By Mitchel Martinez

As a small business, you need every advantage you can get your hands on to land more customers. An easy way of doing that is to optimize your Google My Business listing. Having an optimized listing will help boost your local SEO efforts, helping you rank higher when potential customers search for you online and bringing in more leads than you know what to do with.

One of the most powerful ways you can optimize your listing is by getting high-quality reviews so potential customers can get that word-of-mouth benefit. There are a number of other benefits that come with having reviews on your Google My Business listing, too. We’ll look at these benefits through the eyes of Google and consumers. We’ll also show you how easy it is to get those reviews.

Why Does Google Like Reviews?

To put it simply, more reviews on your Google My Business listing will boost the prominence of your small business. Prominence is one of the three main factors Google looks at before deciding on your local ranking. It is Google’s way of knowing how well known you are within your community.

There are a number of things that Google looks at to determine your prominence level:

  • Articles that reference you
  • Links leading back to your business
  • Directories pointing to your business
  • Your Google review count, or how many reviews you have
  • Your average review score

All of this culminates to create your digital footprint. The larger you can make your footprint, the more effective your SEO will be and the harder it will be for Google to ignore you. This is because there will be a natural correlation that Google makes between your presence on the web and the affinity people have for you within your community.

Quality vs Quantity – Who Wins?

Google values the amount of reviews a business generates as well as the review rating and overall score. The more positive reviews you have, the higher you can rank over other businesses in your area.

In this example, I searched for “carpet cleaning services ocala fl” and found that Stanley Steemer claimed the top spot on my Local Pack. OverlyClean has a perfect five-star rating but takes a back seat to Stanley Steemer, who has a rating of 4.6.

The 333 reviews Stanley Steemer has received are valued higher than the perfect score that OverlyClean has attained. This is because review count acts as an ‘upvote’ in the eyes of Google. The more reviews you get, the more people Google sees vying for your business. Google sees review count as a leading indicator of how prominent you are within your community.

Competition is at an all-time high, so having tons of quality Google reviews slices through that competition like a hot knife through butter.

Why Do Consumers Like Reviews?

Consumers like reviews because it gives them insights into your business, sort of like an online version of word-of-mouth recommendations. Do you have a good product? Are you nice to your customers? Can you be trusted? Google reviews let both your potential customers and Google know whether your business is valuable or not. The more reviews you have, the more value you will portray.

At the end of the day, we’re social beings. We hold the opinions of our peers highly. Reports show that 78% of consumers value an online review as much as a personal recommendation because they portray authority and trustworthiness in the eyes of consumers!

How To Get More Reviews

Now that you know the value Google reviews have on your Google My Business listing and your SEO efforts in general, it’s time to take action! 

Getting reviews is easy! Most customers will fill out a review for your business if asked. Here are the best ways to get people to fill out a Google review:

  • Create posters or graphics with QR codes that direct customers to your review link.
  • Send them a review link via text message.
  • Send them a review link via email.

The best part is that we can help with all of this! Our SEO experts at Searchalytics are well versed in requesting and getting reviews for all of our clients. Use the chat box to ask us how!

Time Is Of The Essence

The key is to ask for a review from your customer as soon as they are done with a transaction. The longer it takes for you to request a review, the less likely they are provide one. This isn’t because they had a bad experience necessarily – you simply lost your position as being the number one thing on their mind.

Should I Offer An Incentive?

This is tricky. There is nothing wrong with offering coupons or free products to encourage review submissions. It becomes unethical when you are specifically incentivizing positive reviews.

But even if you are conducting yourself ethically, you still run the risk of getting a bad reputation from consumers and Google itself. It’s possible that they can misinterpret your efforts and see it as you paying for reviews. If that happens, your trustworthiness and ability to rank could diminish.

Should I Respond To Reviews?

Yes! Responding to your Google reviews is a powerful way to increase retention among your existing consumer base. Reputation management is one of the most important things to consider before you begin your Google review initiative because there needs to be a concerted effort to respond and interact with all or most of the people that leave a review.

You’ll want to respond to both positive and negative reviews, too. Responding to positive reviews can be as simple as saying something about how glad you are that they enjoyed their experience with your business. Responding to a negative review may take some extra time, but it can help stave off future negativity. Negative reviews can run the gammut from actual customers who had a negative experience to those who may not have even been customers. Crafting your response is as important as responding, too, as potential customers will be able to see it and may make their own judgements based on how you respond.

How Does This All Benefit My Business?

Optimizing your Google My Business listing will boost your SEO efforts and your ranking in search results, which will increase you lead pipeline and result in more sales!

Studies show that companies who have above average review counts (about 82 reviews) make over 50% more revenue than those who don’t. Reviews eliminate a lot of barriers for consumers, making it an easy decision to do business with you.

Now that you know the value Google reviews can bring to your business, start requesting those reviews today! And if you need help from the experts, reach out to our team at Searchalytics. We can help with everything from review outreach via email or text to optimizing your Google My Business listing in other ways, too. Give us a call or chat with us today!

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