The Important Role of Customer Reviews When it Comes to Local SEO

Why Customer Reviews are Important for Local SEOCustomer reviews are defined as a sentimental message written by a customer on your website supporting or exposing your products or services. These can be left on Yelp, Google, or Facebook mainly but there are many other options (e.g. Superpages, Bing, TripAdvisor, Healthgrades) where you can leave them too. You may be a little worried about this action since you’re not in control, but you should know that you can still take some major steps to influence and contribute to building a positive reputation for your brand here while also benefiting your local SEO.

Set the Review Stage

As a business owner, you set company policies and train your staff to lead your customers through an enjoyable buying experience with you. You have more power here than you believe so it’s possible to get a lot of great feedback.

You Make the Company Complaint-Friendly

By catching complaints before they transform into negative customer reviews you save everyone a lot of trouble. You can take these steps to train your staff to be able to do this:

  • Hang signs in your store that warmly invite your patrons to immediately inform you about anything they’re unhappy or unsatisfied with.
  • Post a mobile-friendly complaint form on your website.
  • Pay attention to what’s said about you on social media, always doing your best to fix anything that’s brought to your attention as soon as possible.
  • Make sure your staff is trained to ask customers for their feedback at the time of service.

Claim Your Major Review Profiles

Many platforms will let you respond to reviews as the business’ owner. Besides trying to correct negative customer reviews, make sure you say “thank you” for the positive ones. Get started with this by claiming your business profiles on the websites and platforms your consumers use most (something you can find by doing a simple Google search for your business name “+ reviews”).

Encourage Customer Reviews

Make sure you follow the website’s policy in doing so though (e.g. Yelp doesn’t want you to request reviews, but Google does). Failure to comply with their guidelines can get you publicly shamed or your profile removed. You should never pay customers or marketers for reviews either. Instead, let your customers make their own reviews using their own devices.

It’s important to get as many reviews as possible because 65% of people admit that this truly influences whether they use a business. Some of the best ways to encourage your customers to leave reviews is to:

  • Email your customer shortly after the time of service and ask them to leave a review
  • Include a “Review Us” page on your website with links to your major review profiles
  • Ask for reviews on your print material (e.g. receipts, handouts, cards)
  • Make a personal request for a review at the end of a transaction

Carefully Respond to Negative Reviews

It’s important to always monitor all your profiles so you can act quickly when you get negative customer reviews. In replying, you should never blame your customer or your staff; accuse your customer of lying or exaggerating; refuse to apologize or be accountable; or use unprofessional language. Instead, here’s what you’ll want to do:

  • Offer a brief but sincere apology and a way to make amends
  • Express empathy
  • Accept complete responsibility
  • Express your commitment to fixing the problem
  • Be as transparent and honest as possible

Sometimes keeping up with your brand’s customer reviews can be overwhelming, but considering how they can impact your local SEO, this is something you must do. Fortunately, the Local SEO Company has helped many businesses with this over the years and they can help you too. Reach out to them today to get started.