local search

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.

Should You Set Up a Google My Business Page If You Don’t Have a Physical Address?

Should You Set Up a Google My Business Page If You Don’t Have a Physical Address? 1920 703 Shout Out Studio

Navigating your own business can be a difficult endeavor. There are many decisions to make surrounding which business services are right for you. While there are advantages to not having a physical address for your business, it can make registering for certain business services more difficult. Many of these helpful services require you to enter a physical business address. This includes Google My Business, which helps your business to become more visible on the most common search engine. It offers a lot of benefits for both you and your customers which makes it hard to want to ignore this service. Figuring out how to proceed is the question in this scenario.

Should You Use Google My Business?

In short, yes. Google My Business is an important service to set up for a growing business. It is a free service so there are no risks to setting it up for your company. If you want to reach a larger audience, you need to be highly visible on Google. The conveniences of Google My Business legitimize your business in the eyes of many consumers. Google My Business provides an all-in-one way to monitor and reply to customer reviews, add photos, accept bookings, share updates about your business, and gain insights on your target audience. It will also give a direct link to your site, direct call button to contact your business and a simple way to bookmark the site. This will simplify customer interaction and really improve your business if you are able to show consistent good customer service.

Determining Your “Service Area”

You do have to add an address on Google My Business. This can be your physical address or a virtual address if you have one. When setting up your Google My Business, click the box that says, “I deliver goods and services to my customers.” This will make a second box appear. “Hide my address (it’s not a store)” will make it so your address can’t be seen. Now you’re ready to set your service area. You can choose specific regions or set your service area to be within a certain radius of the location you entered. Depending on your location and the nature of your business, one may be more helpful than the other. Know your target audience to make sure they are clearly seeing you. If you’re unsure, start by setting a radius from your location and this will help you to fine tune who is most in need of your business services.

Google Reviews

Setting up Google My Business enables Google reviews on your business. This allows customers to rate and share experiences that they’ve had with your business. The customers can share photos in addition to details on their interactions with your business which really gives those considering your business a clear idea of what to expect. One of the best ways to encourage people to do business with you is for them to hear about the positive experiences that others have had with you and your business. In addition to reviews, customers can ask public questions about your business which will help them and future customers with similar inquiries.

Setting Up Ads

Google My Business helps with your advertising as well. As previously mentioned, this helps to increase your visibility on the Google search engine. However, this is also a useful step in setting up Google Ads if you choose. This improves your algorithms so that the people who are most interested are seeing you. Your business will be one of the first to appear when searching for someone within your industry. It will appear at the top of the search page with the sponsored results. This will increase website traffic and with the insights from Google My Business, you’ll be able to see the direct results you’re getting from these ads.

Now that you are familiar with the benefits and are armed with the knowledge of how to set up your Google My Business page without having a physical business address, it’s time for you to proceed and watch your business grow. Good luck on your entrepreneurial adventures!

If you’re looking for online marketing help, check out our services and see how we can help!

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