Customer feedback is more powerful than ever before. Most businesses know that without enough (or any) online reviews, customers may choose to take their money elsewhere as they do not have a high enough level of trust in your business.
If your business is looking to generate more revenue through new online customer acquisition, acquiring more reviews is an important step to consider in your business lead generation strategy.
What are Google reviews?
Google provides an online reviews platform that allows visitors to leave valuable information regarding their experience with your business. These reviews are easily accessible, as they allow other visitors to quickly find relevant information regarding your business since they appear next to a Google Business Account and within the Google Search page results.
Google reviews will consist of a customer’s ranking of the business from one to five stars, as well as a detailed written review regarding their experience visiting a particular business location or purchasing products/services from them.
A Google review can easily be left by a customer; all they will need to do to leave an online review is the following:
- Sign into Google Maps
- Search for a specific business (and possibly its location if there are multiple)
- On the left side of the webpage, scroll to the “write a review” section
- Rank the business from one to five stars
- Choose to leave a written review as well if preferred
Why are online reviews important?
One of the first places people go to find online reviews is through Google or another online search engine. And believe it or not, but online reviews even now serve as a ranking factor for online search engines.
Inclusion of online reviews is important because they also help your business stand out on the Google search page. Businesses with a lack of online reviews might not seem trustworthy, as customer experience is an extremely valued factor for making decisions about your business.
Below are some reasons why Google reviews are extremely important:
- Reviews play a role in determining your ranking on Google search results: The algorithm for SEO under the local business listings category is based on location data. The other big factor when determining search ranking status is actually reviews. The more reviews your business has, the better your credibility, and the Google algorithm will place your business higher in local search listings.
- Google is a trusted review platform. When it comes to valuable information regarding experiences with your business, Google is seen as a credible reviews platform. So when someone is looking for information on customer experiences, many will do a quick search on their smartphone through Google search to find more information about a business.
- More reviews serve as a more accurate representation of your business. Let’s face it, many people tend to only leave reviews when they have a negative experience with a business. This unfortunately can reflect poorly on your business, as it might have been an issue with a particular employee, or maybe your service wasn’t up to your normal standards. Having a number of reviews helps to provide a more accurate representation of how you serve your customers.
- Google reviews can serve as free marketing for your business. One of the great things about reviews is that they don’t cost anything for the business, and serve as a great way to self promote without having to do too much. Businesses with a high number of reviews will usually rank better for a particular related keyword search, making this a great SEO tactic to help improve your online lead generation strategy.
- Reviews are a great way to improve lead generation. Reviews serve as an important source of impact on a consumer. When someone is looking for a particular product or service online, they often will turn to reviews first as a way to educate themselves about a particular business. So the more reviews you have, the more likely your business will be noticed online through improved search results.
- More reviews tend to lead to more sales. As mentioned before, customers read reviews before making purchases. The average consumer also will need to read multiple reviews before they feel confident in moving forward with their purchase, so the more Google reviews you have, the more you are able to drive sales for your business.
How should you develop a Google reviews optimization strategy?
While Google reviews may not cost a business anything, there is some strategy required to use these reviews as a way to improve your search engine results for keywords that you want to rank well for.
Google uses an algorithm to determine local ranking listings based on the following:
- Number of total business reviews
- Average business rating
- Location proximity of the user and business location data
Google My Business Account
For the business location data factor in the Google search algorithm, it is important to have a Google My Business Account that is accurate and up to date for all business information. You also can help improve your digital marketing strategy through optimization of your Google My Business profile by doing the following:
- Encourage reviews- As mentioned above, people are most likely to only leave reviews for a negative business experience. Therefore, you should make sure that your business has a way to encourage reviews as a way to increase more positive reviews as well as build up the total number of reviews; both of which will positively impact your Google local search rankings
- Respond appropriately to negative reviews- Negative reviews may still come your way, but it is important to keep up with your reviews profile and make sure that all negative reviews are properly addressed with a comment. Your comment should include some sort of apology to your guest, as well as a solution or suggestion to help resolve the issue they experienced.
How do you increase Google reviews?
There are a number of different marketing strategies to help increase your Google reviews. Below are some suggestions to get you started:
- Incentivize leaving reviews
- Streamline the review process
- Simply ask for reviews after every sale
- Add calls to action for leaving reviews in your email marketing and social platforms
Incentivize leaving reviews
Leaving a review takes time. Many times, a lack of reviews can be attributed not to a lack of business sales or positive experiences, but more so because people didn’t think to take the time to leave a review about your business.
Initially, it might take some incentive to build up your Google reviews platform. This can be done by offering something in return for leaving a review about your business. This might include a coupon or promotion towards a future visit or purchase with your business. In the end, reviews build reputation, so giving a little extra something in order to drive more reviews will likely play a positive role in improving lead generation and future revenue.
Streamline the review process
If it seems like a complicated effort to leave a business review, customers are also likely to pass on the opportunity. Therefore, you might need to simplify your business review process. Maybe if the customer is in person, have them fill out a quick form before they leave your location. Or shortly after making an online purchase, send a quick follow up email asking for a review. You want to make sure that your follow up for a review is timely, and waiting too long to ask for a review will likely result in a lack of action on the customer’s end. You also will want to make sure that your reviews are not too detailed, as too many questions are likely to give your customers a perception that leaving the review will take too much of their time.
Ask for reviews after every sale
If you find you aren’t receiving enough reviews, you might need to start asking for them. More opportunities to leave reviews will likely lead to more responses, so make it a requirement to begin asking for reviews. Have your employees ask for reviews from customers upon exiting your business, and send follow up emails to each of your customers if your business operates online. Strive to give each and every customer the opportunity to leave a review after working with your business.
Add calls to action for leaving reviews as a part of your marketing strategy
A call to action serves as a way to request something specific from a visitor. If you find your business lacking reviews, consider including a call to action requesting visitors to fill out a review form. You might include this call to action in your social media and email marketing strategy, as well as maybe on your website after a visitor has made a purchase. These CTAs serve as a great reminder for your customers to leave some feedback on their business experience.
Need assistance with Google Search or your digital marketing strategy?
Alliance Interactive is a full service digital agency offering digital marketing and Google Search optimization services. We can help your business better understand your core audience, and strategize new ways that will help your business increase online traffic and improve conversion rates.