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July 23, 2018

How Online Reviews Impact Local SEO and Your Bottom Line

As a businessperson or an entrepreneur, you establish yourself a reputation for your business which is a priceless and a vital asset. What your customers or people say about you and your business matters the most, especially when they are saying it online. 

Hence, it is important to pay attention to the feedback given by customers. Monitoring online reviews can help to improve your services. Though it may appear that online reviews are a very small part of your online presence, many shoppers rely on website reviews while shopping online. 

Customers buying decisions get influenced a lot by reading online reviews in this digital age.  

Thus, online reviews are crucial for a plethora of reasons and have major consequences due to their ability to affect:

  • Purchasing decisions of customers
  • Website ranking in local search engines
  • Search results that actually get viewed and clicked on etc. 

Overall, online reviews are as important building citations and optimizing your SEO strategy. 

How Consumers Use Online Reviews?

So, let’s see how online reviews have an impact on customer purchases. Reviews are important for any business especially when they fit perfectly into the purchasing cycle of your services and products. 

When people start reading reviews, they have already figured out what they need. Customers have tendency to immediately take decisions after reading some reviews. Hence, for small business, online reputation can influence their bottom line directly. 

How Many People Read Online Review?

Almost 84% of customers trust online reviews. So, the next question is how many reviews exactly do they read? About 68% of shoppers who read online reviews read at least 4 or more reviews before taking any decision or trusting any online business. 

However, shoppers keep changing their habits and even after reading a positive review, they do not directly visit your website. This definitely affects e-commerce traffic. But they now often get in touch via email or phone, or may even visit your business in person.

Why Online Reviews Matter for SEO Locally? 

Review business websites offer the most accurate information to customers. This helps  shoppers to discover, predict and make decisions about their purchases in future. Search engines like Google decide to rank search results on the basis of different variables which include:

  • Page signals
  • Review signals
  • On –page signals
  • Link signals
  • Behavioral signals etc. 

Online reviews make up around 10% of how the search engines will rank. 

Crafting a Review Acquisition Strategy:

Now, it is clear that online reviews are very important. The next step is to craft a review acquisition strategy and check how you can manage your online reputation proactively:  

Right Review Websites: Before creating any review acquisition strategy for small business, it is best to think about the right review platforms and websites which would work great for you. 

Begin with simple online research and check the results. Another thing you can do is to look for a ‘Knowledge Panel’ for the business and check the websites listed under ‘more reviews’. 

What is a Review Website’s Posting Policies?

To gain more reviews, it is important to understand the different review policies of each platform. 

Tips to Get Customer Reviews: 

Here are some more tips to help you get customer reviews:

  • Use Whitespark and Phil Rozek’s ‘Review Handout Generator’. It is designed to create handouts for customers. It offers clear-cut instructions which help customers to leave a review on Google for you.
  • Provide a link to your review profiles on an e-commerce website.
  • Generate print materials with a list of all the websites customers can use to review you.
  • If you don’t have the Yelp sticker, request a ‘Find Us on Yelp’.

Online Reputation Management:

Management of online reputation becomes fundamental once customers offer their feedback through reviews. Set up a service like Google Alerts to make sure you do not miss the feedback. This service notifies you every time your business is mentioned online. With this, you can always follow a proactive approach to maintain online reputation.

It is important to note both positive and negative reviews. Don’t panic when negative opinion about your business is shared. Don’t be tempted to contact the review platform and ask them to take the negative review down. 

Instead, take a deep breath, and deal like a boss with negative online reviews. Offer to make up for any inconvenience or dissatisfaction. Whenever possible, highlight the positive and take steps to improve the reasons for the negative criticism. 

Surely, if reviews are taken in the right way, they will help to improve your business.


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Catherine Park is a connector with Caffeinated who help businesses find their audience online. She loves working in the ever-changing world of digital and is fascinated by the role content plays in today’s marketing.

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