Customer reviews and Local SEO & how they can help your small business
Customer reviews are powerful. So much so, that researchers found around 63% of people will look up reviews on Google before considering a business, and 94% people say they have been convinced to avoid a business by online reviews.
No wonder customer reviews are so important for any business. They are probably even more crucial for small businesses since local businesses depend a lot on word-of-mouth for marketing their products and services.
But did you know that the reviews you get from your customers can also affect your local SEO rankings? In fact, it comes into the top three factors that influence your ranking on search engine pages. The reason is, apart from relevance to search keywords, search engines prioritise user experience above everything else. And, reviews are genuine proof of real customer experiences.
Hence, authentic and positive customer reviews work in two ways to help your local small business. They attract more customers to your business while also increasing your visibility through local SEO.
Now that you understand the importance of user reviews, this article will tell you how to garner more positive reviews and the factors about reviews that can affect your local SEO rankings.
How to Get More Reviews for Your Business?
- Ask for reviews from your customers – The simplest and the best way to get more reviews is to just ask. When your customers purchase something from you ask them to leave you a review. Especially if you have offered great customer service. By asking for reviews instantly, the chances of getting a positive one increases.
- Follow-up with your customers – Remember that your customers are purchasing from other businesses too and hence it is quite possible to slip their mind to write a review for your business. Follow-up with the customers after a few days. Don’t be pushy, instead, just ask them how they are enjoying their new purchase. It will help in creating a personal bond with the customer and they would be more likely to leave a positive review after this.
- Offer benefits – Leaving a review for your business doesn’t benefit the customers in any way. If anything, they will be spending precious time to write a review that only benefits you. Hence, to make people want to spend that time, you can offer some kinds of benefits. It can be a discount voucher for their next purchase which will be profitable for you in two ways: you will receive a review and you can be sure of a return purchase.
- Share the reviews on social media – Use your social media account to share the good reviews that you receive. Customers love it when they get special mentions and attention, so they will be more prone to leaving you a good review to get featured on your account. The feeling will be reinforced if you can share the pictures of the customers as well, of course with their permission. And, when new users see so many great reviews they will be inclined to make a purchase from you too.
- Have a dedicated page on your website for reviews – Having a dedicated place for reviews allows your customers to leave one when they find it most suitable. It also allows new users to directly find the reviews for your business when they visit your page or website. Always keep the page optimised in such a way so as to show the positive reviews on top.
- Have your business listed on review websites – Reviews work like backlinks when it comes to local SEO. The more reviews your business receives on various websites and platforms, the better rank you will have. So, list up your local business on as many review websites, such as local online directories, as possible. The first one on your list should be Google My Business.
Things to Know About Reviews and Local SEO
- Authenticity matters – Search engines take the authenticity of the reviewer into account when ranking websites based on their customer reviews. For instance, Google removes anonymous reviews and businesses with such reviews actually rank lower on Google.
- Content of the reviews – The content of the review is crucial for your website’s ranking too. Reviews that mention the keywords that relate to your business and your location are most helpful in getting you a higher ranking on search engines. But, since you cannot influence users to write such reviews, you have to deal with the situation in a different way, which is by answering FAQs on Google My Business with proper keywords. For example, when a user is looking for a restaurant and asks which one has parking, answering the question can improve your visibility.
- Engagement is important – Many small businesses make the mistake of not replying to their reviewers. This not only turns off people from leaving a review in future but affects your ranking as well. The more you engage with your customers, the better search engines will rank you. Reply to both positive and negative reviews. In fact, by replying to negative reviews and offering a solution you can change the customer’s opinion and they might be more inclined to change their mind and leave you a positive review in future. The more positive reviews you receive, the better are your chances of featuring on top of a search engine results page.
Hopefully, this article has helped you to understand the importance of positive customer reviews and its connection to local SEO. Utilise the information shared here to grow your small business.