According to Bright Local, if your business has positive online reviews, users are 17% less likely to visit your website.
Well, if you think about it – kind of makes sense, right? People are putting so much stock in how well your organization is rated on Google, Yelp, and Facebook, that if they notice a 4.6-star rating (out of 5), they think, “Good enough for me. I’ll _____.”
A. Call this business right now
B. Go visit the nearest store location
C. Buy this product online
Getting Positive Reviews on Google
Whether you’re a national organization with a presence in many states, or a local business, online reviews are a major factor in your prospects’ buying decisions — and sometimes, it’s the only factor. Your star rating can even display in the organic search results:
We’ve also started to see how the digital footprint of your reviews is blending with real-world recommendations from your network. 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family, according to a Bright Local study.
1. Actively Promote that you’re seeking Google Reviews
All things being equal, most searchers and consumers are looking for at least a 4.0-star score before they’ll consider a business. If you’re below this threshold, you have some work to do. Here are a few ideas to raise your score and the overall number of reviews.
Whether it’s through office signage, handouts, text messages, e-mail campaigns, or the header of your website — give your audience ample opportunities, links, and reminders that you have a presence on Google, and that their review means a lot to you.
You can make the process of writing a Google review more seamless for your customers by setting up a Google Review “quicklink”. Visit https://vert.ms/google-review-setup and follow the instructions.
Once you complete the three- or five-step process on this Google page (should take 3 minutes or less), you’ll have created a unique link for your business, that, when entered, will display a pop-up window allowing users to immediately start writing their Google review of your company. Pretty handy.
You may want to consider:
1. That obsolete Google Plus icon you have in the footer of your website, next to your Facebook and LinkedIn icons? Replace it with a Google icon that goes straight to your new Google Review quick link.
2. Reach out to folks who have written positive reviews about you on Yelp, Amazon, TripAdvisor, or Facebook, and ask them to post a similar review on Google. Wait, you can do that? Yes…
2. Ask your Customers to write a review
It’s been a misnomer for many years — we’re looking at you, Yelp — that businesses cannot ask their clients to write reviews. Not true; asking does not violate their terms of service. What you can’t do is offer to compensate people in any way for writing a review about you. Don’t do that!
According to Search Engine Land, 71% of customers will leave a review when asked. Earning more online reviews can be critical for your business, so don’t be shy about this.
Communicating with your customers directly (in person) or indirectly (via a 1:1 email from your CEO or a customer service rep) can drastically increase your chances of earning more reviews online.
3. Pay attention to negative reviews
Use these as a teaching opportunity for your employees. Audit all of your online reviews — especially those in Google — and see what themes, if any, exist. Share results and findings with your teams.
If you start to address common complaints from your reviews (i.e. you poorly set expectations for your product, there were hidden fees, or the wait time was excessive), you will likely improve future reviews of your business.
Research also shows that by not only listening to negative reviews, but actually responding to them consistently, you can increase your star rating. Again, the more you interact with your customers — in this case, responding to their reviews — you show that your brand cares and wants to make it right. This encourages reviews from future customers.
How Google Reviews Impact Your Search Performance
Among the 200+ ranking factors in Google’s search engine algorithm, about 13% of the total weight comes from online reviews. So, while you may have a 5-star rating in Facebook, if you’re at 3.5 in Google, that’s going to hurt your chances to perform well in the search engine. This is because Google, as part of its algorithm, is only considering reviews written on its own platform.
In addition to signaling that you’re a trusted brand, positive reviews can also help you get listed in Google’s coveted local 3-pack, which is influenced by:
- Proximity of the searcher to your business listing’s address
- Your business’ overall rating (out of 5 stars)
- Quantity of reviews
- Frequency of reviews
Because Google is the most common starting point for people when they begin their online research for a product or service, Google reviews may be one of the very first things that your prospects use to judge your organization. Be sure to leave them with a good impression.
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