strategy. When a potential customer sees that there are several other people in their area who have been satisfied with your services, they’ll feel more comfortable doing business with you. Reviews also help potential customers get an idea of what kind of business you operate and how accessible you are.
Google does use the review data from third-party websites for its search engine rankings. However, reviews posted on a company’s own website are given more weight than reviews on third-party sites because they’re thought to be more trustworthy. Companies who respond to negative reviews also have an edge over those who don’t, because it shows they care about their customers’ experience. The average number of stars a business receives in Google’s ranking algorithm is between 4 and 5. Also, Google released a new algorithm that ranks businesses in search engine results based on the number of positive customer reviews they have.
You may be asking yourself Where should I place my reviews? There are a few different places. Places like social media, sites that sell products you offer, your company website, or other sites with product-related content. Basically, the point is to have reviews on as many relevant websites as possible in order to achieve maximum exposure. In addition, make sure your business has an online presence so customers can find it easily. It’s also important to monitor feedback for opportunities to improve customer service.
If you have a business with multiple locations, make sure that reviews are collected from all of them. A natural tendency is for customers to want to share their thoughts on whichever store they frequented most recently, but it’s not just about the most recent review. Even if you had one bad experience with a store location, someone else may have had a really great experience with the same one.
The takeaway here is that positive reviews are better than negative reviews. Your goal as a business owner should be to stay on the positive side of the spectrum, while trying not to annoy or offend your customers in the process. Creating a space for customer feedback on your site may also help you identify ways to make improvements, which will create more satisfied customers down the line.
What reviews are your competitors receiving? Where is it mentioned? Check all the necessary data by performing an SEO audit. The more data you get, the better your visibility strategy you will be able to plan. This is especially true in small towns where competition is close to you.
The Google My Business review section is perfect for showcasing your company’s most loyal and happy customers. Each customer review comes with a full name, photo, and short comment from the reviewer. For starters, you should aim for at least ten reviews before asking potential customers to write reviews on your behalf.
One of the best things about using Google Maps is that it also features reviews from customers. To be a local business, getting these reviews can be an essential part of your marketing strategy. When people search for a store or restaurant near them, these reviews will pop up in the sidebar next to your location pin.
Every review is valuable, especially reviews from your customers. Google will now give you a ranking boost for relevant positive reviews so it pays to encourage customers to leave them. One way to gather more reviews is by setting up an automatic process to reach out to customers via e-mail asking if they enjoyed their visit. Sending one email per week isn’t overkill but doing it daily might annoy some customers who may not want their private lives put online. Another tip would be to have staff members offer discounts or incentives in exchange for the customer’s time to write a quick review on Yelp or Facebook.
Negative customer reviews are one of the most difficult aspects of running a small business. There’s never a good time for a bad review, but it’s important that you respond quickly when you see one. If the comment seems legitimate, thank the reviewer for their feedback and be transparent about any improvements you’re working on. Showing that you care goes a long way in helping customers feel heard, which may help them come back to your store or recommend your services.
Be grateful and respond to reviews and comments. This will show that you are committed and care. If someone leaves a bad review, reply and provide a solution to the problem they’ve had. In this way, you create a group of loyal customers and contribute to the local community. At these times, focus on the positive reviews and maintain a conversation with your customers so they feel welcome in your business.
Optimizing for mobile means more than just designing for a small screen size, it’s about designing with a UX that accommodates users on the go. These tips can help you plan your website strategy to optimize for all digital interactions. As far as local SEO goes, if you want people in your neighborhood or area to find you, then focus on keywords that are geographically relevant.
The customer reviews that you leave on your business’ social media channels, website, blogs, or forum discussions are an important asset for your business in both building customer trust and increasing their likelihood of returning. They also can help rank higher in local search results. Remember to respond to them appropriately and act fast if there is a complaint. Make sure that your customers have a positive experience with your company by providing quality service from the first interaction until they’re happy with the final product.
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