Business reviews have always been worthwhile, but with the growth of the Internet, they are more important now than ever before. They provide great testimonials to help in marketing your business, give you good feedback about your business and improve search engine visibility. No place is this more true than on Google, where these reviews are shown to anyone who does a search for a business like yours.
The importance of acquiring honest reviews of your business online cannot be understated. Many people will read the reviews of a business before they decide to do business with them, so the more reviews you have, the better. Studies have actually found that 88 percent of consumers read reviews before making a purchase, so you can see that if you don’t have any reviews, you could be on the losing end.
Some businesses fear getting a bad review online, thinking it can damage their business. However, a single bad review is not really damaging. In fact, if you actively reply to any bad reviews you get and try to resolve their issues, it can actually help your reputation. So, you have nothing to lose.
One of the most important things you can do for SEO purposes is to list your company with Google Places. This is the local Google search engine, and listing it here also adds you to Google Maps, which helps your company to come up in the top part of search results.
Google wants to deliver the best results for any search done, so when someone searches for a business like yours and in your area, it will offer up information about your business and others like it. Of course, Google will take into account the reputations of each of those businesses by taking a look at your customer ratings. Google prominently shows ratings and reviews, and more often, those with more reviews and higher ratings are the ones that will be clicked.
How to get Google reviews
You can obviously see that reviews will be to your benefit, but how do you get your customers to write reviews for you?
Great customer service is one key to getting lots of positive reviews, as is having a great product, naturally. Customers that are thrilled with your products or your service are likely to leave good reviews and ratings for your business.
To solicit more reviews, actively encourage people to leave them for you instead of waiting. You might get started by asking family and friends to write a review for your business. Next, ask your existing customers to review the company online, and ask new customers when they make their first purchase from you. Ask customers often for reviews.
Make it easy for customers to leave reviews by including links on your website and social media pages to your Google Places listing. Integrate your review link with your email marketing, put a reminder on any snail-mailed billing statements, and remind them over the phone how important it is to your company.
Never pay for reviews, not even by offering something in exchange for reviews. That will cause you problems with Google, as it’s totally against their terms of service.
Reviews are critical ranking signals for local SEO, and online Google reviews are likely the most important way to promote trust in your brand. Make sure that you keep reviews a priority, and always ask your customers to take a moment and let people know about their experience with your brand. Get started with a free trial of our many services to optimize your site to bring the most new customers right to you.