You’ve probably heard by now that online reviews are a major factor in consumers’ purchase decisions. In fact, according to a study by Dimensional Research, almost 90% of consumers confirm they are influenced by reviews. With such an overwhelming majority of consumers taking reviews into account, search engines have made them a top factor in how they rank search engine results. With reviews in general now being so important, negative reviews can be especially damaging to not only your reputation, but to your local search engine optimization (SEO) success, as well.
Online Reviews and Their Impact on Local and Organic Search Results
The importance of showing up in local search results when consumers are searching in your area can’t be stressed enough. Consumers searching for a product or service in your area typically have high purchase intent; therefore, they are most likely researching which company near them can provide the highest quality product or service with the utmost attention to customer satisfaction. The best way for prospective customers to find this information is through prior customers’ reviews. Many popular search engines have since made reviews easily accessible to consumers in local search results, displaying the company’s overall star rating underneath the business name. Businesses with the most recent and largest number of reviews have better chances of ranking higher in local and organic search results.
While other local SEO factors, such as on-page signals, Google My Business information, social signals and external links or citations, are highly important in determining search results, reviews may ultimately be what will persuade a consumer to contact your company or do business with you. Accumulating new positive reviews also adds credibility to your business while increasing the amount of unique content you have online, which search engines also take into consideration when ranking search engine results.
How to Handle Negative Reviews
As a business owner, negative reviews can be a painful burden on business growth if not addressed in a timely manner. However, negative reviews can also be an opportunity for your business to shine in the minds of consumers if handled correctly. Properly responding to negative reviews can build stronger relationships between your company and its customers. Be sure to respond immediately and publicly, typically within 48 hours, and offer a chance to speak with the customer offline to resolve the problem. Whether it is a personnel, communication or technical issue, you will want to be sure you take the appropriate course of action to resolve any miscommunications or procedures to ensure the problem does not occur in the future. Be sure to convey a sincere and apologetic tone when communicating with unhappy customers in order to repair their negative experience and build a positive and loyal relationship.
Strategic Marketing Can Help Manage Your Online Reviews
Since online reviews, whether positive or negative, are so crucial to the success of your business, it is important that review generation and reputation management are incorporated into your business’s digital marketing strategy. The more positive reviews your business acquires, the less weight will be put on any potential negative reviews. This can be a time-consuming task, but fortunately Strategic Marketing has an efficient and cost-effective solution to reputation management.
Our review generation software, SmartRep, makes it easy for you to generate and respond to online reviews. Our system contacts your customers via branded email and asks them for a review. Once reviews are completed, the system presents a seamless path for positive reviews to be pushed to your website and directs customers to other sites such as Google+, Facebook and Yelp. Negative reviews are redirected back to the business owner to be addressed. Additionally, SmartRep offers robust reporting and analytics that are available 24/7, allowing you to track and monitor your reviews at any time.
For more information or to receive a free demo, contact us today to get a handle on your online reputation while improving your local search ranking!