Do you ever buy a product without searching online first? This doesn’t include general, day-to-day items like groceries or house cleaners, just anything of significance like an entertainment center or a tablet. Most people search online when they want to make a purchase. They look into different companies, try to understand the products, and read online reviews, etc. The point is that everyone researches a product before they make a purchase decision if they can. With all of this information at consumers’ fingertips, they don’t hesitate to complete a thorough search before making a purchase.
Improve SEO with Product Review Ratings
Some of the most visible and attention-grabbing items on the search engine results pages are the product review ratings, typically in the form of star ratings. They appear just below the links and easily summarize what the customers and clients think about that particular company and product. If you see a five-star rating under a link on the search engine results page (SERP), you’re automatically going to click on that link before going anywhere else.
Google Reviews Are Important Sales Factors
There’s a lot of influence from Google reviews on local businesses around the country. When the performance is compared on several websites with and without reviews, their traffic always has different results. Websites without reviews fall well below potential standards while sites with several reviews get more attention and have higher levels of visitors. Google reviews have a solid impact on the website traffic and visitor conversions. You are essentially building a level of trust with the searcher before they even reach your website.
Google cares a lot about a user’s experience. The company wants people to keep using their search engine. For that reason, they need to provide the most accurate and reliable information they can and reviews play a very vital role in that. While the company considers over 250 parameters when it accesses your website and ranks it, user reviews still have a very significant impact. Companies that have good reviews tend to rank higher in the SERPs. After all, good reviews mean that the customers had good experiences. As Google wants to give its users the best information, it’s not really surprising that highly reviewed websites rank higher on the SERPs. There are several ways you can use this review system to your advantage, especially if you run a small business.
Why Should You Get Google Reviews?
Consider this scenario: you’re looking for a local dentist in an area you just moved into and know nothing about it. Five to ten years ago, you would’ve asked your friends and neighbors for suggestions. Today, you might just remove your smartphone from your pocket and search for a dental office. Google would conveniently display the offices closest to you through localization and also show you the top three results. Within those top results, you might find star ratings and customer reviews. You can read the reviews and then make your decision. Therefore, customer reviews and ratings are essential to local SEO marketing, as well as valuable traffic.
Maximize SEO and Profits with More Online Business Reviews
On an average, a person will read around six reviews before they make their decision. They would also consider a company with more reviews to be more trustworthy. Here are some reasons why you need to focus on getting more reviews, as well as why they provide quality traffic:
Traffic – The direct result of more reviews in an increased amount of traffic to your website. This is the end result of having great reviews. Higher traffic means more prospects, and more prospects would lead to lead conversions and more revenue. The entire goal of marketing, SEO, and other such strategies is to bring traffic to your website. The best part is that this traffic is entirely organic. That means that your prospects have come to you with every intention to buy.
Visibility – The businesses with high ratings and stars immediately attract attention. They stand out more than businesses with no reviews at all. You might be surprised, but even businesses with three or four stars would be considered a better choice than a business that doesn’t have any reviews at all.
Reliability – Good reviews bolster your online reputation. If you keep getting good reviews and build up enough positive ones to counteract the negative ones, people will consider your company trustworthy. This trust will be a very important part of building your brand and growing your business. Trust is hard-earned yet easily damaged. You need to keep your services in tip-top shape at all times to enjoy a good reputation.
Rankings – As previously mentioned, Google considers over 250 factors when it ranks your website. Two of these factors are your reviews and your online reputation. The company will consider reviews from several websites, including their own, to rank your website. As a local business, you’ve got a great advantage over the big companies. You only need to focus on one business location, while they have to handle multiple locations for Local SEO marketing. Regardless, you have a store or an office in your local area and can claim that business in Google and get things started.
Managing Google Reviews
As you can see from the above listed points, Google customer reviews are very important. However, getting good ones is easier said than done. There’s no company out there that doesn’t have negative reviews. In fact, if you find companies with their review profiles clean; there’s a good chance that they’re not legit and not trustworthy. Here’s how you can deal with Google reviews.
