Buying online has quickly become the most popular way of purchasing products, given the convenience of browsing hundreds of stores’ catalogs from the comfort of your home. However, the major downside of online shopping is that you can’t inspect the product or service in person, which means consumers have turned to online reviews for more guidance.
Online reviews have thus become a fundamental part of a business marketing strategy. Review websites have sprung left and right to quench consumers’ thirst for more information about a business to know if it is reliable or not, helping them decide which company to engage with. For these reasons, online reviews can significantly impact your local SEO efforts, so it’s crucial to factor them into your strategy.
What is Local SEO?
Local search engine optimization is a strategy that increases your business’s visibility on local Google search engine results. This strategy works best for local businesses like restaurants, shops, or agencies catering to the local audience. Prioritizing local SEO makes it easier for your audience to find you, whether online or offline.
General SEO differs slightly from local SEO, as local SEO falls under the former. General SEO is more focused on boosting website rankings without making any local considerations, while local SEO improves your ranking for a particular area, like a city or a town. Ranking better for local Google searches means doing more than optimizing your website; you’ll have to create and fill your Google My Business account will all the relevant details.
Ways Online Reviews Impact Local SEO
Online reviews signal other customers that a particular business is worthy of their trust and hard-earned money. It shows that many consumers have tried the product and service and liked it enough to leave some feedback. For this reason, accumulating reviews on various platforms while having glowing testimonials that include keywords, products, and services is crucial to boosting your online visibility.
For instance, reviews provide search engines like Google with the information they need to recognize and crawl your website. This quality vastly increases the chances of the search engine displaying your business to online searchers. Additionally, if you have an immaculate online reputation, you’ll be earning new reviews regularly, and fresh content is the core of SEO.
Reviews are also helpful for building customer trust, as the goal of SEO is to make search engines believe you are credible. Remember that Google trusts customers more than marketers and is dedicated to providing the most relevant, helpful content to users. Having abundant online reviews tells Google that you have enough social proof to earn a top spot on the results page.
Responding to Negative Reviews
However great positive reviews are, it’s impossible not to receive any negative ones. You can’t please everyone due to factors entirely out of your control, but what you can do is take each negative review and turn it into an opportunity. Your goal is to make peace and win a customer over, so instead of ignoring a negative review—which is the worst thing you can do—reach out to the customer directly to discuss their complaint and how you can settle the issue. Be professional and calm, as lashing out and being angry will be unprofessional, making things even worse.
Customers tend to change tune once a business had demonstrated a sincere interest in turning things around for them, which means you’ll have earned another customer even when they had left a negative review. Even when other people chance upon the negative review, they’ll see that you were proactive in satisfying the customer, making them feel like they’ll be in good hands when engaging with your business.
Managing your reviews is a vital part of your local SEO strategy. Your online reviews can make a significant impact on your reputation and your search engine rankings, encouraging more of your target audience to visit your website and think of engaging with you. By prioritizing online reviews, you’ll get one step closer to success.
Silo Hill Media is a digital marketing agency in Boise offering local SEO services to boost your visibility. We also specialize in web development, reputation management, social media marketing, and many more. Contact us today to find out more about what we can do for you!