Think about the last time you wanted to eat at a new restaurant or buy a product you’ve never bought before. Chances are, you looked at the reviews before deciding to dive into unfamiliar territory. Unsurprisingly, 93% of customers say that their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews and 84% of shoppers say they trusted online business reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family. Because online reviews are so powerful, it is important you know how they impact local SEO, how to get reviews for your business, and how to manage them.
How online reviews impact local SEO
Local SEO is one of the best ways to promote your business because it places your business, your products and services when and where local customers are looking for them. Positive online reviews help improve your SEO because they create fresh, user-generated content that could be influential for future customers and lead to more business. Reviews also help increase keyword traffic to your site because the language people use to write reviews is similar to the words your target audience will use.
Review signals make up 10% of Google’s algorithm, which means that Google favors websites that have higher ratings. Because your ratings increase from positive reviews, your search ranking will also improve. If your company showcased your good reviews on social media, it could encourage conversation and lead to engagement on these social media platforms, which could drive sales. Check out this SEO scanner to see the effectiveness of your current business listing.
How to get reviews for your local business
To build up your list of reviews, start by simply asking your customers. For example, after you solve a problem for a customer or a customer compliments you mention that you would appreciate it if they left a review on your website, Facebook page, or another review site of your choice (i.e. Yelp). Make sure it is easy for your customers to post a review by putting direct links to your review profiles in multiple places like in follow-up emails, newsletters, and on your website. Give customers an incentive to further encourage them to post a review. For example, do a monthly giveaway or give discounts when customers leave a review.
How to manage reviews
You should regularly monitor your reviews to maintain your company’s reputation. When responding to negative reviews, follow these do’s and don’ts:
- Apologize for the customer’s bad experience and express empathy
- Offer something that might make amends (i.e. a refund or replacement)
- Be as transparent as possible when explaining the cause of the problem
- Explain clearly how you will handle the problem
- Encourage feedback in the future
- Blame the customer
- Shift blame onto the staff
- Write a long-winded response
Your reviews and ratings help you maintain a good public image, which can improve your SEO and increase sales. Use this guide to start building and managing your online reviews today!