User Reviews and Local SEO
Word of mouth advertising is one of the most effective and least costly ways for a business to reach potential customers. When someone is looking to buy a product or service, it’s helpful to know what kind of experience others have had when dealing with a company. In this tech-savvy world, user reviews are today’s version of ‘word of mouth’ advertising, except with a much larger footprint.
The Power of User Reviews
Our increasing dependence on the Internet has made it possible to purchase everything from pizzas to big machines with a simple click of the mouse. However, making that final decision can be difficult for a user when it comes to new or untested brands. In those situations, user reviews play a crucial role in making the potential buyer confident about a product because they can learn from others who have first-hand experience with the same product.
Highly rated, recommended and positively reviewed products make it easier for potential customers to buy goods and services, especially from unknown or new businesses. Good ratings can invoke a feeling of confidence in potential buyers, even making them willing to pay a premium price for a positively reviewed over lower priced products with negative reviews.
How can user reviews help your business?
Build a positive online reputation: Online reviews are one of the most credible ways to build the reputation of any business. They provide credibility to the product or service being offered and instill confidence in the mind of the prospective consumer. They also help in establishing any business as a reliable brand by supplying the view point of other people who have used the product or service.
Increase buyer conversion rates: Reviews play a very important part in purchasing decisions and conversion rates, as customers generally read them just before making a purchase. Seeing positive reviews during that crucial period can mean an instant conversion from prospect to buyer, while negative reviews can crush the opportunity. In fact, a recent consumer review survey conducted by BrightLocal revealed that 88 percent of users read reviews to determine the quality of a local business.
Improve local SEO: Reviews are considered a very strong factor for local SEO rankings. According to MOZ, an online marketing software company, online reviews are thought to make up 10% of how Google and other search engines decide to rank search results. Businesses with positive reviews get a higher ranking in search results, meaning potential customers find those companies first.
How can you attract more reviews?
Request customers reviews by email: These days, most businesses gather basic contact information from customers for marketing purposes. Put those email addresses to good use by asking for product or service reviews through email. It not only gets reviews, but it also puts your product or service top of mind for past customers. If those customers had a positive experience, this can help generate referrals.
Use social channels: Social platforms like Facebook and Twitter can also be great places to ask for reviews and great places to geo-target new customers. Local users are generally connected to one another, helping create online word of mouth for your business and giving a nice boost to local SEO.
Create better review landing pages on your website: Make it easier for users to provide reviews right on your site by creating a better landing page. Keep the process simple, interesting and rewarding for users to increase the odds that they actually complete the review. It’s important to understand that bad reviews are typically more detailed, as users see these as a way to get even for poor service or faulty products. Positive reviewers typically won’t complete the review if the process is cumbersome or boring, so it’s a good idea to provide helpful and easily navigable landing pages for submitting reviews.
Take criticism positively: Whenever you receive a negative review, always take it in a positive direction and look for ways you can improve your product or service. Trying to address the reviewer’s complaint is a step in the right direction to converting a negative review into a positive one. This not only builds confidence for potential customers, but also helps your local SEO campaign.
Create and distribute review instruction handouts: Create handouts for customers that provide clear-cut instructions on how they can leave a review on Google and other search engines. Consider creating print materials for all of the different sites where customers can review your company.
Link to your review profiles on your website: Showing that others have reviewed your product or service encourages other customers to do the same. By showcasing the reviews you already have, you’re also creating a helpful platform for potential buyers.
Conduct satisfaction surveys: Conducting polls & surveys about customer experiences is also a great way to collect positive reviews. This also gives you a chance to interact with customers and gather first-hand feedback about your website, products and service so that you can make upgrades and improvements.