Why Reviews Matter (and How to Get More)

How Reviews Impact Your Brand’s Online Presence

It would be nice to think that you’re completely in control of your brand’s online presence. After all, you’ve painstakingly dialed in every detail of your website, and you keep all of your social media profiles meticulously updated. But there’s one vital element you can’t leave up to chance. Reviews. What your customers say about you online can be one of the most crucial factors in drawing new customers to your brand — or keeping them away.

Reviews and Search Engine Rankings

Let’s start with the bottom line: The more reviews you have, the better your search engine rankings will be. Period.

A study of more than 100,000 reviews and 22,000 local Google listings showed a direct correlation between the number of reviews your business has and its ranking on Google. The top three results in a Google search typically have at least double the number of reviews as the next three results.

Every new review you receive signals the search engines that your brand is a valuable resource for your products and services which adds to your site’s authority and relevance. This in turn means you move up in the local and organic rankings.

Customers are already seeking reviews to decide where to shop. If you have more reviews, those prospective customers are more likely to be able to find you in the first place.

The Effect of Positive Reviews

Increasingly, customers trust reviews from an online commenter as much as they would a personal recommendation from a trusted friend. In fact, 97 percent of online consumers read online reviews at least once during any given year, and 85 percent of consumers trust them implicitly.

On a local level, 75 percent of customers state that reading a positive review online is enough to make them trust the business reviewed. Additionally, 84 percent of customers trust reviews when they believe they’re authentic or when they see multiple reviews for a given product, service or business. Studies also show that customers spend 41 percent more time on a website when they read positive reviews there.

What your reviewers say about your company counts far more than what you say about yourself. One study showed that customers are 10 percent more likely to consider a site trustworthy if it contains reviews — even when looking at a site where everything else is the same.

Reviews even matter when your customers are on the road, rather than shopping from their laptops, with 32 percent of consumers reading reviews on their mobile devices while out and about.

Can you afford to lose all this positive goodwill and word-of-mouth by not having reviews published online and on your website?

Reviews and Customer Engagement

Customers crave data. They also crave authentic emotional connection. Reviews on your website are where the two come together.

When a potential customer reads reviews on your website, they make a connection to the positive experience of previous customers. They sense that your brand is transparent and authentic, that you’re a company that cares what your customers think and feel. And as a result, they will stick around on your site, staying there longer and deepening the engagement with your brand.

As a result, you not only begin to build a relationship with a new customer. You also help boost your site’s rankings (yes, those again) because of the increased time your visitors are spending on site and your lowered bounce rate.

How Reviews Affect Your Visibility and Traffic

Because reviews drive your rankings, they help drive your brand’s visibility. Every single review your company receives, including from sites like Yelp and Facebook, signal the search engines that your brand is a valuable resource.

That means the more reviews you get, the easier your potential customers can find you without scrolling or clicking through multiple pages of search results. And the easier they can find you, the more likely you are to see increased traffic, leads and revenue. SEO experts agree that increasing importance is being given to reviews, even when compared to social media, so getting new reviews should be part of your digital marketing strategy to attract more customers to your business.

How Our Review+ Solution Can Help You

So how can you generate and leverage online reviews to improve your brand’s online presence, boost traffic and get more customers? We’re glad you asked.

At Big Tuna, we created our Review+ solution just for you. Take a look at what Review+ can do for you and your brand:

Boost Your Review Numbers. Review+ helps you get new reviews — yes, positive ones — and fresh reviews improve rankings.

Showcase Positive Reviews. When your visitors read positive reviews on your website, they develop a relationship of trust with your brand which helps convert them to lifelong customers.

Shoot for the Stars. When your Star Ratings are displayed in organic search results it will improve your click-through-rate which positively affects traffic and rankings.

Control Your Online Image. Review+ lets you manage your reputation online by giving you the opportunity to resolve customer concerns before they reach the public.

Stay on Top of Everything. When your customers leave reviews for your business — no matter where they leave them — you get to see them right away, so you can respond and say thank you.

Learn More & Get Help!

Call 480-912-3176 today and find out how Big Tuna’s Review+ reputation management solution can boost your online presence and attract more customers to your business.

The Advantage of Using Google Business

Having your business Google Places Optimization listed with Google is one of the easiest–and completely free–things you can do to help improve your company’s online visibility. It allows you to provide accurate, up-to-date information on your business which can be accessed by both existing and potential customers.

