Local SEO isn’t a new marketing approach but has gained much traction in the business world since the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses now realise how important it is to have a strong local presence to make an impact in their community.
Maintaining an accurate Google Business Profile is an absolute must. However, user interaction in the form of generating reviews and getting ratings are key aspects of any solid local SEO strategy.
So, do online ratings and reviews really impact your local SEO efforts? And if so, how?
Let’s explore the importance and role of local SEO reviews in marketing efforts and some surefire ways to get top-quality Google reviews by the best local seo company in melbourne.
Why is local SEO reputation management important for businesses?
It’s simple! We are living in the digital era where both businesses and consumers rely heavily on the internet. Local SEO reputation management is crucial for businesses; it directly impacts their online visibility and credibility within their local community.
On the other hand, consumers look for online reviews and ratings when making purchase decisions. Positive reviews can drive new customers and boost trust, while negative ones can drive potential clients away.
- Local SEO reputation management involves monitoring, responding, and influencing online reviews across platforms like Google My Business, Yelp, and social media. By actively engaging with reviews, businesses can address customer concerns, demonstrate responsiveness, and showcase their commitment to excellent customer service.
- Moreover, search engines consider online reputation as a ranking factor for local search results. A strong online reputation can boost a business’s chances of appearing in the “Local Pack” and improve overall search rankings.
Just so you know, Local Pack is a search ranking factor that you can see at the top of the SERPs when a user makes a search in its local community. It comprises a map and three local business listings related to the search.
- By proactively managing their local SEO reputation, businesses can foster a positive brand image, gain a competitive advantage in the local market, and cultivate strong customer loyalty. All this ultimately leads to increased foot traffic, higher conversions, and sustainable growth.
Importance of data-backed reviews and ratings for local SEO
As said, reviews have become an integral component of the internet, playing a crucial role for online retailers. However, their significance extends beyond e-commerce as they hold equal importance for local businesses, even those without an online presence. This is primarily due to their substantial impact in shaping local search results.
If you are wondering why reviews work, it’s because they are social proof in action. Consumers need confirmation and reassurance they are making the right purchase decisions. According to a Capterra survey, 98% of Australian customers read online reviews before they make a purchase. Further, nearly 94% believe them to be trustworthy.
For instance, if a consumer is trying to buy a smartphone, seeing a positive review or a 4-star rating for a smartphone model of their interest may provide the extra push they need.
Similarly, if you are looking for a safe nightclub in Melbourne with an average score of 4.7 from 583 reviews, like The Butterfly Club, looks like a safe option.
There are innumerable studies that show how many customers trust online reviews when it comes to local search or any search for that matter.
According to a recent study, more than 85% read online reviews to determine the reliability of a local business.
Here are some other key findings of the study:
- Google Reviews have a profound impact on a customer’s purchasing choice. Over 63% of Aussies consult base their buying decisions on local listing searches.
- Nearly two-thirds of Australian consumers will ignore a local business if they can’t find information online.
In a nutshell, the study makes it quite clear that local SEO reviews are of key importance for businesses who want to strive in their community. With authentic customer feedback and ratings, businesses can boost their credibility and customer trust.
Sure ways to get top-quality Google reviews
Now that you know the role of reviews in local SEO and that Google My Business profile is the most reliable review platform, next you should focus on acquiring good quality Google reviews.
But what do top-quality reviews mean?
Google is all about quality when ranking websites. Every review a business receives is significant, but some reviews can be more important than others when it comes to boosting SERP rankings.
They should be positive and authentic. Buying or writing fake reviews might seem like a quick fix. However, Google can easily detect them, and it might hurt your website’s ranking instead of boosting it.
Here’s a breakdown of what kind of reviews usually fall under the “top-quality reviews” category.
1. Reviews with a lot of details
You should encourage customers to write detailed reviews about the services they received and their experiences. Ask them to include specific details about the service they got, such as:
- The issue they faced?
- Quality of their interaction with your team in terms of communication
- Did the service resolve their problem?
