Why Online Reviews Are Important for Your Business

Online reviews have a significant impact on the way consumers react to your business and the likelihood that they will choose your company for their needs. Surveys show 91% of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews, and 84% trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. 

Online reviews have become an invaluable asset for small businesses. You can take advantage of the trust garnered by online reviews and make even negative reviews positively affect your business. Let’s take a closer look at how reviews impact a company and why you should actively seek online reviews from your customers.

Online Reviews Bolster Credibility

Consumers are spending more time researching products and services before making buying decisions today than they ever have before. With 90% of adults owning a smartphone, all the information they need to make an educated choice is in the palm of their hand. The more positive reviews your company receives, the more credibility you have in the digital marketplace. People looking at your business will see your company as a trustworthy and reputable leader in your field.

Reliability, expertise, and professionalism are the three most important traits for a local business to have. Positive reviews help you establish an association between your company, products, and services with these traits. When you receive a positive review, the customer will likely use terms related to these traits to express their experience, which will signal to other potential leads that you are credible. This digital evolution of word-of-mouth advertising is critical to the success of your online business.

Reviews Build Your Online Presence

Building a robust online presence is an essential aspect of owning a business in our digital age. As consumers are researching products and services online, you want your company to stand out and catch their attention. The farther your reach extends across the web, the easier it is for customers to talk about you. This process will ultimately impact SEO for your site in much the same way as backlinking. Search engines like Google often compile reviews from many websites to determine where a company falls in the search results. The more reviews you have, the higher you will fall on the SERP for services or products you provide.

Building your online presence takes a lot of time and commitment. Building up the number of reviews for your business isn’t the end of the process. For reviews to continue benefiting you and improving your rank, they need to be frequent and helpful. Search engines design their algorithms to think the same way consumers do, and you are less likely to rise higher on the SERP if you have outdated reviews. Studies show that up to 69% of consumers consider reviews irrelevant if they are more than three months old. This inclination means that for your reviews to be valuable to consumers and beneficial to your company, they need to be fresh. 

Online Reviews Engage Customers

Having an abundance of reviews online is excellent for your business in many other ways. It helps people see your values, integrity, and experience, and it gives you a way to engage with consumers. Creating a personal relationship with consumers who review your business adds to the impact the reviews have on those who read them. People are far more likely to choose a company that respects their consumers enough to respond to their comments and suggestions in online reviews. This interaction gives you the chance to create a long-lasting impression and cultivate your online culture to align with your brand.

Responding to online reviews gives you the chance to stand out among your competitors. Connecting with your customers is an excellent way to keep them invested in your company while garnering interest from new consumers. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and care about what they have to say. The best way to do this is also the simplest: use the reviewer’s name in your response. People feel more connected when your company acknowledges them directly, and the personal touch signals to other consumers that you feel invested in their opinions.  

Dealing with Negative Reviews

You can’t always prevent negative reviews. Sometimes, people just aren’t satisfied with your product or service. A few negative reviews in the mix isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Think of negative reviews as gateways to improvement and opportunities to provide exceptional customer service. If a customer leaves a comment about an issue they encountered, offer them a solution to the problem. Not only does this give you a chance to resolve the issue, but it’s a great PR opportunity. Going above and beyond for your customers in a public forum shows others how much you care about your customers and their satisfaction. 

There are a few things to remember when dealing with negative reviews. The most important is to talk to the reviewer as an individual, with empathy and a desire to help. Acknowledge their specific concerns, thank them for informing you about the issue, and offer a practical solution that you intend to honor. Show them that you and your business care about fixing the problem. There’s no guarantee that you response will sway the reviewer, but it will show everyone reading that you made an honest effort to rectify the situation.

How to Get More Online Reviews

Now that you understand the importance of cultivating online reviews, you might be wondering how to go about it. There are several techniques for actively acquiring customer reviews online. Some methods include sending personalized review invitations after a customer buys a product or service, adding a review page to your website, or running an email campaign that encourages recent customers to review their new purchase. Reviews are an essential marketing tool and a customer service staple; don’t waste an opportunity to remind customers that you care about their satisfaction.

Generating online reviews is an ongoing process, like many aspects of search engine optimization. Actively encourage customers to talk about their experience with your company online and take the time to engage with your customers. Always respond to negative reviews, even if you aren’t responding to positive ones. Word-of-mouth has always been a key player in building a successful business, and its digital counterpart is just as crucial. At Adrian Graphics & Marketing, we can teach you to use your customers’ own words to your advantage, no matter what they have to say.

