Google has made reviews more visible within its search results, which means that online reviews will have a massive impact on customer behavior and your company’s search performance. If you’re not taking the time to generate good reviews from prominent sites, your business may not get enough customer attention to stay afloat.
How Google changed search results
Google’s new search algorithm is designed to lead people to high-quality products and services. For instance, if you search "Acme Group Inc.", Google will show you something called a Knowledge Panel. Displayed on the right side of the search results, this panel includes information like address, hours, web address and more.
Over the last year, Google has been automatically aggregating and including online reviews to display in the Knowledge Panel.
Which review sites does Google include?
Relevant sites vary from industry to industry, so if you manage a restaurant, reviews from Yelp or Zagat will likely be displayed next to your online listings. If your business is a bit more niche, however, there are a few steps to determine which review sites affect you.
Go to Google and search for the following:
- “[your company name] reviews” - to locate sites that already have reviews on your business
- “[industry] reviews” - to determine industry review sites that you should be listed on
- “[industry + location] reviews” - to find review boards where you can boost your local presence
Then, record all the review sites you found on the first page of each search query and categorize them based on their search ranking and the current rating your company has on them.
Once you’ve produced a comprehensive list, write down an objective for each review site. This can range from getting listed on the site to improving your rating.
To narrow it down even further, focus your review generating efforts on the five most popular websites on your list, especially any that include disappointing reviews.
Of course, all this doesn’t matter if people aren’t writing reviews about your products and services. With that in mind, here are a few strategies that encourage people to rave about your business.
1. Send follow-up emails
After a customer has made a purchase, it’s a good idea to send a thank you email that includes a request to review your service.
2. Simplify the review process
Many customers opt to skip writing a review because there are too many steps to express their opinion. Simplify this process by having a review site already opened on your smart tablet and asking your customers to comment on your service before they leave your venue.
3. Offer rewards for reviews
Another way to encourage people to rate your business is by presenting them with a chance to win free goods or services if they submit a review.
Though there’s a lot of steps involved in managing your online reputation, starting early will enhance your SEO, attract new customers, and improve your bottom line.
If you need more advice on climbing up Google’s search rankings or tips on social media management, contact us today.
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