Yes, reviews do help your rankings on Google. More specifically, good reviews, though some negative reviews are ok….but we will get to it all in a bit.
What is Local SEO?
By now, we are sure you’ve heard the term Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and the crucial role it plays in getting your business found online.
But what about local SEO? While the word “local” may give it away, allow us to define it for you. Local SEO is optimizing your website for your specific area.
Brick-and-mortar locations (think restaurants, dentist offices, and med spas) and local service providers (i.e., plumbers, lawn companies, and exterminators) benefit significantly from focusing their SEO efforts in their local geographic areas.
What does local SEO include?
Local SEO goes a little bit deeper than content on your website. It also includes:
- Google Business Profile listing- confirms your company’s location appears in a local search on Google
- Managing your business’s ratings and reviews online
- Social media engagement that’s local-centric
What is Google Business Profile?
Google Business Profile, formally known as Google My Business, is THAT group. You know the one—the one you HAVE to be a part of. So what’s the hype?
When describing what Google Business Profile is, we think Google says it best: “an easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps.”
Your Google Business Profile allows you to connect with your customers, post updates, list products and services, take online orders, and so much more.
Do you need it? YES!
Why are Google reviews important?
Google reviews, how we love thee. Let us count the ways.
But before we do, let’s throw out some stats so you can see just how serious reviews are to consumers:
- 93% of people report that they read reviews of local businesses before deciding whether to become a customer or not
- 95% read online reviews before deciding on a purchase
- 79% say they trust the reviews they read online as much as personal recommendations
Increase your business’s credibility and brand trust
Transparency is key for most consumers. The more open and honest your reviews are, the more clarity you can provide your potential clients/customers.
As a result, when people search for a business like yours, this transparency will build trust in your company. Plus, you’ll create a competitive advantage over the other guy.
Boost online exposure & local SEO
Call us dramatic, but Google’s algorithms can be, well, challenging. We said what we said. There is one thing we can say confidently, though: Google reviews influence Google’s local search.
How? When a customer leaves a review, Google gets really excited and thinks, “Hey, this business is an expert in their industry AND trustworthy. Let’s give them a bump up!”
Customer reviews help you make improvements
No business is perfect. There will always be something you can do better. Feedback from your clients can help you identify those pain points and correct them.
That may take a push or two from you to encourage them to leave a review on Google — good, bad, or ugly.
Grow click-through rates to your website
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s so, so, so, so, very important to have users click on your link when it pops up on a search engine.
You can throw your whole marketing budget into SEO, but it doesn’t matter if no one is visiting your site at the end of the day.
But guess what? Google reviews can help increase that click-through rate. Your review rating will appear next to your website when you appear in a search engine. With a good amount of positive reviews and ratings, clicks will follow.
More click-throughs = more customers
Google reviews can push more people to your site. And they obviously need something when they get there, right? With a user-friendly site, powerful content, AND a display of your Google reviews, we can see all the new customers from here.
How to get reviews?
“Wow, Firon Marketing. I see your point. Google reviews are a must if I want to up my ranking. Only one problem- how do I get these reviews?”
We’re glad you asked! Here are some tried and true tips on getting reviews and using them to help your rankings. (Yes, even the bad ones.)
Create a review link through your Google Business Profile
Share this link everywhere you connect with customers, like emails, text messages, social media posts, and receipts. (It’s best practice not to offer incentives or rewards to customers to entice them to leave reviews.)
Under no circumstance should you ever “buy” reviews
Nope. No. Negative. Never. Ever. Google is sophisticated — it can spot a fake review (usually) a mile away. Nothing good can come from that. And if you are thinking about creating another Google profile to leave a review for yourself — don’t do that either.
Report fake reviews
On the flip side, there are stories of competitors, disgruntled employees, and bored spammers with nothing else to do, leaving fake negative reviews. If you feel like that has happened to you, you can report it to Google.
Don’t report a review just because you disagree with it
Remember we said no business is perfect? Even the most prominent companies get negative reviews. (We’re looking at you, Amazon, and Target) You can’t make everyone happy; you aren’t a taco. Instead, embrace it and use the review as a way to improve.
Respond to negative reviews
What did we just say? Yes, you should respond to the bad reviews. Responding shows current and potential customers that you care, take ownership and are attentive.
Why should you care? Remember that thing about transparency? Add that with the above, and it can lead to a boost in business.
Make sure your Google Business Profile is verified
The only way to have your business info show up on Google’s services, like maps and search, is to be verified. You must also have a verified business to respond to reviews.
Our quick summarization of Google reviews and their effect on your rankings: Yes, they impact your SEO. So encourage your customers to leave reviews. Highlight the positive ones on your website and social media. And turn the negative ones into a way to build trust in your brand.
Here at Firon Marketing, we specialize in defining brand strategy and identity, website development, and digital marketing solutions. We help businesses of all sizes build a solid online presence that gets results. See how we can help with your next project.