Posts On Google My Business Show Up Longer With New Update

Google Update Header Image

Google My Business is an excellent resource for local businesses to draw in customers that search for their products and services. Posts on this platform are the first step in grabbing a potential customer’s attention and giving them vital information about your business. This feature of GMB allows you to market yourself with informational posts in your business’s Knowledge Panel to tell searchers about who you are, what you offer, and any deals you have active. Additionally, these posts offer an organic SEO opportunity for your business, as any search related to your GMB content can increase views for your business page.

When you search for a business with an active Google My Business profile, a box appears on the side of the search results; this box is the Knowledge Panel. A recent update allows Google posts that are more than seven days old to appear in your Knowledge Panel. Previously, a post would expire after seven days leading many businesses to forego the feature. It just wasn’t worth the effort. With the recent change, however, SEO specialists are urging business owners to utilize this resource.

What Is Google My Business?

Launched in 2014, Google My Business is a free tool for businesses to manage their presence online across Google. With Google My Business, you have control over the information and content people see when they search for your company. You can also market your business using GMB optimization. Whenever someone searches for your business, they can find your location, your brand story, and any active deals or promotions you have on offer. 

Creating and maintaining your Google My Business profile is crucial, as your Knowledge Panel will often be the first impression your business will make on potential customers. The Knowledge Panel acts as a summary of your company and lets consumers know right away who you are and what you do. You can control the content that appears in this panel by regularly posting and optimizing your profile on the platform.

What Are Google My Business Posts?

Google added the posting feature to Google My Business in 2017. There is a 300-word limit, but only the first 100 words will appear in the Knowledge Panel on Google. It’s important to remember this when using this feature and make the most of an excellent opportunity to include SEO keywords that will help searchers find you. For example, advertising sales for upcoming holidays can result in more traffic to your company page when local consumers try to find special offers and promotions.

Google My Business posts don’t influence your rankings in their search engine merely by existing. You will need to optimize the content with SEO best practices to help you appear more in searches. Take advantage of trends and holidays to attract more searches, and provide valuable content to searchers. Knowing what to write in your posts will help you market your own business without spending anything more than your time.

Now that these posts don’t have an expiration date, there’s no reason not to take advantage of them. They are a free marketing resource that directly impacts how Google users learn about your brand. People use Google for virtually every question they have, and Google My Business optimization allows you to advertise your company directly in the SERP.

How Will Google Posts Benefit Your Business?

Google prioritizes local businesses, and you can take advantage of local search trends to maximize visibility for your business. For instance, people will search for sales or promotions on and around certain holidays. Veteran holidays consistently cause a spike in the searches for “free meals for veterans.” Restaurants and other food vendors can make the most of this opportunity by creating a Google My Business post offering free or discounted meals for veterans. People searching for these terms in your area will be directed to your business in their SERP because it’s the closest business that used those SEO keywords in a post.

The phrases you use in your posts are essential. When you create your post, think of how someone might search for your chosen topic. Word choice matters and Google will show results closer to the searcher’s wording first. Think of your readers when you create the post. Don’t try to insert as many keywords as you can. This practice will negatively impact search rankings, and your page metrics will suffer. Target your audience but pay attention to how you incorporate your search terms. The best SEO keywords are direct, but certain words, like articles, have little to no impact on search. Use them to fit the keywords into your content naturally.

Posting on Google My Business gives companies the chance to engage searchers before they even visit the company’s website. This feature is your opportunity to show potential customers who you are and interact with them in a way that encourages them to connect with you. The more personable your business becomes, the more likely customers are to flock to it. If your company is your passion, showcase that in your posts; passion attracts people. They will see how committed you are to your business and your customers, and they will want to get involved.

Steps to Take

Now that older posts show up on your Google My Business page, be sure to remove any expired offers and outdated content. Leaving them up could confuse potential customers and hurt your reputation. If you use this feature to draw in new business, keep your page updated and post often. Use proper keywords for search engine optimization and approach your posts much like you would social media content. There isn’t much of a difference between best practices for the two content types. In the end, you are doing the same thing: connecting with your audience. If you need an expert at creating SEO-friendly content for your GMB page, Adrian Graphics & Marketing can help.