Some 88% of online users read reviews to determine the quality of a local business. If your businesses’ customer reviews are not visible on Google and the other various online platforms relevant to marketing your business, that one glaring fact alone should be all the inspiration you need to get started – PRONTO!
If you’re still not convinced, or don’t know where to get started with an SEO Company, keep reading to learn more about how reviews impact your business’ local search rankings, and some tips about how to get more honest-to-goodness reviews posted about you, your employees, and your products.
1. Users need social proof before laying their money down.
What other people say has always impacted consumer buying decisions, they always will. Savvy online researchers now trust place a heavy amount of trust primarily in Google’s ranking system and the Google ‘My Business’ reviews placed at the top of their engine when users input the right keywords.
With most review sites adopting a 5-point ranking system, most consumers are very hesitant to buy from a business that doesn’t consistently get 4 out of 5 stars. This is the reality on big e-commerce sites like EBay and Amazon too; sellers with consistently high rankings and reasonable prices will always dominate.
2. Review sites dominate Google listings for local businesses
When they type “Best Chicken in San Antonio” or “Top Plumbers in Houston” into Google, users are given a very clear picture of what business has the best reputation, and who they should be spending their money with. If they’re not looking for your company specifically, and want the best of the best, you’re not going to be getting a phone call or watching them walk through your doors if you aren’t near the top of the list.
Once you’ve reached a certain point in your local business SEO efforts, these reviews virtually guarantee your business will be featured whenever someone searches for you or the respective keywords you rank well for. Google-specific reviews are most important, but don’t forget that all review sites out there will inevitably send all important signals back to the King of all search engines, telling it where your local business should rank in their overall listings.
3. Bad reviews can kill your business – you can’t fake being good
You can’t guarantee that all reviews will be in a positive tone. You need to earn respect from your customers by offering the best customer experience you can.
Be aware that you can’t fake being good. Well, you could do that in the past, but with social media, your business is literally laid bare, showing everything about your business – good or bad.
How to Get More (Positive) Reviews?
Reviews won’t come flooding in suddenly overnight for any local business. So, how to get more reviews? It’s simple: Offer great products/services OR offer downright terrible products/services. Most of your customers will only leave a review if you are exceptional (in either case). Just make sure that the former is your case.
Now, you could try to buy fake positive reviews – or do it in the grey hat way, asking your friends and family to leave positive reviews on your business. But the effectiveness is long gone, thanks to social media. In fact, if you get caught buying/paying for reviews, your business will be doomed and you risk getting bashed from every angle.
Here is how to get more positive reviews – legitimately and ethically – through a pretty simple, yet still entirely unpredictable process:
1. Show you’re worth a glowing review
Go above and beyond to provide customers with the best experience possible. If you can’t find a way to make this happen, you’ll always get bad reviews. If you’re mediocre, you may never get any reviews at all, but that’s (almost) as bad.
This can be done even after a poor review has been left. Respond to them – kindly – ask how you can help. Encourage them to call you or come into your business so you can make the experience right for them. Potential customers will appreciate your effort and recognize you’re committed to their satisfaction.
2. After you’ve got #1 ironed out… Just ASK!
Ask customers for reviews. And make it super easy for them to do so. If you want more Google+ reviews on your business page, tell them to navigate to your website, then give them direct links where they can go and leave a review in just a minute or two, without any fuss.
It’s the same with Yelp and other top authority review sites, blogs, and any popular hyper-local review sites in your city, state, or province. Don’t be pushy, but do make sure you always ask.
First, if you build it, they will indeed come, if your marketing is spot on. But, if you give crappy service, they won’t come back and most customers will have no problem scattering terrible reviews for your business all over the web.
Second, reviews, as you’ve learned, are so important to local SEO. Overwhelmingly positive reviews are all you need to separate yourself from the big boys in your area (i.e., a local privately-owned burger joint competing with McDonalds; a local independent plumber competing with Mr. Rooter, etc.)
When it comes to online reviews, if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail!