Why local business reviews matter for SEO

Whether it be from professional critics or (more importantly) from customers themselves, reviews are undoubtedly an important part of any business. They represent your customer relationship and the overall level of satisfaction with your service and/or goods.

Therefore, they have a direct impact on your reputation and can be a helpful way of ironing out any issues with your business by giving you a fresh perspective from the customers’ and critics’ point of view.

Studies have shown that reviews and recommendation are one of the most powerful tools when it comes your customers deciding to use your service or buy your product. This is especially the case if they come from a trusted source.

For example, 90% of users will read a review of a product before buying it and 72% of people will only buy something if they have read a positive review first. That’s over a third of your customer base which see reviews as a necessity in order to make a purchase.

Those customers can be the difference between success and struggle.

The effect on search engine exposure

Local business reviews have always mattered.

However, with more businesses relying on an online presence, these reviews arguably matter more than ever before, with that praise or criticism now available to view on a global level. One thing that many businesses have not realised however, is that a local business review can also have a measurable impact in terms of your SEO.

With that in mind, here is a selection of do’s and one don’ts that can help towards positive customer reviews.

How to improve the impact of local reviews on your business

Do:

  • Make customer service a priority:
    A recent survey showed that 57% of complaints were regarding poor customer service. So, ensure that your staff are well-trained to deal with any issues customers may face in a friendly and timely matter.
  • Deal with complaints professionally:
    Even with well-trained staff, customers can still sometimes feel let down by the service. If this is the case, then a competent, thought-through system to deal with any complaints in a helpful way should prevent mountains being made out of molehills. Other ways you can improve your complaints procedure is by making your business contact details easily available.
  • Take complaints to heart:
    If someone has an issue with your business, it’s likely others will too. So, don’t brush it under the carpet once that one incident has been resolved. Look at ways you can use this information to improve your business overall. View complaints as a canary in the coalmine, rather than an inconvenience.
  • Encourage reviews:
    Often people are quicker to complain than they are to compliment, leading many critical responses of businesses to be unfairly weighted towards the most negative customer experiences. The simplest way of redressing this balance is by encouraging positive reviews by making the process of leaving feedback quick and easy. As we’ve already mentioned, you should also drive home to your customers the importance of how much feedback means to you as a business. This way, those with positive experience will be much more likely to speak out, as they’ll feel their voice is important, while those with negative experiences will feel more supported.

Don’t:

  • Respond negatively to the customer review:
    Under no circumstances, no matter how unreasonable you might think a customer is being, should you ever respond to them in a negative fashion. We’ve all seen horror stories of business owners losing their tempers with customers over online reviews and it pretty much never ends well for the business. Even in the best-case scenario, you’ll simply come across as being extremely unprofessional.
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