How to Get Started With Obtaining Reviews?
The setup process for Google reviews is quite simple. However, it is still recommended that you hire a professional or at least consult one on the matter. It’s important to make the right moves to prevent problems later. You want to know what you are doing before you jump in. After all, you don’t want to make a mistake and sink your budding online reputation. With that in mind, here’s what to do.
Claim Your Business on Google
You can search your business on Google and use local search words. After browsing through the SERP, you should click on claim this business and go through the verification process. Google will favor claimed and verified businesses over others. You should also create a Google+ page for your company, on which the reviews can be featured as well. Here are the steps to follow:
The “Claim your business” option will only appear if you’re logged into your Google account. If you’re not, you need to log in.
Now go to Google.com/business. You’ll be prompted to enter your Google ID and password. If you don’t have an ID, you’ll need to create a new one.
After you’ve done that and are logged on, you will have to search for your business. You can also create one if needed.
Once you have the listing, simply verify the information before claiming your business. Google will contact you by mail or phone to verify that it is actually you registering your business.
You’ll then need to enter the code issued to you by Google to verify your business.
Once you have completed all the steps above, you’ll be well on your way to getting reviews.
Watch the Name, Address, and Phone (NAP) Data
The NAP data is your business name, phone number, and address data. If that information is online, it’s very likely that Google already has it and lists it. Before you can claim your business, you should correct any errors in this information. Inconsistent NAP data is one of the negative ranking factors. If your information that is listed all across the internet is inconsistent and outdated, you won’t be ranked high on the SERPs. If possible, do a thorough search online and correct your NAP data anywhere you can. Make sure that all the addresses and phone numbers are the same. This can sometimes be a reason for negative reviews. Your prospective clients would try to call you, only to realize that the number is incorrect. That could irritate them and lead to a bad review that you don’t need.
Ask Your Customers to Post a Review
If you’ve just claimed a business and are starting to utilize reputation management, you need to collect reviews. The best way to accomplish this is to ask your customers to leave a review and/or rating for the services they received. Just ask them to give you feedback on your products or services online. Encourage them to give you comprehensive reviews that would help you improve. Most will ignore the request, but some actually do respond. Eventually, the reviews will continue to grow.
Read Every Review and Note Constructive Criticism
Most clients will drop a simple review basically saying good job, or great company, etc. While such reviews aren’t so bad, they don’t offer anything constructive. You can’t learn from them and understand what your clients liked and didn’t like about your business. However, there are some clients who will give comprehensive reviews, offering suggestions and solutions. Whether these reviews are bad or good, they’ll be very informative. That’s why you need to read every review you get and note down the important points that help you improve your quality of service. Improving your service will attract more prospects, which leads to business growth. It would also lead to more reviews too
Communicate With Your Clients or Customers
It is important that you have open communication with your clients or customers. You should reply to as many reviews as you can. There are some companies that minimize the time they spend replying to reviews by restricting replies to just those people who have offered constructive reviews and suggestions. That’s where many businesses fail. Whether you get a positive or a negative review, you need to reply. You can simply state that you were pleased that your customers were satisfied with the service they received or you can state that you’re sorry that they were dissatisfied. In the same reply, you should try to initiate personal contact. You can do that by providing your personal email to your clients. They will contact you if they’re interested in providing more feedback. It’s important to open this line of communication which would showcase your willingness to work with the customers. That would improve your reputation and get your more positive reviews.
Keep your Products and Services of the Highest Quality
Providing low quality goods and services to your customers is the easiest way to get bad reviews. This could come in any form, such as opened packages, damaged boxes, lack of customer service, sub-par work, and more. Keeping focused and maintaining high standards would ensure that the reviews you get will include more positive ones. All you need to do is ensure that your customer service is great, your products are good and useful, and your services are efficient and prompt. That would keep the bad reviews at bay. It’s also a good idea to keep improving with the times. You should always dedicate a small portion of your time to research current trends, the competition, and any new technology that could improve business operations. If you saw two gas stations across from each other and one looked clean yet twenties years old while the other looked new and has newer gas pumps and lighting; which one would you go to? Your business is no different. That would ensure that your company never becomes stagnant and your reviews don’t stop flowing.
