In the digital age where customers leave online reviews for everyone to access, how you manage online reviews can make or break your business. While positive reviews can market your brand and bring in more customers, bad reviews can ruin your brand image and reduce your revenue. This is where online review management comes in.
With proper online review management, you can boost your local SEO, and increase your brand’s online visibility and accessibility. Read on to learn more about online review management and how you can ensure successful online review management for local SEO.
What is Online Review Management?
Online review management refers to the process of monitoring, analyzing, generating, and responding to online reviews on review websites as part of a business marketing strategy. It may also be to improve the overall performance of your business. Popular websites for online reviews include Yelp, Google My Business, Angie’s List, and even social media platforms like Facebook.
Importance of Online Reviews for Local SEO
Online reviews are a critical component of local SEO. To help you appreciate the importance of online review management, here are the benefits of online reviews for local SEO.
- More Click through rates. 87% of buyers look for 3 to 5-star reviews before engaging a business. If your website has a review rating between the ideal ranges, you get more click-through rates from the review websites, which enhances your domain authority. Lower ratings, on the other hand, result in low click-through rates as it discourages potential customers.
- Search Engine Ranking: Online reviews are a ranking factor for Google. Some of the ranking considerations include the volume of reviews, frequency, and diversity. High quality and regular reviews with more positive feedback earn your local business a higher ranking.
- Reviews Add Content to Your Website: When writing reviews about your business, customers use specific keywords relating to your business, services, or products. With more clients using the keywords in their feedback, search engines pick up the pattern and associate the keywords with your website. With time, the keywords your clients use in their local searches can make your page rank higher on search engines, boosting your Local SEO.
Tips for Successful Online Review Management for Local SEO
Creating and implementing a sound online review management strategy doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are a few tips you can use to achieve successful online review management for local SEO.
1. Create a Google My Business Page
If you don’t have a Google My Business Page for your local business, it can be difficult to rank with reviews. To enhance your local SEO, create a Google My Business page, and fill your profile with accurate information. Remember to provide as many relevant details about your business as possible.
Details to fill in include what your business does, the category your business fits into, opening and closing times, as well as business addresses and local contacts (telephone number). You can also include your customer reviews. Once you claim your page, you can begin collecting customer reviews to use for your local SEO.
2. Respond to Reviews
Always respond to reviews, regardless of whether they are negative or positive. For positive reviews, simply thanking the customer and asking them to do business with you again in the future may be all your need. However, negative reviews require more attention.
When responding to negative reviews, be accountable, acknowledge the client’s concerns, and apologize for the negative experience. Also, assure them by explaining how you plan to remedy the situation and prevent similar occurrences in the future. Responding to client feedback promotes engagement and builds trust.
3. Monitor Online Reviews
You should monitor the reviews on your priority review sites so you can respond to customers. By monitoring your online reviews, you can manage any negative feedback and mitigate the negative impact they may have on your online reputation, as well as ranking.
Monitoring tools like Google Alerts that notify you when your business receives a mention online can make the process less stressful. Note that many unanswered negative reviews can affect your local pack position, thus hurting your ranking.
4. Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews
To ensure the success of online review management for local SEO, you need online reviews to work with. Encourage your clients to leave feedback by creating a review landing page or adding a review section to your website. Alternatively, you can provide comment cards with logos and addresses of review sites to your customers or conduct an email campaign.
Avoid bribing your customers for positive reviews as they may not give you the accurate data you need to make intelligent business decisions. Once you learn how to get online reviews from customers, you can take the necessary steps to make the reviews work for you.
5. Claim Your Business on Relevant Review Sites
Besides creating a Google My Business page, you should also claim your business on all relevant sites. When you claim your page, you gain control over its contents and improve your rank listings. While some sites use public information to create pages for businesses, others do so only when customers review your business.
Sites to consider include, Yelp, Zomato, and Trip Advisor depending on your industry. With more reviews across multiple websites, it is easier for search engines to establish the relevance and quality of your business so they can share with local searchers.
The above information can help you formulate an effective online review management strategy to boost your local SEO and grow your business. Remember that authenticity is crucial, and fake reviews can do more harm than good to your credibility and business success in the long run.