After you complete a purchase, it’s becoming increasingly common to receive a text or email asking you to leave a review. Businesses are prioritizing reviews with good reason. In recent months, soliciting reviews has shifted from a nicety to a necessity.
Prospective customers read reviews.
According to Brightlocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey 2023*, 76 percent of consumers regularly use client reviews to research local businesses, and 87% of consumers use Google reviews specifically. This number has increased by 25% since 2020. Google also maintains the largest number of reviews. Other review platforms – including Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor and Better Business Bureau – remain relevant but maintain less than 25 percent of all online reviews.
Google factors reviews into rankings.
As the most prominent search engine, a local business’s Google ranking is crucial. As consumers continue to place more priority on reviews, so does Google. Reviews have always been factored into rankings, but in recent months, reviews are becoming increasingly relevant. While Google doesn’t publicly release information on ranking factors, performance trends indicate that Google reviews are the second most important ranking factor for Google Maps, after geographic relevance.
How should business owners respond?
Claim and maintain your Google Business Profile. Make sure your business profile is accurate and consistent with your website and other online platforms, such as Facebook.
Develop a rhythm for soliciting client reviews. There are a variety of reputation management tools that make it simple to request client reviews, much like the example at the beginning of this post. Google also provides a Google Reviews link you can use to send clients directly. The old adage “quality over quantity” doesn’t necessarily ring true here. In the case of Google reviews, it’s more accurate to say “quality AND quantity”. A good rule of thumb is to gather more reviews than your highest-ranking competitors. If you are just starting out, don’t flood your profile with a ton of reviews at once. Google may consider this a sign of fake reviews, even if this is not the case.
Respond to client reviews. There is evidence that Google factors review responses into your ranking, so take a moment to thank the reviewer for sharing their experience. Research also suggests that consumers will consider how you respond to reviews – especially negative reviews – when making a buying decision, so kindness and empathy are key, even if you feel like the reviewer is unreasonable or communicating false information.
Client reviews can be an invaluable tool in your SEO arsenal, giving consumers confidence to engage with your business and Google evidence to increase your ranking position. Alive Media offers comprehensive search engine optimization (SEO) services, to help your business achieve and retain visibility in search rankings. Contact Us today to learn more.