It’s no secret that online reviews help improve SEO ranking.
On top of that, positive online reviews can increase conversion rates by as high as 270%.
With 90% of consumers reading online reviews before visiting a business, it’s never been more important for businesses today to have an online reviews strategy.
Below we highlight why online reviews are important and helpful tips that’ll take you from online reviews zero to hero.
Let’s get into it.
Why Are Online Reviews Important For Your Business
Most customers are social creatures.
They need validation from their peer group and the general public.
So when they don’t know what to buy, they go online and look for social proof and consult with an online community for social validation.
And online reviews play a big role in today’s digital world.
It’s commonplace to read and write one.
According to Search Engine Land, 70% of customers will fill out a review when asked.
Yet, there are a lot of business owners today who are hesitant to ask for reviews.
Search Engines Love Online Reviews
The more customer reviews your company gets, the more Google loves you.
Search engines show users the most relevant and most credible content for each search query.
If a company is receiving a lot of love online, then you are more likely to show up on page one.
One of Google’s many algorithms is fresh content.
It often ranks websites by how relevant and up-to-date they are.
Google reviews also show users that your business is still in business and fresh and available and up-to-date.
While encouraging customers to leave a review, another great way to keep your website fresh is to update pages or blog regularly.
Online Reviews Gets You On The Local Pack
Google’s Local Pack are the businesses that show up under Google Ads.
Google will generally show the top 3 local businesses for each query.
It features contact information and their ratings.
For example, if you searched for a local service or product in a particular region like, “cafe near me” or in this particular case, “growth marketing toronto”, Google will show you the top 3 businesses in their Local Pack.
In today’s world, customers have more options than ever before.
So when they visit a store they generally have already done some homework online.
This is where online reviews help your business drive more foot traffic and convert more leads.
When your business has online reviews from real customers, it shows that your business is legitimate and has been validated and trusted by previous customers.
Online Review Tips And Tricks
1. Sign Up For A Google My Business Account
The first thing you want to do to increase your business reviews is to first make sure you can receive them in the first place.
For Google Reviews to be possible, your business needs to create a Google My Business account.
The process is simple.
Google even provides a guide to make sure any business owner – tech-savvy or not – can manage it.
Once your business account is verified, any customer that is looking for your business will find all the information they need. Like the following:
- What you offer
- Service options
- The address
- Opening hours
- Phone number
It’s also worth noting that the number of online reviews and your current star rating is shown directly under your business name in the search results.
2. Encourage Customer Reviews
Most customers are aware of online reviews and that they can review businesses online; be it through Google, or another platform like Yelp.
But most of the time, customers are not incentivized to write an online review or prompted to do so. Don’t feel ashamed to remind people that the option is there.
It’s important not to make people feel pressured into leaving a review, but, planting the idea can be all that it takes.
As they leave your store, or after they make an online purchase, you can say something as simple as, “thanks for your purchase, and if you’re happy with it, feel free to leave a Google Review.” See? Not complicated, not pushy, but can ultimately lead to more sales and a higher ranking.
The reality is, many people are going to look up your business with the sole intention of leaving an online review if they are not happy with their experience.
That’s the nature of the beast.
However, your aim should be to make sure the number of positive reviews is higher than the number of negative ones.
Don’t be discouraged by disgruntled customers.
Instead, use them as a learning opportunity to improve your products and services so you can prevent their issue from being one in the future.
You can also reply to negative reviews as well, share your side of the story and give readers context.
If you’ve been looking at your competition, frustrated at how they managed to achieve a perfect star rating across hundreds of reviews, then don’t be concerned.
According to research, a perfect score can actually decrease the trust of a business.
It sounds strange, but with the prevalence of fake reviews, having an average score of between 4.5 to 4.7 can make your business seem more trustworthy than one that achieves a perfect 5-star rating.
A Harvard Business Review study found that if business owners respond to a customer review (be it a positive or negative one), they can see a rating increase.
Remember, you can learn a lot from all reviews that customers leave, so engaging with them on a public platform can have more of a positive impact than you might think.
Be transparent about any mistakes you may have made, and, thank them for taking the time to leave the review.
Ask questions if the information is unclear, and offer a solution to their problem.
You can even humanize the response by putting your name at the bottom of it.
Responding promptly is also quite important, for it shows your customer that you respect the decision they made to come forward and value what they have said.
If you’re struggling to drum up reviews for your Google My Business account, try positioning or marketing to your audience that your business has a reviews page.
You don’t have to take out a full-page ad in the newspaper, but small, discrete links in emails and on your website can often be enough.
Remember, you’re not trying to drum up a positive review, but a review in general.
By providing a link for people to click, you’re making it easy for customers to leave an online review.