You might’ve asked yourself why are reviews important? Well, about 90 percent of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. Believe it or not, online reviews influence more than just the customers coming through your door.
Customer reviews impact your local SEO. Not sure what we’re talking about? Local SEO is how you optimize your website for ranking on local searches.
If your business depends on local customers, implementing the right local SEO strategies is a must to grow your business. Are you keeping tabs on your online reviews? If not, you should get on it as fast as you can.
Still, don’t believe customer reviews are important? We’ll tell you why you should care about your reviews and what you must do to use them to improve your search engine ranking. Read on to learn how five out of five stars can get your website on that coveted number 1 spot in your local SERPs.
Why Are Reviews Important?
For most business and site owners, reviews are a way to secure new customers. But, your customer reviews bring more to the table.
SEO ranking analytics involves more than keywords. It might be the first time you have heard that consumer reviews impact your SERP ranking.
But, they are vital for your local SEO plan. Even if your customers won’t visit your offices, you must optimize your website for your audience’s geographical area. When a potential customer conducts a local search, business reviews appear at the top of their results.
Search engines rank these businesses according to the stars and number of reviews earned by their customers. If your business has zero stars or reviews, you might not even show up in the SERP.
Also, customer reviews are important because they provide social proof to your business or product. Experts found that 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as a word of mouth recommendation.
An example is a customer that is searching for the best plumbing service in their area. If Joe the Plumber earns 100 positive reviews raving about his prompt and great service, the customer might choose him over Sean’s Fast Plumbing Service that hasn’t been reviewed by any of his customers.
Business reviews encourage purchases and B2C communication. Many businesses think that claiming their Yelp, Google My Business and other review site profiles are enough. But, you must use these accounts to engage with your audience.
Don’t shy from engaging with customers that leave negative reviews. Not sure how to handle negative reviews? Check out this article for more info.
Which Review Sources Are a Must for Local SEO
You might be thinking, “But how can you keep up with all the review sites available?”. There’s no doubt that it might be challenging. Yet, you should prioritize on the review sites that are most important for local optimization.
It will depend on the type of business you are running. For all businesses, claiming their Google My Business is a must for local traffic optimization. If you are a restaurant or hotel owner, TripAdvisor is vital for your local SEO.
This type of optimization isn’t any different from other SEO strategies. You must focus on where your audience gets their information.
Is it from social media? Are they active on Yelp or Foursquare?
These are some questions that can guide you in defining your optimization strategy.
What Essential Tweaks Must You Apply on Your Review Source Optimization?
Defining your strategy is half the game. Besides claiming your review site profiles, you must apply the right SEO tweaks to your business information. The first business profile you must claim is Google My Business.
Optimizing your profile is easier than you may think. Start with the basics, such as adding a keyword rich description of your business. Don’t go overboard using too many keywords.
Focus on describing your business in a customer friendly manner so they understand the services or products you offer. Don’t forget to add your working hours, address, telephone, and website. Google will display your star rating once you earn 5 customer reviews.
Some experts recommend you focus on other review profiles once you earn 10 customer reviews on Google. It’s important to pay attention to other review sources because they serve as backups for your Google reviews. Also, their information will send signals to search engines about the relevance of your business improving your online visibility and ranking.
You can apply these simple tweaks to any other review source. But, don’t forget to focus on the sources your audience visits.
How to Get the Reviews You Need Today
Customers say they won’t engage with businesses rated less than 3.3 stars. But, how can you get those star ratings to boost your SERP ranking? Some businesses believe that waiting for customers to review their services is the best approach.
Instead, you should take charge and compel your customer to leave a raving review. Providing a great customer experience is one of the easiest and best ways to build your business reputation. If your customer is happy with their purchase and service, they won’t hesitate in leaving a positive review.
Asking your customers for reviews when they make a purchase or visit your locations is a great strategy. Some businesses ask for a review of their experience on their receipt or by sending a reminder email to follow up.
Also, you could request reviews on your social media accounts from time to time. Other effective strategies are showing your customers how to leave a review and setting up your review page.
Sometimes customers don’t leave reviews because they don’t know what site to visit or how to leave it. These strategies will help you secure reviews from your less tech-savvy customers.
At the end of the day, your customer reviews influence your business growth more than you may think. Now that you know why are reviews important, you must add your review source strategy to your local SEO plan.
Don’t try to do it all at the same time. The key to using consumer reviews to improve your local SERP rankings is focusing on your audience and their sources. Remember to start with the basics and engage with your audience all the time.
Not sure if it’s time to optimize your website for local traffic? Check out our article to learn if you should hire professional help to improve your local SEO today.