5 Things You Need To Understand About
Google Reviews And Your Business
Why Google Reviews Matter So Much For Your Small Business
Do you know why online reviews—particularly those left by Google+ users—matter? This is the short answer: today, 90% of consumers are influenced by online reviews. Reviews are driving sales and SEO for small businesses like little else.
Ready for the long answer? Here’s what you need to know right now about Google reviews and your small business.
#1- Large numbers of quality reviews boost your search engine rankings
Think about how Google works. It exists to provide its users with the most relevant, high quality results for their searches. So if someone searches for “best restaurant in [name your city]”, how is Google going to give that individual what they’re asking for? What information is Google sifting through in order to determine whether or not a restaurant could be considered the “best” in any given city?
I think you can start to see how online reviews start to factor into the equation. Positive online reviews are solid proof to Google that people think a company is worth sharing.
Therefore, the more positive reviews you can secure for your local business, the higher it will rank in searches. Think quality and quantity—because both matter.
In fact, when someone searches “best [type of business] in [some city]”, only companies with a 4-star or higher rating will show up in results. So focus on getting large numbers of mostly 4-star or higher ratings.
#2- Google reviews impact your search engine rankings more than other review sites do
Online reviews in general will help your business’ SEO and reputation. Getting your business listed in more online directories where users can rate their experience is always worthwhile.
But—as is often the case—Google matters more. It’s very likely that no other type of review will impact your search results more than a Google review.
Think about it. When people search your business, Google reviews pop up right away in the search results. People can see, at a glance, exactly how well your business is performing.
Furthermore, the company Moz discovered through a 2016 survey that reviews are responsible for driving a full 10% of online traffic. So if your business has poor reviews or no reviews, it could be losing a large number of visitors. But if your reviews are positive, that 10% will happily flow to your website, boosting your SEO and making your overall search rankings higher over time.
#3- Large numbers of quality reviews provide business-building social proof
Humans are social animals. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the Internet. When something “goes viral”, imagine a herd of animals suddenly stampeding. It’s essentially the same phenomenon.
Thinking is hard work, and human beings are nothing if not efficient. “Social proof” is a fancy social psychology term for “going along with the crowd”. Basically, it’s a mechanism that allows us to get what we want and avoid what we don’t want without doing a lot of thinking. Others have done the thinking for us.
Smart marketers know just how significant social proof is for driving sales. If you can show that “the crowd” likes a product or a service, you’re just going to grow that product or service’s fanbase exponentially. Monkey see, monkey do.
Online reviews allow you to leverage that powerful social proof. It’s a way of building a tremendously scalable word-of-mouth campaign. And research shows that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations. The herd knows how to communicate online just as well as they do offline.
#4- To start getting reviews, verify your Google listing
In order to get reviews, you need a listing on Google through your Google My Business Page.
If you don’t think you have a Google My Business Page, don’t panic. If your company has any sort of online presence, it probably already has a listing. Google just needs to know that you consider it legitimate. That means you need to find out if you have a listing, and then claim it if you do, or create one if you don’t.
Click here to add or claim your Google My Business listing. From there, you can follow the steps to find your listing, and then verify it by postcard, phone, or email.
#5- Responding to your reviews gets you more reviews
When people post reviews—positive or negative—you have an opportunity to build both the SEO and reputation of your company, simply by responding. If someone compliments you for your service, thank them. If someone finds fault with some aspect of your product, offer to solve the problem.
Think of your online reviews as an extension of your customer service. When you engage with your reviewers, you’re going to see a few benefits:
You’ll create fresh online content for your business, giving search engines more material to crawl through, and boosting your SEO
You’ll show your existing customers that you care, building their trust
You’ll show your leads—who will see this back and forth in your Google reviews—that you’re engaged with your customers, building their confidence
Responding to reviews encourages others to leave reviews, multiplying all of the benefits we’ve discussed in this post
Feeling up to speed? The major takeaway should be this: get large numbers of positive Google reviews. You’ll build your SEO, harness social proof, and get an invaluable opportunity to engage with your customers.