Online reviews provide consumers with the reassurance that they are making wise and informed decisions when it comes to buying a product or engaging the services of a company.
Imagine that you are looking for a company to provide you with outstanding copywriting to market your new online business. There are dozens of companies advertising the “best” copywriting available. How do you choose? Google Reviews can boost a company’s ranking which can result in the company appearing on the first page of the search engine results pages (SERPs). Google reviews can also provide valuable consumer feedback that will help you find a copy-writer who is reliable, professional, trusted, and proven to provide outstanding service. These reviews will often be the catalyst that has you choosing one company over another.
That’s just one benefit of Google reviews. Let’s look at some others.
Online Reviews and Local SEO
Being seen on the search engine results page (SERP) is crucial for local businesses and reviews play an important role in how a website ranks within the SERP.
Businesses with more positive reviews will score higher in the local SEO rankings, resulting in earning a spot in first pages of the SERPs. This is partly because search engines recognise the value of customer feedback and reviews. Businesses strive to be on the first pages of the SERPs because they know that customers want quick and easy access to the most valued and trusted local businesses.
How important are online business review? Consider the following 2017 statistics …
- 97% of consumers looked for local businesses online
- 85% of consumers have as much confidence in online reviews as they do in personal recommendations
- 73% of consumers have more trust in local businesses with positive reviews
- 30% of consumers view businesses in a more positive light if they respond to reviews
The Importance of Google Reviews
As the marketplace becomes more competitive, maintaining and optimising your Google My Business listing is becoming more important than ever. Ensure that your contact information and business hours are up-to-date and accurate. Ask your customers to leave Google reviews; this will help boost your organic ranking and will have a positive impact on your click-through rates.
Google Local Pack
Put yourself in the position of a consumer searching for local businesses within your niche who has found 3 results. The first has an average review rating of 3.2 with 325 reviews, the second has an average rating of 3.0 with 125 reviews, and the third (your business) has an average rating of 4.0 with 412 reviews. Your business immediately looks like the best and most reliable option.
Other Important Review Sites
Although not as powerful as Google reviews, other review platforms will create important signals that Google will use to determine the value and relevance of your business when organizing its results pages.
Achieving similarly positive reviews across other sites will positively reinforce the way Google sees your business. This is because it demonstrates that your business hasn’t just been aggressively targeting Google reviews to boost your standing and that the reviews you have gained are more likely to be natural as they appear across a number of other sites and platforms.
The benefits of reviews from a non-SEO perspective
A 2011 Harvard Business School study looking at restaurant businesses found that an increase of one star in reviews had the potential to increase revenue by between 5% and 9%. The more positive reviews your business achieves, the more traffic your website is likely to attract. This is because consumers, already interested in your goods or services, will want to learn more about what you have to offer.
If your content provides them with valuable information and your calls to action encourage them to participate in additional engagement, this can result in increased sales and conversions which in turn can result in a higher ROI.
How to Encourage Reviews
Although you could sit back and wait for your customers to leave reviews, being proactive and managing your online reputation will be much more beneficial.
There are three main methods that you can utilize to encourage your customers to leave more reviews:
- Provide a first-class customer experience
It has been said that if a customer receives good service, they will tell 10 people. If they receive bad service, they will tell 100. However, if that same customer receives OUTSTANDING service, they will tell everyone they see. Go above and beyond. Give top service and then some. Offer nothing but the best and add a little extra. Do these things, and your customers will be eager to leave you positive feedback.
- Ask your customers in person.
You might be surprised at just how willing your customers will be to leave a review if you just ask. Tell them how important it is for your business. Offer to show them how to leave a Google review. Ask them in person, or print the request on their receipt or on your business card.
Never offer to compensate customers or clients in any way for leaving positive reviews. This is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and your site could be harshly penalized. This includes non-monetary offers like offering to leave positive reviews in return.
- Utilise your email correspondence and social media channels
Incorporate review requests into your email and social media strategies. Be careful to not inundate your audience with requests. If you are using email marketing, include a footer at the bottom of your email asking people for reviews and leaving a link for them to use.
Consumers see online reviews in almost every online search they conduct. Although building a consumer rating using online reviews is a gradual process, it builds trust with your audience and is one of the simplest and most cost-effective methods to rank well in key word search results pages.