The Link Between Online Reviews and Local Search

The Link Between Online Reviews and Local Search

The Link Between Online Reviews and Local Search 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.

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