Online Review Management for Local SEO - A Brief Guide
Why Online Review are Important for your business?
An online review management strategy is vital for your local business’s presence and online conversions. Your potential customers rely highly on the reviews and experiences of similar customers when making purchase decisions, making review management essential to any local business’s online presence and strategy. We have highlighted some reasons that make review management necessary for your local SEO strategy.
A. Social Proof
Social Proof is the idea that people are influenced by the actions and opinions of others with similar experiences. When your potential customers see positive reviews of your business online, it increases their confidence and trusts in your product or services. In the case of local businesses, Social Proof is even more critical as customers are more likely to trust people’s opinions in their community or neighborhood.
B. Increase in Trust
Good reviews can also help increase the trust of your customers in your business and vice versa. When potential customers see that others have had a good experience with their business, they are more likely to trust that they will have a similar experience too. On the other hand, negative reviews can harm your business’s online reputation and decrease trust in your business.
C. Provides Real Feedback
An excellent local SEO review management strategy also helps your business generate valuable customer feedback and insights. It could tell you what your customers like or dislike about your products and services. In the long term, this feedback can help you optimize your products and services and improve your overall value proposition.
D. Important Local SEO Ranking Factor
Review management is also considered a crucial local SEO ranking factor by Google and other search engines. Businesses with positive reviews on your Google Business Profile and other review websites such as Yelp, Foursquare, and Yellow Pages are ranked higher on Google regularly. These platforms also help customers search and sort through businesses based on their ratings, hence making a robust online review management strategy for your local SEO is essential for your business’s long-term growth.
E. More Clicks and Conversions
Reviews can lead to more people clicking on your business profiles and website. According to Brightlocal, 77% of people refer to local reviews when researching local businesses. Since they actively seek out reviews before making a purchase decision, a positive view can increase the likelihood of customers choosing your business over your competitors.
How to do Review Management?
Review management is an in-depth and lengthy process that requires focus, patience, and a clear strategy to really impact your local SEO. We have identified some important steps and sub steps in the review management process.
1. Review Generation
Review generation is, of course, the 1st and the most essential element of the review management process for local SEO. Your local business can collect reviews for their Google business profile or any other review management platform in several ways.
Asking Customer for Reviews
One of the most obvious ways a business can generate reviews is by asking customers directly to provide feedback on these review platforms.
In Person Request reviews
There are several ways of achieving this. The most common and easy way is to have the customer respond and provide their review through an in-person request. I’ve had a lot of success as the customer, in case of a positive experience, is less likely to decline your request when they’re not in front of you.
Incentivize the customers
Customers can also be incentivized through discount gifts and gift schemes that can help motivate them to provide a review for your business. These incentives can be provided through social media or website calls to action to encourage the customers more.
Use Review Management Tools and review sites
Several online review management software and tools and review management system are available online that can help businesses generate and manage reviews. These tools can help automate asking for reviews and provide analytics and progress. Some popular review management tools include Bright Local, Bird Eye, and Podium.
Reputation and Review Generation Services
If you value your review management process more and would like to have a more professional approach towards it, then you can also avail the services of various reputation and review management services and agencies that can help you in your review management and review generation goals. You can also check our review management services. Alternatively, several reputation management software can be used.
2. Responding to Reviews
One crucial aspect of the review management process is responding to reviews. Not only responding to reviews is essential from a search engine ranking and local SEO perspective and helps you rank higher on your local SEO campaigns, but at the same time, responding to both positive and negative reviews is highly valued by your customers and, at times can also help mitigate and reduce the damage of negative review if any. We will briefly discuss how to manage different types of reviews on your profiles.
Responding to Positive Reviews
you should respond to positive reviews by thanking the customers for choosing your business for their products and services. This also helps reinforce the positive experience they must have had to provide that positive review. These positive reviews are also used in your promotional activities and increase trust in your new and potential customers.
Responding to Negative Reviews.
Negative reviews are more challenging but more critical to address than positive ones. Negative reviews should be addressed promptly and professionally. You should acknowledge the customer’s negative experience and apologize for the cause. It is recommended to avoid being defensive or argumentative, which can make things worse. In best practices, businesses have made up for their mistakes by providing freebies, discounts, and other incentives to those customers who have provided negative reviews. This is a great way to turn your negative into a positive end, turning a bad experience into a good one.
3. Monitoring Reviews
Another step of the review management process is the monitoring of reviews. Once your online profile starts generating reviews, it is vital to monitor them regularly; you can do this by keeping track of your review sites responding to both positive and negative reviews. We recommend using tools like Brightlocal to track your review reviews in one platform. Brightlocal has an excellent review analytics solution to measure cumulative review ratings and the month-by-month review management progress.
4. Review Promotion
Last but not least, local businesses can also use positive customer reviews in their marketing and communication. Promoting your customer reviews, as mentioned before, can help increase your customer’s trust and provide social Proof. Once can argue that it’s an important aspect of managing online reviews.
In the end, review management is a crucial element of any business’s online presence; by generating, monitoring, and responding to reviews, and feedback, your business can improve its reputation, increase customer trust and generate more local business.
We at Blue Oak Digital highly recommend pursuing a comprehensive online review management strategy and Local SEO Services for managing reviews to reap its multiple rewards.