Great search engine optimization (SEO) is key to having your website rank higher. As you rank higher on Google, you will notice a lot more website traffic, which translates to increased leads/conversions. There are different kinds of SEO such as on-page, off-page, technical, and local SEO. The one we will focus on in this blog post is local SEO and more specifically how customer reviews will improve it.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is ensuring that your website is friendly to searches in your local area. When you search “Restaurants near me”, those who show up typically have good local SEO. A vital part of local SEO is customer reviews. Customer reviews are great for bringing in more customers and adding social proof to your brand. As people see reviews on your business, they are more eager to try out your services or avoid them depending on how positive or negative the reviews are. Look at these incredible stats just to see how powerful reviews are for local SEO:
- Businesses that showed up at the top of local SEO pack typically had 47 Google reviews as opposed to the 39 of average
- 13% of consumers will contact a business after reading positive online reviews
- Nearly 9 out of 10 consumers read reviews for local businesses before making a purchase
What does a Review Mean?
Before we discuss how customer reviews improve SEO, let’s first look at what a review provides. A review serves a purpose for both the business and consumer. To the business, it shows credibility and indicates areas of improvement. For example, if a business claims it has the “best pizza in town”, the reviews left by customers will validate if it truly is the best pizza or not. The business might also find a common theme of long wait times in the reviews, illustrating that their equipment or staff may need improvement.
For the consumer on the other hand, it influences their decisions. In the same example, a consumer may be looking for the “best pizza in town” to find that customer reviews share that same sentiment. This in turn convinces them to visit the pizza shop and try their food. If the reviews claimed the pizza is bad, then they would not bother going to the shop let alone visiting their website to at least see their menu.
How do Reviews benefit local SEO?
Reviews are important for local SEO because Google likes to pick out the best reviewed places, especially when searchers use the term “near me”. As your website shows up on top of the search page results frequently, it should see an increase in traffic. Even if users don’t visit your website, there are still many major benefits that reviews provide in seeing improved conversions. Here are some stats that other benefits of customer reviews:
- 97% of shoppers say reviews influence their decisions
- Reviews produce an 18% uplift in sales
- Displaying reviews can increase conversion rates by 270%
How to Get Reviews?
Now that we understand the importance of customer reviews, let’s look at the different ways to get reviews. One of the most effective methods of producing reviews is to ask when the customer is in a state of joy. For example, if you own a local donut shop the best time to ask the customer to leave a review is when they take a bite and rave about how good it is. Do not hesitate to ask customers because 68% of consumers left a local business review when asked.
Another aspect of reviews is to not limit yourself just to Google reviews. In fact, you should also look at the other two big ones: Yelp and Facebook. Yelp may be more beneficial in converting a customer because it is difficult to collect reviews due to the Yelp review filter. This filter keeps some reviews hidden for a variety of reasons for example, if a review for a Vancouver coffee shop was written from an IP address in Brazil it will set off a warning to Yelp. Moreover, Facebook is great place for convincing consumers to try your products and services because they will see reviews from their friends and families.
Finally, you can also collect reviews on your own website. Most website builders will have a plugin or application that makes it easy for users to leave a review. If you are using Weebly website builder, some review apps you can use are testimonial builder, testimonial slider, comments + reviews, elf yelp reviews and more. On WordPress, you can use the plugin WP Customer Reviews, Starfish Reviews, Site Reviews, Google Reviews Widget and more.
Responding to Reviews
Finally, if you really want to make the most out of the reviews ensure you respond to them. Responding to customers allows them to feel heard and valued. Consumers spend almost 50% more with companies that reply to reviews showcasing the importance of responding. By responding you make customers feel like they’re part of a community which is most likely an emotion you want to hammer home as a small business.
Reviews are important if you want your business to thrive with local SEO. The statistics of reviews speak for themselves and will typically result in more traffic, conversions, and revenue. There are different ways to collect reviews with Yelp and Facebook being great places alongside Google. Finally, by responding to customer reviews, you can build a long-term relationship with them and make them feel valued and heard, resulting in a loyal customer who will speak highly of your business any chance they get.
If you enjoyed this blog post and want to learn about other marketing and small business tactics, read our blog here.
Have you used reviews for your business? Did you see an improvement in your conversion rates? How often do you find yourself reading reviews? Let us know in the comments below.