Reply to Negative Reviews
You keep hearing this repeatedly, but it can’t be emphasized enough. You need to reply to negative reviews every chance you get. First, read through the review and make a careful note of all the mistakes that are pointed out in it. You should ask the client if they would be willing to contact you personally and discuss the matter. If they are interested in two-way communication, ask them for suggestions and find out what is lacking in your company. Once you’re able to accomplish that, you can start working on rectifying the problem. It’s a good idea to give your client a timeframe for resolving the issue. After you’ve solved the problem, you can contact them again and thank them for their advice. You can let them know that you looked into the matter and resolved it. Things like the one above earn a client’s loyalty. There are some reviewers who will go back and edit their reviews as well. They would acknowledge that you promptly contacted them and resolved the problem. Again, this would help bolster your reputation. It would attract more customers and lead to more reviews. If you keep this wheel moving, you’ll firmly establish yourself as a reliable brand. You can turn a bad situation into a good one with the right response. Your customers should walk away feeling appreciated and valued. That would heal any breach between you and your customer and help keep your business afloat.
Use Social Media Marketing
After you feel that everything is in place, start promoting your Google+ page on your other social media websites. You can post links on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. If you’re a business-to-business (B2B) company, you might want to post links in LinkedIn. The idea is to ensure that your company page is visited by as many people as possible. That would increase the likelihood of reviews. Promoting your reviews would be a great way to promote your business as well. So, not only would you get more reviews, but you might also get new prospects visiting your website and your Google page. That’s like hitting two birds with one stone. Social media has unprecedented exposure. You can connect with other prospects and get more customers. You can tap into the connections of your followers and fans. These people would most likely have similar interests as your followers, which can be advantageous.
Include a Call-To-Action (CTA)
CTA is one of the most important aspects of any interaction with your customers. You need to give them a clear way to contact you. You should also actively encourage your clients to leave reviews. You can do that by adding a review CTA to your newsletters, in your invoices, on your website, etc. The idea is to remind them to comment. Most customers will only post a review if they’re extremely satisfied with your service or if they are very dissatisfied with it. If they find nothing remarkable about your products or services, they won’t waste their time reviewing your business. A CTA will motivate the clients or customers because they won’t be willing to comment if you don’t remind and encourage them.
Using Your Store or Office to Generate Reviews
You have included your CTA on your website and all of your digital content, but what about your brick and mortar store? You can add a symbol or sign asking people to post a Google review. It’s always a good idea to encourage this wherever possible without being annoying. The idea is to get as many reviews as you can. You need to find the right place to install the sign. The cash-counter or a place where people conduct their final transactions with you would be ideal. The sign would remind your customers to review their service experience right then and there while it’s fresh in their mind. If they’re encouraged to review just as they’re walking about of the door, it’s more likely that they will.
Business Review Benefits to Local and Small Companies
There are several benefits of getting reviews on Google, as you may already know if you’ve read this far. For local, small businesses; there are fewer things to deal with when it comes to products or services. You might even get a place on Google’s highly competitive 3-Pack for local searches since you have less to focus on verses national or international companies with tons of products or services and numerous locations to market on the web. Basically, managing Google reviews is much easier if you have a small company and there are fewer customers that make managing reviews easier. It is still recommend that you hire a professional web marketing company to help you. If you have several negative reviews, you’ll need someone to clean up your reputation through reputation management services. If everything is handled correctly, you’ll be able to reap rich rewards from Google Reviews. If you have any questions about Google reviews and its advantages, feel free to get in touch with us.
What are your thoughts? Have any experiences you would like to share with local reviews? Tell us in the comments below!
PixelPoynt is a Chapel Hill, NC-based digital and online marketing agency that has been in the business of helping small business online for over 5 years. We offer a free analysis and consultation to any small business that is looking to expand their online efforts. Get in touch with us today and we’ll help bridge the gap between your business and the online world!