Customer reviews are now an important ranking factor for local search engine optimization (SEO). And, if you didn’t already know, local ranking is where you want to focus your efforts because that’s where you’ll be able to really make an impact and see results.
So, what does that really mean and why should you care?
It’s as simple as this: customer reviews add credibility. It is always more believable when someone else is talking about how great your company is than when you are. All consumers are looking for the same thing: quality products, an easy/secure purchasing process, and a positive (or at least NOT a negative) experience. With more options now available than ever before, consumers are in the driver’s seat and are calling all the shots.
So, as businesses, we better listen up.
Need further persuasion?
“88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations” (invesp, April 11th). And what’s more—“72% of consumers will take action only after reading a positive review” (invesp, April 11th).
I think you get the point.
Why Customer Reviews Matter
It’s important to understand that Google aims to deliver the best and most relevant results to its users. Consumers DEPEND on Google to find and choose businesses. That means that it is your job to help Google understand what your business does and also how credible your business is. Do people enjoy shopping with you? If not, they probably won’t want to recommend you first in a search result.
Having a significant number of reviews as well as reviews with high ratings can help your business to appear. And, bonus—Google Maps also showcases the businesses with the “highest rating” near you.
On the other side of things, businesses with low ratings are often filtered out, so that is why getting quality reviews is even more important than quantity—but the combination of the two is what you should be aiming for.
What If I Get Bad Reviews?
While having several bad reviews can be negative as mentioned above, a couple of them is not nearly as bad as you might think. It’s important to respond to all of your reviews, but having a professional/well-thought-out response to a negative review can actually increase your conversion rate. Why? A prompt and professional resolution demonstrates to potential customers that your business is on top of things. They will also gain a sense of trust, knowing that if anything goes wrong during their experience, you will likely go out of your way to assist them and make things better. Offering great customer service offline AND online is now pretty much mandatory.
How Do I Get Google Reviews?
You’ll want to create a strategy for asking both existing and new customers for a review following their purchase. You do need to act quickly because, at the end of the day, customers are lazy. The longer you wait to request a review, the less likely they are to give you one.
Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.
1. Use the power of social media.
Highlight your reviews on social media and ask your followers for reviews there as well.
2. Ask for reviews right on your website.
There’s no shame in asking! You don’t need to have a pop-up or be “in their face,” but you can (and should!) ask for reviews right on your website. Make sure to add a link that goes directly to the “reviews” section on your Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business)—making it as easy as possible is key to having them follow through and complete your request.
Here are some ideas of where you can add this request to your website:
- In the footer or header of your website
- On the “Contact Us” page
- On the “Cart” page if you have one (and you should have one…if not, contact us and let’s get you started with e-commerce right away)
- If you have a “login” page, that’d be a great place to put a request for a review as well
3. Send a follow-up email.
After someone has made a purchase with you, it is highly recommended that you follow up, thanking them for their purchase. You should use this email as another avenue to ask for a review. You will already be top of mind and if they’ve had a good experience, a quick, 2-minute review won’t bother them much. It’s truly the BEST and most effective time to reach out for this. Again, don’t forget to include a link directly to the review section of your Google Business Profile to make it as easy as possible for them to follow through.
4. Other quick & easy ideas:
- Ask your team to add a simple request and link in their email signatures.
- Ask your sales team to seek reviews! Make this part of their job. After all, a review is a valuable asset that will help them make sales (and therefore, lead to more money).
- Do an email campaign on this (or add it as a “featured section” in your current campaigns).
You should also take this opportunity to optimize your Google Business Profile listing. Here’s how you can do that:
- If you don’t have a listing—GO MAKE ONE!
- Make sure the listing is up-to-date (business hours, holiday closures, phone number, location, business description, etc.)
- Include relevant keywords & industry-specific keywords in the listing. You’ll need to do your homework here first. That means researching what these keywords are in your area and for your specific industry.
- Make sure your description is keyword-rich and written well.
We hope you found this information helpful and can use it as a jumping-off point. If it all sounds like a little much though—we’d be happy to help.
We have a marketing team that has done this before and knows this space well. Contact us and let’s talk about how we can boost your online presence.