Being a marketer, you know that your reputation is an invaluable asset—what people say about your business online and offline matters a lot. Business owners must monitor online reviews from their customers. It may seem to be an irrational job, but online reviews play a significant role in improving your local listings on SERP.
Online reviews are like a small piece of a bigger picture, helping businesses create an impeccable online presence. Most importantly, the new customers rely on review websites while deciding what products or services to buy. Around 93% of customers have agreed that their buying decisions are influenced by the online reviews they read.
This is the reason why online reviews are really important. Any business, whether online or offline, should have online reviews to boost the local SEO. If your business is listed at the top on SERP, you will get more views, ultimately attracting more customers. But how will this happen? Here is when online reviews have an impact on local SEO.
Before we move further, it is imperative for you to understand what local SEO is.
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So, what is Local SEO?
Local SEO is one of the best strategies a business can adapt to increase its local online presence. It helps a business promote its services and products to local customers looking for them. It involves a lot of tactics (online reviews being the most effective one) to get your business listed on top of SERP and business directories.
But, you will be overwhelmed by the fact that most businesses are still not aware of Local SEO and its benefits. This lack of awareness is affecting them without their knowledge and giving an edge to their competitors who are using the local SEO services offered by an SEO & digital marketing agency. Though a few businesses have started realizing the importance of local SEO, a few are still yet to come into the frame.
Millions of customers do local searches every day to find the best local businesses in their locality. You can increase your visibility and get found by these potential customers if you work with a reliable local SEO company capable of delivering great results. If you have an in-house SEO team, it’s an added benefit.
How do customers use online reviews before coming to a decision?
Before we get insights on how online reviews impact the customers’ decision to buy a service/product, it is important to learn where exactly these reviews fit in the purchasing cycle for desired services and products.
When someone looks at a review website, that person has already figured out what exactly he/she will need and how a business will fulfill that need. The critical thing to note here is that there is a mental gap between reading a review and making a decision to buy a product/service – and most customers come to a decision almost immediately.
So, an online reputation is an important asset for a small business that can influence its bottom line. But the question is – how many customers actually read through the reviews? According to a recent survey, 84% of the shoppers agreed that they buy a product trusting online reviews rather than going with a personal recommendation from family or friends.
But exactly how many of them read the online reviews before making up their minds? The survey reported that about 68% of customers would read at least four or more reviews before they can trust a business completely.
One can clearly figure out how online reviews impact a customer’s decision of choosing a product or service. This is the reason why businesses in most countries hire local search engine marketing companies to look after their online reputation and local SEO.
Why do online reviews matter for Local SEO?
Most SEO Experts and internet marketers like Neil Patel, Amit Agarwal, etc., have agreed that online reviews can significantly boost the local SEO of a business. It can help a business improve rankings on search engines, boost user engagement rates, and impact the consumer’s purchasing decision.
This makes online reviews critical to the local SEO strategy adopted by you. The citations and on-site optimization will work effectively together with online reviews. Moreover, these reviews can help in improving brand awareness and reputation.
The review websites provide the most accurate information to the users and help them predict or make decisions on their purchases. So, your listing needs to be on top of these review websites. You need to attract more consumers and compel them to submit reviews either on Google Business Listing or on review websites like Yelp.
Once you have enough reviews and the customers have started making their decisions on those reviews, you will get the rank boost. Your listing will automatically be served on the top. The more reviews you get, the more edge you get over your competitors. But ensure that your customers should submit the reviews on multiple review websites so that you can rule the search engine results page.
This will significantly help you improve sales and direct more visitors to your website, ultimately giving you a rank boost on search engines.
Important insights that will blow your mind
- The top 3 listings in Google’s local search results have 472% more reviews than the listings on 4-6. So, you need to be on one out of the top 3 listings.
- The top 3 Google Local Search Results have a higher number of Google reviews, nearly twice the number of reviews the next 3 results have.
- Google’s local 3-pack contains the listing with most reviews at least 63% of the time.
- A listing in the top 3 Google local results has an average of 7.62 reviews as compared to 1.61 reviews in listings at the 4-6 position.
Not only positive but negative reviews also help your Business
Not only the positive reviews, but even the negative reviews also help you in getting better rankings on search engines. According to Moz’s Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, online reviews make up around 10% of how search engines like Google decide to rank your website on search results.
Launching a new product or service takes a lot of time and hard work. Imagine a situation when you start getting too many negative reviews about your product instead of praises. You will be de-motivated and think about its impact on SEO.
Will these negative reviews suck all your life and money invested in the development of a product or service? No, this will certainly not happen unless you have a poor search engine marketing strategy for promoting your product/service. One or two negative online reviews don’t have the power to torpedo your Business.
Instead, you should be happy when you start getting negative reviews with some positive feedback from your customers. We all want to see positive reviews; the bad ones are not as bad as you think. These negative reviews are equally important, as are the positive reviews for your Business.
When people do a search for a local business, search engines like Google return several results showing the local stars business has. Google even shows the reviews each Business has got. Of course, no one understands exactly how much reviews help in Search Engine Optimization. The diverse array of opinions with a few negative reviews helps the search engines verify a business’s legitimacy.
A Harvard Business School study revealed that consumers don’t actually read all the reviews about a business. If a business has 100 reviews or says just 20 reviews, there would be hardly anyone who will go through the last review. Consumers just want to see if a business has an engaged following before coming to a decision.
1. Negative Reviews Don’t Hurt SEO
The people behind the search engines like Google understand that no one is perfect. According to Google’s Internal SEO Guidelines, website reviewers must keep in mind that even some of the best websites on the internet have bad reviews. The negative reviews shouldn’t be ignored, but you can stay assured that a few of them will not spoil your brand reputation.
2. Increases your Credibility
If the consumers see only positive reviews, they tend to get suspicious. Even the Journal of Vacation Marketing found that consumers tend to think a negative review has more credibility than a positive one. Consumers like to see a mix of good, bad, and moderate reviews to identify the credibility of a business. This also helps you in improving the SEO of your Business in the long run, as consumers tend to spend more time reading your reviews.
3. Gives you an Opportunity to Build Relationships with your Customers
Of course, you will respond to the negative reviews of your customers. This gives you a chance to build long-term relationships with your customers. Moreover, you get to know the shortcomings of your product/service and can work on its improvement.
What if you are getting too many Negative reviews?
Are you getting too many negative reviews? This means that your product/service sucks. But if you have an awesome product and still there are too many negative reviews about your product, there is something fishy. Either your competitors are spoiling your brand reputation or a few customers who might not be happy with your product/services.
Here is when Online Reputation Management (ORM) comes into the picture. Most businesses are concerned about their online reputation. This is why they hire digital marketing agencies to look after their ORM.
Businesses can make their self-take efforts to get more and more reviews from their happy customers either by sending survey forms or by asking them to do so on their Google Listing page. If there are too many negative reviews about your Business, you are definitely losing too many customers. ORM will help you retain your customers and attract new customers to your Business.
Is your Business getting enough reviews?
Reviews are really important for a business and help it to boost sales, develop trust & credibility, and enhance overall SEO. You should work on getting more online reviews for your Business. Hiring SEO services from a reputed SEO & digital marketing company can help you boost the local SEO and get more reviews for your product/service.