Online Reviews Are More Important Now Than Ever
Google is passing less traffic on to websites from local search results
According to Darren Shaw of Whitespark, clicks to your website from GMB are decreasing.
Clicks to your website from GMB are down. Google has been adding a ton of features to local results, so that you don’t need to visit the website. You can get all of the info you need right in the local search results. You can no longer rely on just having an awesome website to get conversions. You need to make your listing awesome, and reviews are one of the most powerful ways to do this.
Google local search results used to take you to a website. Now local search users are directed to the Maps Listings. And Google has continued to add features to the Maps - Local Finder - Google My Business listings that now have everything a searcher needs to know about a company, without the need to click on the website link.
If your listing doesn't have all of the info that a competitor's listing has, the chances of the searcher clicking through to your website is nil. They will click the Map result with the most info. And the most powerful info is reviews. So optimize your Google Local Listing - and get more reviews.
Reviews improve search rankings
According to Darren Shaw,
In the 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors, we saw an increase of 21.53% in the importance of Review Signals. Local search practitioners are noticing the powerful impact that reviews can have on rankings. Some of it is likely direct, but a side ranking benefit might come from engagement factors. Listings with more reviews are going to get more clicks and users will spend more time looking at those listings.
Which of these listings would you choose?
But how long will this last?
Google changes constantly, and 2 or 3 years from now, when everybody has a hundred 5 star reviews, how will a business stand out?
Who knows. But right now, there is a easily implemented opportunity. Get more reviews!
How to get more reviews
Here are some suggestions for getting more 5 star reviews.
- Be awesome at what you do - the best way to get possitive reviews is to provide value to your customers
- Ask every customer for a review - ask at the time of sale or service, while they feel the value
- Follow up with every customer - next day follow up, every time
- Get a Google review link - you can generate your own with Whitespark's Google Link Generator
- Use the Google Review Link everywhere - Business cards, signs, email signatures, newsletters on POS receipts, social media
How to NOT ask for reviews
- Don’t offer incentives for reviews - Don’t give discounts, gift cards, or anything else in exchange for a review. It’s a violation of Google’s guidelines and you could get all your reviews taken down
- Don't review your own business
- Don't add reviews in bulk - too many reviews at one time may trigger the Google police
- Don't get too many reviews from a single IP address - in-store kiosks for reviews are a bad idea
- According to Google's guidelines, you cannot ask only happy customers. Ask everyone. Just make more Happy customers (see number 1 above)
Get reviews from more than just Google
You should build your review inventory on more than just Google, There are many sites, some dependent on industry, where reviews can help your business organically, and actually have the reviews show up in the search results. Facebook is an obvious source, but sites like Angie's List, Home Advisor and YELP are all options. Rotate appropriate sites into your review asks.
Using review/reputaion management software can help here as well.
Final tips to get more reviews online
I have referred to Whitespark's Darren Shaw's post for some of the content in this post. Two reasons for that. It's an excellent post AND I am a Whitepark customer and their products and services are excellent. So I'm going to list Darren's top four ways to get more reviews:
- Ask in person: “Would you be willing to leave us an online review?”
- Hand them a card with a shortlink to the review site.
- Send a thank you email and include the link again.
- Send a follow up one week later if they haven’t left a review yet.
When I was selling cars, many of our customers used sites like Cars.com and Autotrader.com to research during the pre-purchase period. I had, more positive reviews, by far, than anyone else I knew.
I did all of the above things that Darren suggests.
And I provided a great purchase experience.
But I also told each of my customers how important a positive review would be for me, personally.
Most people want to help you. I got some truly incredible reviews, from folks I had only known for a few hours.
If you have any questions or additional tips on getting more 5 star reviews on Google and elsewhere, please leave a comment.