In today’s digital-driven culture, more and more people are using their smartphones, tablets and PCs to search for local business, purchase products or services online or make decisions to visit certain businesses such as restaurants, clinics, gyms, salons, etc. The majority of these potential customers will make their decision based on several key factors; one of them is the customer reviews your business has received. Moreover, more and more of the customers who do patronize your business will be inclined to leave reviews about your product or service.
Customer reviews are insanely powerful – so powerful that good ones can help a business skyrocket while bad ones can be extremely damaging. Studies have shown that 90% of potential customers will actually decide whether or not to do business with you based on your reviews or star ratings alone. That’s not a statistic to ignore.
The power of customer reviews extends to your search Engine rankings as well, meaning how and where you appear when people search for you online. Your ranking specifically on the top review-dedicated platforms like Google My Business and Yelp are affected by your customer reviews. Google and Yelp love reviews and the more you have, the higher your business will appear in their searches. Not having an effective strategy for managing good reviews and dealing quickly and effectively with bad ones will negatively affect your rankings and cause you to lose up to 50% of potential customers.
Let me explain how online reviews can improve your local business ranking:
- According to a recent SEO survey by Moz, online reviews are one of the top seven factors that affect your business ranking in search results.
- The quantity, quality, and frequency of reviews, even the authority of the people who write them are key to your rankings. The search engines are trained to filter them out regularly and rank your business accordingly.
- The number of websites or review-dedicated platforms where your reviews are displayed will affect your ranking. Actually, Google and Yelp do not consider reviews to be legitimate if they appear on one platform only. Make sure your reviews are distributed across several sites like Facebook, TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google or whatever sites are appropriate for your type of business
- Google and Yelp favor highly rated businesses. Good reviews and high ratings are proof of your business’ reputability and authority.
- Reviews generate more leads and traffic to your business website, also very important for your listing.
- Google My Business is essential for improving local business listings – because the Google search engine loves reviews. The more numerous and current your reviews are, the higher your business will appear in Google’s search rankings. You of course should list your business on other review dedicated sites, but Google My Business is a must for improving local listings.
Here are some simple steps to increase your online reviews:
- Learn from your reviews. Look at reviews as if they are an online “focus group”. Good reviews tell you what you are doing right in your business, so that you can continue doing it to get more good reviews. Bad reviews give insight into what you are getting wrong so that you can improve.
- Display your reviews wherever you can. Link to them on Facebook, your business website or your blog.
- Ask for reviews. Make sure you have easily accessible “Review us” links on your websites and ask customers who visit your business to go online and give their feedback.
- Keep reviews current. A hundred reviews that date back two or three years have much less impact than 10 or 20 current ones. Make sure you have a stream of current reviews always coming in.
- Always deal with bad reviews immediately to minimize their impact. There are numerous ways to manage bad reviews and even turn them around – but that’s another article altogether!
- To automate as much of this whole process consider using a time saving software such as ReviewerPro in order to substantially multiply your efforts and essentially streamline the whole process.
I hope this article has helped you realize the importance of leveraging your online reviews. If you do have a review management strategy, is it effective enough? How can you tweak it to cultivate more customer reviews? More importantly, if you don’t have a review management strategy, don’t you think it’s high time you put one in place? For more information please download a free copy of “Killing it with Reviews” available here.