Online reviews continue to grow in importance as a local ranking factor on Google and other search engines. Reviews, positive and negative, also greatly influence if customers engage with your business. We’ll explore in this post how online reviews help improve local search rankings and increase customer interaction.
The first challenge is getting found online by your target market for your important keywords. A solid local search engine optimization (SEO) strategy along with a reputation management solution is the one-two punch that will help propel your organization to the top of local search results.
“A solid local search engine optimization (SEO) strategy along with a reputation management solution is the one-two punch that will help propel your organization to the top of local search.”
How Reviews Boost Local Search Rankings
Google takes into account numerous factors when ranking local search results. These factors include on-page content and keywords, backlinks, local directory listings, Google My Business listings, social media signals and lastly, business reputation and review signals. Getting ranked in the coveted “three-pack” on Google Maps on the first page of results for your target keywords is a game-changer for most local businesses. Since the top three results on Google get 75.1% of the clicks, achieving this position on the search engine results page should be the goal of every local business serious about succeeding online.
What Google Says About Reviews and Local Rankings
Businesses that rank on the first page of results in the coveted Google three-pack have several characteristics in common. They have a content-rich, mobile-responsive and search engine optimized website, a comprehensive and accurate local directory footprint, an optimized Google My Business listing and a steady stream of positive online reviews. Google recently stated that among the many factors they use to rank a local business, “…review count and review score factor into local search ranking. More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business’ local ranking.” In essence, having a review generation system and reputation management strategy is an important element of improving your business’s rank on local search.
Reviews Greatly Affect Consumer Behavior
Reviews not only affect your rank on local search, they also greatly influence consumer behavior. Having numerous positive reviews improves your brand’s credibility in the eyes of consumers who place a lot of trust in the opinions of strangers when making decisions on what businesses they will engage with online. Inc. Magazine reported that a whopping 91% of searchers read online reviews before making a purchasing decision.
In contrast, low ratings can be disastrous. According to Search Engine Land, if a company has a low review rating, 87% of consumers will not consider doing business with them.
“Consumers place a lot of trust in the opinions of strangers when making decisions on what businesses they will engage with .”
Reviews Are an Essential Feedback Mechanism
Beyond search rankings and brand building, reviews also act as an excellent feedback mechanism. Identifying reasons for customer dissatisfaction can help improve specific areas of their business related to products, services, communications, customer service and more. In addition, how your business responds to negative reviews can enhance your credibility when complaints are addressed professionally.
Your Business Needs a Review Generation and Reputation Management Plan to be Most Effective
A steady stream of positive reviews is essential to growing your business in the digital age. To improve your local search results and attract more customers, ongoing review generation and reputation management is a necessity. Bleevit Interactive offers reputation management solutions with automated review requests, review aggregators that collect review responses, review response efforts and review marketing. To discover more about how the power of positive reviews can help grow your business, contact us today!
Rick Hogan, CEO & Co-Founder – Bleevit Interactive Rick possesses over 20 years of digital marketing experience and started Bleevit Interactive with the primary mission of helping local businesses succeed online. When he is not working he can often be found hiking Great Falls, Virginia with his Labradoodle Lily, or sailing the Chesapeake Bay.
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