If you are wondering about your local business’ online reputation, improving your ranking in the SERPs, and ways you can help build or improve your local reviews, you’re in the right mindset. According to a 2022 study by BrightLocal, “More consumers are reading online reviews than ever before. In 2021, 77% ‘always’ or ‘regularly’ read them when browsing for local businesses (up from 60% in 2020).” Reviews play an integral role in your business’s online reputation and help build credibility. Making it easier for customers to leave a review can help increase your total volume of reviews and overall rating. Two ways to do this are requesting reviews via text or email follow-up and creating a Google review link shortcut.
It’s also vital to respond to all of your reviews, positive and negative. Potential customers not only look at reviews, but also notice when businesses respond. According to BrightLocal, “57% say they would be ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ likely to use a business that doesn’t respond to reviews at all.” Responding to reviews helps you build trust with your customers, so they can see how you handle interactions (positive & negative) with your clients.
Reviews are also helpful nuggets of information for your business and can identify any common themes that customers may be experiencing and allow you to make adjustments as necessary. They can also help find what customers enjoy most about your business so you can market these value proposition items more effectively.
Additionally, Google considers both the quality & quantity of reviews when determining the average position of your listing in the SERPs. The three main factors that impact rankings are relevance, distance, and prominence. Business reviews on local listings fall under the prominence category. Google factors in the frequency, recency, quality, and quantity of reviews, so having a high volume of reviews with a high average rating can improve your business’ local rank. According to Bright Local’s study: “Consumer use of Google to evaluate local businesses leaped from 63% in 2020 to 81% in 2021”, so focusing on your Google local listings is becoming increasingly important.
Finally, ensuring your local listings are optimized makes it easier for potential customers to find your business. Verifying your listing, adding photos, and keeping all your information up-to-date are all ways to keep your listings fully optimized and help improve your local rank.
If you’re looking for ways to help optimize your local listings on Google, LSM can help. Contact us today!