Review & Reputation Management

Local Search & the Link to Online Reviews

Local Search & the Link to Online Reviews 1920 703 Shout Out Studio

For most companies, it’s not so much a question of if managing your brand’s online reputation is important; it’s more a question of “where does online reputation management fall on my list of priorities?” It’s a fair question. To which the answer is, while there are many facets to reputation management, the best place to start is the area with the greatest opportunity.

More than 10 billion searches are conducted on Google every month. That’s a monster number, and many of those searches involve someone looking for a particular type of business or service. In fact, 92% of consumers regularly read online reviews to learn about a business,1 but here’s the catch; 94% of people only look at the first page of Google search results. 1 It’s easy to see just how crucial that first-page ranking can be, and therein lies the opportunity–on the first page of all those local searches.

Consider this scenario. It’s a Friday evening, and you’re craving sushi but want to change it up from your local go-to spot. You search online, “sushi restaurants near me.” Essentially your goal is two things: determine what’s near you and what’s good.

An ad appears and a few initial listings. Instinctively you start scanning the listings to help make your selection. You start at the top browsing ratings and reviews, likely the pictures too. You notice Akai Hana with 1,102 reviews and a 4.7 rating. Good, right? You scan a few reviews and see someone recommends Sukiyaki, and you’re sold at that point. Problem solved, dinner ordered. What you didn’t notice, had you kept scrolling, was restaurant X with only two reviews and a 3.0-star rating. And that’s not uncommon.

There are several reasons for the search results you receive, but research suggests online reviews are now the second most important factor for local rankings.2  Much like fresh content is vital for SEO, so are reviews. Search engines factor in your review profile (including quality and quantity) when calculating where your business will show in the search results. Obviously, the higher the rating out of 5 stars, the better. What most folks don’t expect is that your reviews need to be recent and high volume as well, especially in comparison to your competitors. “When you acquire [reviews] regularly, they provide a constant influx of fresh content for the search engine spiders to digest.”2

More than ever, consumers are looking for signals of trust, and what people say about your brand builds credibility. Often, companies fail to cultivate their good reviews and what remains online as a representation of the business are those few negative experiences. Train staff and team members to ask customers in-person. Provide links on your website, email signature, newsletters, thank pages, or on receipts. You can even ask for feedback on social media.

Want to continue the conversation on customer feedback? Reach out to learn more about our review generation process.

The Incredible Power of Online Reviews

The Incredible Power of Online Reviews 1920 950 Marsh Williams

Everyone has a story about online reviews; some are good and well, some aren’t.

So before we take a deeper dive, let’s go to the board for a few stats.

  • 97% of consumers use the internet to find local businesses – Source
  • 94% of consumers read online reviews; they trust reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family
  • 89% purchase within a week of visiting review sites and 29 percent will do so within a day
  • 82% of consumers go to review sites because they want to buy a service or product
  • 80% of consumers will reverse a purchase decision based on negative reviews

Reviews matter…

Negative Reviews

Once a negative review is in place, no matter what anyone tells you it is virtually impossible to get it removed unless you can demonstrably prove it is fraudulent. We actually had this happen and someone we had never done business with, or even heard of, left a negative review on Google. No matter how much we went through Google customer service, they deemed it a legitimate review and would not provide any relief. We wound up having to write a response to the reviewer saying “…we don’t recognize your name and have no record of doing business with you. Please contact us so we can address this for you.” They took it down without discussion.

Negative reviews have a direct impact on the bottom line. Here are some specifics.

Effectively the only way to manage bad reviews is to get in front of them. By this, I mean to identify potentially negative reviews and respond to the customer/reviewer before it is published. It can be done, and we can discuss that later.

In a study conducted by BrightLocal they found that a single negative review can cost a company up to thirty customers, and in a similar study Moz found that three negative reviews can drive away up to fifty-nine percent of customers. Eighty-Six percent of people will hesitate before purchasing form a business that has any bad online reviews.

Positive Reviews

Online reviews drive local traffic. Ninety-Seven percent of consumers use the internet to find local businesses, and three in four people who use their smartphones to search for something nearby end up visiting a local business within a day. While traffic to retail businesses is down fifty-seven percent in the past five years, the value of every visit has tripled.

Grade.US found that happy customers tend to share their experience with up to fifteen individuals, and when you get those good reviews, they actually add to your revenue stream. Companies experience a revenue increase of between nine and twelve percent with a one-star rating increase on Yelp. Sixty-eight percent of customers will leave a review when asked.

And finally, negative reviews are not all bad, seventy-two percent of B2B buyers say negative reviews give depth and insight into a product or service offering, and if handled correctly they provide a great opportunity for a response that demonstrates your company’s values. Over seventy percent of consumers who have a problem resolved satisfactorily will buy from that business again.

The Formula

So there are a few basics you need to achieve.

  • At least a 4.0 rating on the respective platform with a minimum of 40 reviews per platform
  • Current/fresh reviews that have been created in the last thirty days
  • Respond to every single review your organization receives, good or bad.
  • Embrace customer feedback as a core value for your company, listen, learn, improve, and prevail.

The Way to Get There

There are a lot of ways to engage customers and manage reviews. We prefer a system to do such and bowline that this approach provides a simple and effective manner to engage customers for feedback. The platform we use allows businesses to leverage positive reviews and mitigate potentially negative ones across up to severely review platforms.When integrated into ongoing communications efforts, it can drive significant change to an organization’s online ratings.

…and finally

One final comment to consider, reviews count for 15.44% percent of your Google SEO…and it’s growing. – Source

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