- Which employee(s) did they work with?
- Photos of the job
2. Reviews with photos
Using pictures and videos along with your Google reviews can make them much more powerful. When you include visuals, like photos and videos, it makes the reviews more believable and trustworthy.
It has also been seen that reviews with visuals tend to stay visible at the top for a longer time compared to reviews without any pictures.
If you want good reviews to stay at the top, try getting more reviews with pictures. What does that mean?
When you visit a business’s Google Business Profile and go to their reviews, the first thing you’ll see is the reviews sorted by “Most relevant.”
It has been seen that reviews with pictures are considered important by Google and stay at the top of the list for a longer time.
According to an article published on Search Engine Land, businesses with more photos on GMB get more clicks, calls, and direction requests. Further, having a greater number of photos on your Google My Business listing enhances the likelihood of guiding customers from discovery to conversion.
The article revealed that businesses with more than 100 images experience a remarkable 520% increase in the number of calls they receive compared to the average business. Conversely, businesses with only one image witness a significant reduction of 71% in the number of calls they receive.
So, encourage your customers to take a photo of the roof you restored, the HVAC system you fixed, or the wall you painted and include it in their review. This can help their review be more prominent and helpful for others.
Tips to attract a steady flow of local SEO reviews
Here are some easy ways to improve your local search listings and get better reviews. Make sure to follow these tips! By attracting the right customers, you increase the likelihood of them having a wonderful experience.
1. Verify your location
Google is used for 78% of all online searches. This means the search engine King will often list verified information on the top of search results than the information they are not so sure about.
To verify your listing:
- Verify by email or phone.
- Check all the information to make sure it’s correct and see if there are any last-minute updates.
It’s worth noting that you cannot update your business name until the location verification process is complete.
2. Keep your Google Business Profile (GBP) updated
As said, more consumers are using Google to research local businesses. So, ensure to keep your Google business profile updated. Information that you need for your GBP listings includes:
- Details of your business (name, business description, category, website, attributes, opening date, photos).
- Address and service area
- Hours of operation/business hours, and holiday hours.
3. Use keywords
Nearly 72% of consumers who look for local businesses end up visiting one that is within 8 kms of their current location. That is why location keywords are beneficial. To use keywords to your advantage,
- Use them in your description wherever you can, but make sure they appear natural and not forced.
- Begin with service in location (SiL) (Add [in “your location”] to all of your products and services).
- Use a keywords generator tool, like Ahrefs or Google Keyword Planner, to find relevant location keywords if you are struggling to get started.
4. Offer quality services
Organically, it all comes down to offering quality services. If you cannot serve your consumers well or leave them with a good, memorable customer experience, there’s no chance you can attract a steady flow of reviews.
When businesses prioritise providing outstanding experiences, customers feel valued and satisfied, prompting them to share their positive encounters on Google. Happy customers are more likely to take the time to write glowing reviews, boosting a company’s online reputation and attracting potential clients.
Don’t you give a good rating or feedback to the app or delivery valet when you get your food or grocery delivered on time?
So, think like a customer and focus on providing the best possible customer experience to get positive reviews from them.
5. Focus on increasing and managing your reviews online.
You already know the importance of getting positive reviews. This is what you can do for review management:
- Encourage customers via text to leave a review.
- Respond to both positive and negative reviews.
- Give a satisfactory solution to consumers who gave a negative review.
- Use a local SEO reputation management tool, such as MOZ Local to monitor performance, optimise profile and automate rank tracking.
To conclude, customer reviews play a crucial role in local SEO. Positive reviews enhance credibility, trust, and visibility for local businesses. Search engines consider reviews when ranking local search results, impacting a business’s online reputation.
Encouraging genuine feedback and promptly addressing concerns can significantly improve a business’s chances of attracting more local customers and thriving in the digital landscape.
The above-mentioned tips will help you with your local SEO reputation management and attract positive customer reviews. If you still face difficulty with your local SEO efforts, get in touch with a reliable local SEO company to take care of your local business and its reputation management.