Is Your Business Getting Reviewed On These Top 5 Online Platforms?
The 2015 Local Consumer Review Survey reveals 92% of consumers now read online reviews to evaluate local businesses, up from 88% in 2014 and 85% in 2013. The “star-rating” is the number one factor consumers use to form their opinion of a local business, and 40% of them read just 1 to 3 reviews before they do so.
Why Consumer Reviews Are Crucial for Local Businesses
The importance of consumer reviews continues to grow because they don’t only influence your customers’ decisions, but also your organic search ranking. Take a look at the local ranking factors published by MOZ last year:
It can be seen that the review and social signals combined weigh 15.6% of the overall search factors.
Top 5 Platforms for Getting Your Business Reviewed
Your reviews on local and industry-specific websites own website influence your customers’ decisions as well as your search ranking. Here are the 5 must-get-reviewed-on platforms for local businesses.
1. Google Local Reviews
Google has steadily ramped up the value of reviews by including them as a major SEO signal. Your Google+ reviews appear beneath your business’s name on the local SERP. Additionally, customers can also see “shared endorsements” by people in their Google+ Circles.
2. True Local and Yellow Pages Reviews
True Local and Yellow Pages are Australia’s most popular directories where customers search for local businesses and read their reviews before buying from one of them. Google’s Penguin algorithm can pick up the positive and negative reviews from credible review sites and uses them to rank your business website.
3. Social Media Reviews
Facebook has a rating and review system for local businesses that you can use for building your brand image and improving your SEO performance. More and better Facebook reviews will give your page a better edge-rank, and make it more discoverable during organic web searches. LinkedIn recommendations are another form of social reviews that can work well for your personal or B2B brand. You can also incorporate your Twitter feed or Facebook comments on your website to provide “social proof” to your visitors.
4. Industry Specific Sites
Trip Advisor is the top website to get reviewed on if you are a hotel or restaurant. Doctors or healthcare professionals can ask their customers to review them on Health Engine or Australian Doctors Directory. Industry-specific sites are visited by qualified prospects, who often like to read a few review before they take a decision to contact a local business.
5. Your Website
The comments on your posts or pages have an impact on your visitors as well as the search spiders. More comments mean that people are taking interest in your product, offer, or idea. While testimonials often tend to be self-implanted, they can boost your conversion rates if used smartly.
How to Generate Great Customer Reviews
Most of your satisfied customers may not review your business unless you prompt them to. On the other hand, a dissatisfied customer is more likely to leave a negative review. Here’s what you can do to generate quality reviews from your customers:
- Ask your customers to write a review about your business on Google+
- Remind your loyal customers to review your business before they exit your site
- Make it easy to review your business by designing review forms and templates
- Follow up with your customers through email and remind them to review your services
- Remind and educate your Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media followers about where and how they can review your business
- Have some examples to guide your customers about how to write a review
How to Deal with Negative Reviews
An unhappy customer is much more likely to review your business negatively. You cannot ignore negative reviews or ratings. If they have reviewed your business on Google+ or another platform which you do not control, you should contact the reviewer and satisfy their complaints. When they are satisfied, request them to change their review or rating.
What about Fake Reviews?
It is unethical and illegal to post fake reviews as they misrepresent a business and cheat the consumers. Google and other review sites take a serious exception to businesses trying to post fake reviews. The only right way to get your business reviewed is to your genuine customers. Fake reviews can get your business downgraded in the SERPs and can even lead to financial penalties.
Consumer reviews are a crucial component of your local online marketing because they make your business look transparent and credible, and get you better SERP appearance. Getting your business some genuine reviews on the above-mentioned platforms will build your reputation and get you more customers.