How strong is your SEO performance right now? Are you ranking for the keywords you’ve strategically optimized? Do you see more and more users coming to your site and converting from an online search?
That’s great and all, but chances are you’ve still got some work to do. The world of SEO is ever-changing, and it requires constant effort if you want to stay on top. Not to mention, sometimes, the best SEO tools are things you can’t control but rather encourage – like local business reviews.
The more positive local business reviews your business generates, the better your local rankings will be. Keep reading to discover the top 5 benefits of online reviews.
1. They’re User-Generated Content
It’s no secret that content is king in SEO. You need to generate new, relevant content on a consistent basis to keep people engaged, and sometimes that means recycling content.
That’s not enough, though! Google also crawls for user-generated content.
In fact, search bots love this. When they read a review that people have written about your business, they’re able to trust you more. It’s easier to understand who you are and what you do when so many people are talking about it.
This makes you more valuable in the eyes of Google because it can tell you’re doing something right to keep consumers happy.
2. They Increase Your Brand Reputation
Keep in mind that user-generated content can be anything. It’s not limited to reviews that people leave on your website or social media pages. The reviews on third-party sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Glassdoor, and, of course, your Google My Business page are included, too.
All of these things add up to create your online brand reputation. They go hand in hand with your overall brand image, but if anything, your online reputation matters a little bit more.
Think about it: you engage with more users in a digital space than you do in person, especially first-time users. When people first discover you online, you want to make sure you’re giving them a good impression.
Part of this means getting found in the first place, which the rest of your SEO efforts and the amount of user-generated content for your business are taking care of. But once you’ve reached a user, you have to hook them. A good reputation helps.
3. They Boost Online Engagements
When a user is hooked, they engage. Potential new customers and old users alike are more likely to have longer, more valuable engagements on your website when you have more local business reviews to show for yourself.
This is because positive reviews build their trust. More so, they get people excited to find out more about you! All it takes is a minute or two to read a handful of good reviews.
This has the potential to result in a user spending 5-10 minutes scanning your website and deciding whether or not they’d like to make a purchase.
4. They Build Lasting Relationships
Maybe you’re already seeing good traffic numbers and low bounce rates on your site, but you’re having trouble getting repeat business. Local business reviews can help.
The best thing you can do when you get a new review is to respond to it. This tells whoever shared their thoughts that their feedback matters. It makes them feel like a valuable customer and builds their brand loyalty significantly.
This applies to good reviews and bad reviews alike. Bad reviews require a little more work on your end, though. You have to go above and beyond to make things right again for a disappointed user. Even if they don’t take your offer, at least show you’re willing to try.
Remember, everyone is watching. The conversation you have with someone who left a review isn’t just between you and that person.
Future users who scroll through reviews will be more interested in you because they see the care you have for each and every single customer experience.
5. They Start the Buyer Journey
Another thing local business reviews can do for you is create more powerful actions that jumpstart the buyer journey. Traditionally, a user goes online and searches for a product or service.
Then, they go through a few search results and click on multiple business’ landing pages before moving forward with their purchase.
Local reviews speed up the process. If a user searches for you and sees your reviews, they’re more likely to pick up the phone and call your store or go straight to your brick and mortar location. They skip visiting your website altogether and dive right into your business.
This may lower your digital traffic, but it significantly increases your overall sales numbers and profit. Sounds like a pretty good trade off, right?
This shift in consumer behavior isn’t happening across the board, but it’s a trend paying attention to. More and more people are choosing to engage with a business directly after reading good reviews than to continue their research.
Learn How to Leverage Local Business Reviews from the Pros
It’s one thing to read about what local business reviews can do for your online performance, and another to know how to leverage these benefits. Not to mention, you need to work on generating reviews before you can start enjoying what they offer!
Increasing the rate of online reviews you get doesn’t happen overnight. But, it can happen pretty quickly if you know how to encourage user feedback and be receptive to it.
For professional support with this aspect of your SEO strategy and more, click here.