Have you ever wondered how important online reviews are for your small business? Do you think they make a ranking factor for local search results? Well, absolutely. Good reviews certainly help you rise to the top just as bad reviews instantaneously create the first impression for your business. Search engines not only listen to what you say about yourself but they also pay a close attention to what other people are talking about you. There are plenty of folks in Googleland who will tell you this.
When it comes to managing your online reputation, reviews can be considered as a powerful tool that is both helpful or harmful for a business. These reviews are the feedbacks of your customers about your services and whatever they say in their reviews have a direct impact on your reputation, your income and even on your search engine rankings. Even the statistics show that more than 90% of buying decisions are influenced by these online reviews. So this means if you are getting only negative reviews then you are losing on over 90 per cent of your potential online business.
Reviews have become a massive part of a web. There is no surprise in the fact that the best organic listings in Google are taken by businesses with good reviews. Look at the screenshot below for the best restaurants in London.
After this, the next organic results are mainly from online review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Time and so on. It’s surprising that only a couple of actual restaurant sites can make it onto the first SERP. While this is not universal for every search result but the trend is pretty monotonous. In fact, the Google My Business listings of a business are so dominant that users look no further than this. Hence in a nutshell, to get a prominent position in the local SERPs, you need good user reviews.
People need reassurance for their actions and these reviews provide them with that confirmation. They work like a social proof for your business. That’s the reason when people see a 4-star rating on a product, they immediately make their purchase decision. For local searches also, when they see an average score of 4.5 from 450 reviews, then it seems like a safe choice for them to go. So the bottom line is that reviews are the most trusted assets of your business used by most of the web users, that’s why they are important.
Now when you understand the importance of reviews let’s find out how you can get more reviews to help your SEO efforts and online reputation:
Provide an adequate customer experience
If your business is providing quality services and products but doesn’t care about its customers then there is no way you’re getting positive reviews. Rather, your online profile might get loaded with lots of negative reviews. And you can’t fake them. So if you want positive feedbacks, concentrate on providing the best possible customer experience. Customers feel compelled to leave a feedback when they either had a great or terrible experience while doing business with you. So make sure you deliver the former.
Optimize your business profile on online review submission sites:
Yes, there are a number of such sites that are solely meant for gathering customer reviews for businesses like Yelp, Google My Business, Glassdoor, Sitejabber and many others. But it is important to think about which review submission sites are best suitable for your business. For example, if Amazon or eBay is your main business source then an external review site won’t be a big help than the impact of your ratings on these sites itself.
To find out the suitable sites for your business, just search for it on Google by typing the name of your industry followed by “reviews”. This will give you a good list of which sites you want to target. Repeat this process on multiple search engines and pick the most suitable sites for your business to make a profile upon.
Ask your customers when they’re in business:
Don’t be shy here. One of best ways to get reviews is most of the time to ask for them. Create a physical or digital handout requesting your customers to leave their feedbacks. This can be an effective way to increase the number of reviews for your business. You can also use your social media marketing efforts to ask your loyal customers for reviews. Email is also a good way to approach them.
Be responsive to negative reviews:
Take your negative reviews as criticism and execute a more understanding approach to handle this. Respond to this criticism in a reasonable way, understand the issue and try to resolve it if possible. This will definitely leave a positive impression and tell your potential customers that you care about their experience. This way you can make your negative reviews into positive customer experiences.
At last, don’t expect an overnight success. If you receive a good number of reviews in a month that means you are doing great, just make sure they are more likely to be positive. A constant flow of incoming reviews is good because it is real. If lods of reviews appear in one day then surely there is something spammy.