Google users appreciate and trust reviews and ratings next to company names. Just consider, if you are presented with a “Local Pack” (see main image example). If one business has a five star rating and the others show a two or three star ratings; it is easy to see which business is going to attract the most clicks. Managing Google reviews for your business, product or service can have a positive impact on direct enquiries and traffic to your web pages. This recent survey of 1000 consumers shows how important these reviews are:
- 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, with 52% of 18-54-year-olds saying they ‘always’ read reviews
- The average consumer reads 10 reviews before feeling able to trust a business
- Only 53% of people would consider using a business with less than 4 stars
The Local Consumer Review Survey 2019
Remember that when these listings appear on a mobile device the click is often a direct call to your business rather than a visit to your web pages.
Managing Your Google Reviews
The first step to managing your reviews and connecting with this goodwill is to connect with Google Business. Here you can claim your business and control how your details appear on the search engine. All you need to get started is to have a gmail account along with a verification process via phone or email. As a business owner or account manager, you will have the ability to respond to Google reviews and actually engage with your customers. You can either respond to Google reviews via your desktop, phone or through your Google Business account.
For positive reviews you can thank them for the positive feedback and for taking the time to post the review. (Don’t be worried by any bad reviews take them as an opportunity to improve your brand and customer service. Responding publicly to bad reviews shows your customers and potential customers that you care and are attentive.)
Getting More Reviews
Reviews do have a positive impact so it is worthwhile taking some time to encourage more of them. One of the best ways is to invite customers and clients to leave reviews. Let them know that it’s quick and easy to leave business reviews via their mobile or desktop. You can find a direct URL link to your Google Business reviews section that you can email to customers encouraging their contribution. If you collect customer details then email them directly, if not try including the link in standard documents that customers regularly receive. You can include a request in printed material too.
Not asking, will not generate any extra reviews. If you do ask for reviews you will get some. Consider you business processes to see when you can best make a request.
All businesses will have customers and they will all have different opinions. Increasingly people will share their views online. This will include the good, the bad, and sometimes the ugly. Do not neglect a negative review.
97% of review readers take in company responses to reviews. Responding to reviews is your chance to demonstrate what your business and customer service are really like. If you respond promptly, politely, and helpfully to less-than-glowing reviews, you have the opportunity to influence far more than the person who left the original review.
Encouraging customer reviews will ensure that the positive comments outweigh any negative remarks.
Reviews Can Boost SEO
Reviews can play a big part with click through rates, especially if you’re generating glowing reviews regularly. Click through rate is a SEO success factor. That is to say lots of clicks to your page will boost its position in the search rankings.
While there are a lot of factors involved in search rankings, online customer reviews can be a strong signal to search engines that communicates trustworthiness and authority. Therefore if a high percentage of searchers choose your site from the results, Google can see your attractiveness and will reward your site with a better rank.
Within local SEO, related or matching search terms can be highlighted in featured reviews indicating that the reviews themselves are making contribution to your companies quota of screen space on the results page.