We can’t stress enough, especially for small businesses, how important Google is. It is the modern day Yellow Pages–and then some. Google keeps tabs on just about everything–and that includes a large population of potential customers for your business.

Give Your Small Business Visibility Online

There are a lot of neat tricks and info you can display on your Google listing, but the most important thing is this: When someone in your area does a key term search–e.g. “construction companies in Madison, WI”–your business is MORE likely to pop up on page 1 of Google, especially if you have plenty of reviews.

“What if I don’t have the time?”

If you have at least 10 minutes to spare, you have plenty of time. Just follow these instructions and get your business on Google now.

Step 1 – Add or Claim Your Business through Google Business:

You may already have a listing, so be sure to check and see if Google has your information. If so, you can click “claim your listing” after agreeing to Google’s terms of service.

If you have to add your business listing, make sure you meet all of the guidelines for representing your business on Google beforehand.

Step 2 – Verifying Your Business

Depending on the type of business you run or whether you have previously used some of Google’s applications, there are several ways to verify your business. For most businesses, you will be sent a postcard with a verification code to the address you list your business at.

Some select companies are qualified for phone verification, and if you have been using Google Webmaster Tools, you likely will be able to use instant verification.

If you are having trouble claiming your listing, someone may have already verified your business. Should this be an issue, follow the instructions provided here.

Step 3 – Adding Business Information to Your Google Page

If you haven’t already, log in to Google My Business and click the edit button in the upper right hand corner of the screen.

Check the sections you want to change. Google allows you to edit your business name, address (or the option not to show your exact address), contact information, category (what your business is), hours of operation, description and photos.

Once you’re satisfied with the changes you’ve made, click Done editing. Keep in mind it may take up to 60 days to delete information you’ve previously added.

After everything is verified, you now have a great tool at your command. An optimized Google Business page is an excellent way for you to generate some positive reviews which, in turn, will increase the SEO value of your website. And most importantly of all, the largest, most valuable web company in the world is linking to your website.

Why You Need Positive Reviews for Your Business

Nearly 70 percent of internet users read online reviews when researching businesses they are considering working with. Furthermore, 79 percent of consumers trust online reviews almost as much as personal recommendations. In other words, if positive online reviews about your business aren’t readily accessible you’re missing out on business.

So how do you actually get reviews? Here are some helpful (and easy-to-do) tips:

Make it easy

How to get reviews People generally feel little motivation to leave a review in the first place, let alone are willing to jump through hoops of fire to do so. If you haven’t done so already, take 10 minutes out of your day and sign up with a review website like Google Business or Yelp.com

Once you “Claim Your Business Page” and verify your listing you’re ready to start getting reviews. Be sure not only to add social media buttons to your website, but into your email signature as well.

Just ask

87 percent of small businesses do not ask their customers to post reviews. It seems obvious, but asking customers who use your services to leave you a review is important not only for the reviews itself but also for the SEO value of a verified listing with positive reviews.

Keep in mind that not every customer is a good customer to leave a review. You likely want to request a review from a client who you go above and beyond for or if they express how incredibly impressed they were with your services.

Regardless, keep engaged with your customers. A good way to do this is to send a follow up email about your services. And if they agree to leave a review, but don’t, send them a gentle reminder a week later.

Don’t buy, but do incentivize

Paying people to write good reviews seems like a smart idea, but it’s likely to come back and bite you later. That being said, offering incentives – coupons, discounts, referral offers, contests – can be a great motivator for people to get on their laptop or smart phone and type out a sentence or two.

The key with incentives is to make sure you’re not asking for good reviews. Rather, you’re seeking your customer’s honest option. And incentives don’t have to be exclusive to your customers. If you have staff to work with, make reviews a part of their work. Offer bonuses or whatever works for your specific business to employees who get customer reviews.

Respond to reviews

Positive or otherwise, thank your customers for leaving a review. You can’t erase negative reviews, but Yelp and other sites allow you to respond to customers and do a certain amount of damage control in the case of a less than positive review.

Finally, be patient. Choose one or two sites and focus your attention on building up your reviews slowly rather than en masse. Take your time and invest yourself to show customers that you really do appreciate their feedback and their business. A bunch of reviews that show up all at once will trigger filters, reviews that arrive organically over longer periods of time are much more valuable.

If you’re interested in generating positive online reviews for your business as well as gaining additional SEO value from your third-party reviews, check out the Big Tuna’s unique program, Review+.

Trusted Reviews