Customer feedback is more important than ever – and not just in an indirect way. Customer reviews now directly affect how you are viewed within Google. As any small business person can tell you, a better position within Google local search means more revenue. If you are spending your hard earned time and money on local business listings, you owe it to your company to ensure those listings get all of the visibility they deserve.
Let’s take a look at how you can boost your Google listings with local business reviews.
The Direct Effect
The most obvious effect of positive local business reviews is to earn the trust of new prospects who run across your listing. 90% of potential customers read reviews before patronizing a company. Think of your own actions as a consumer – you are much more likely to follow through with a business that has 5 star reviews and positive feedback. This is a natural phenomenon, but it is far from the only benefit of Google customer reviews.
An Opportunity To Showcase Customer Service
Every review that a customer leaves on your Google listing is an opportunity for you to respond. When new prospects find your listing, not only will they see the positive responses, but they will also see that you are active and attentive. Great customer service is well rewarded in the modern business landscape, so respond to as many reviews as possible, both positive and negative.
Google is all about keywords. The more reviews that you have from customers, the more keywords your listing will naturally have. In this way, reviews serve the same purpose as blogs. Reviews are likely weighted more heavily by Google because of their authenticity. Additionally, if you can solicit reviews in a consistent manner, Google will view your listing as dynamic, which is always a good thing. Google tends to crawl listings that make significant changes constantly. The only way that a review listing can really change is by adding new reviews, so do not be afraid reach out for more.
The crown jewel in any online marketing strategy is a great response from Google SEO. The higher your listing appears in organic search, the more clickthroughs it will receive. Page one listings receive up to 90% of the clicks for any given keyword, with the number one listing gathering up to 60% of the clicks by itself.
Consumer reviews give the Google algorithm more material to work with in verifying the authenticity of your business and in organizing your business in the appropriate category. As customers leave reviews, Google will then connect your listing to the right category in the index, ensuring more qualified prospects reach your listing.
The Social Connection
Google also prioritizes the visibility of your business in social media, and reviews get the ball rolling there as well. Word of mouth happens on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and Google has a line on all of these platforms. The more reviews you have, the more connection you have to the social networks of the reviewers, who will also be exposed to the reviews outside of Google.
In short, the direct attention you receive from reviews will attract more people and attention from the Google search engine. As your listing grows, it gains trust within Google and improves in rank. As your rank improves, so does your visibility – which should translate to more business!