How Online Reviews Can Help You Grow Your Small Business in 2018

 In Advice, Blog

It’s Friday night and you are ready to head out to dinner with your spouse. You don’t eat out very often so you want to make sure that you will not be disappointed with where you spend your money, so you take out your phone and do a quick Google search for the best restaurants in your area.

You are immediately introduced to dozens of different options, but a steakhouse with a five star rating catches your eye. You click the link and see that the prices are also acceptable. The restaurant’s number is conveniently displayed and with a click on the number you are quickly transferred to a call with the front desk at the restaurant. This entire process took you just a few minutes and you already have a reservation.

As you may have guessed however this is not only true for restaurants, but just about every industry today.

Why Reviews are Important for your SEO

It’s easy to understand why reviews are important: they tell potential customers that the service or product you provide is of good quality and can be trusted. The other big reason why they are important, specifically for your image online, is that they improve your SEO, or Search Engine Optimization.

SEO is what determines how high your website ranks on Google. The higher you rank on Google, the more people see your website and your offering which results in more business. In fact according to a recent study the first result on Google receives close to 33% of clicks, second receives 18%, and the third receives only 11%, leaving the rest of the millions of results fighting over the scraps. So clearly SEO is very important to the success of your business online.

Reviews help your SEO by showing Google that your business and services can be trusted. Google’s main objective is to provide its users with the best results possible so they keep coming back and searching through them. By having lots of positive reviews Google knows it can confidently recommend you to users.

Now that you know how online reviews and SEO are connected, and why that’s important, here are a few ways to increase the number of your reviews online.

Incentivize Your Customers to Leave Reviews

This is one of the best ways to get more reviews and it’s all about making it worthwhile to the customer. The basic idea is that you want to reward those who leave reviews. It can be done in many different ways and based on what your business provides you can choose one and run with it, but here are three quick examples:

  • Reward reviewers with a coupon for future purchase
  • Enter them in a drawing for a prize
  • Highlight reviews in social media (works best for businesses with a large following online)

Ask Them for a Review

This may sound like a very common sense suggestion but you would be surprised at how few businesses actually do it, and best of all it is not difficult to do. You can start out by creating an account to an email provider like Mailchimp. The next step is to create a specific list that will hold the emails of past customers. Then you will need to create an automated email sequence that automatically sends emails to the people in those lists.

We suggest creating a sequence of 3 emails, the first sent immediately, the second 3 days after the first, and the third and final email sent a week after the first. In each email you can add links to your specific Google or Facebook review page and simply ask that customer in the email to leave you a review.

Bonus Tip: How to get only Positive Reviews

Good reviews can have an awesome effect on your SEO, but bad reviews can kill your SEO and bury your website into the black abyss of Google search results. So how can you make sure that you only receive good reviews?

Obviously providing a great service or product is first and foremost. If you are receiving tons of bad reviews you should look into them and understand why they are happening. Find out what people are unhappy with and change it.

That being said all businesses can make mistakes and earn a bad review despite providing an awesome service or product. So how can you filter your reviews so that only the good ones reach Google or Facebook?

This is a bit more difficult to do but the long term benefits that it can have on your business are worth it. Start out by creating two new pages on your website, one that has links for your review pages on Google, Facebook, Yelp or any other site that is important for your business. This page will be sent to people who were happy with your business.

The other page should have a contact form and will be sent to people who stated that they were unhappy or unsatisfied with your business, so keep that in mind when coming up with the copy for this page.

Next head over to your automated email sequence and insert a 5-star rating in your emails with each star being a separate image. Link stars 1 through 3 to the page on your site that you designed that is meant for unhappy customers, and link stars 4 and 5 to the page that was meant for happy customers and featured links to your review sites.

By doing this you can filter happy customers to your review sites, and handle unhappy customers internally and make sure that any issues are taken care of before they reach the review sites and affect your online rating.

We hope that these tips can help you improve your review rating and take your business to the next level. If you have any questions on these processes, or are interested in improving your online rating but don’t want to do it yourself, we are here to help and would be happy to work with you and help you out!

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