Most brick-and-mortar business owners nowadays are well aware of the power of online reviews.
At one point or another, they’ve received a good—or bad—review which has most likely impacted their business one way or another.
There is a distinct correlation between positive reviews and how they affect your local SEO. We’re going to look at online reviews and what local Raleigh businesses can do to help improve their local SEO rankings.
How to Get Started
Google My Business is the place where you can create a free account and manage the local SEO information of both your business and website. If you haven’t yet set one up, click that link and do so. Be sure to fill out your business info accurately.
Click the blue “Manage Now” button, and it will take you step-by-step as you create your new Google My Business account. The entire process will take anywhere from 15 minutes to half an hour.
Google’s Official Viewpoint
When it comes to the power of online reviews, Google has stated the following:
High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location. Encourage customers to leave feedback by creating a link they can click to write reviews.”
Responding to both good and bad reviews not only helps establish trust with people, but it also builds it with the Google search engine. The algorithms that run the Google search engine are looking for trustworthy businesses.
It stands to reason that the more Google trusts your business, the higher it will rank in local SEO. This means more direct traffic to your company and website.
Harvard Business Review published an article that stated that replying to customer reviews can significantly help improve your rankings. It found that hotels who responded to user reviews saw their ratings increase by 0.12 stars and 12% increase in more reviews.
Build Your Review Response Strategy
Photo credit: Kaleidico
Once you’ve created a free profile on Google My Business, it’s now time to take a few and develop a review response strategy.
- How will you respond to the good reviews?
- How will you respond to bad reviews?
- How long will you take to respond to a new review?
There are several ways you can go about monitoring for recent reviews. You can actively visit your Google My Business page daily, or you can purchase a recurring monthly subscription to a 3rd party tool that provides an easy-to-use way of responding to reviews.
Respond to Both Kinds of Reviews
Don’t just respond to the good reviews and ignore the bad ones. It makes your company seem stiff and unwilling to work with the customer. Keep in mind that some of the customer complaints can be chalked up to a simple misunderstanding.
By responding to the reviews, you’re not only showing your customers you care, but you might gain valuable insights into certain aspects of your business that aren’t working well, or ones that you need to modify.
How to Respond to Positive Reviews
You should first thank the customer for their excellent review. They took their own personal time to write a review about your business, and your response should reflect that gratitude.
While you can provide a canned or generic response, it’s not as authentic as taking a specific example from their review and expanding upon it. This shows people that you care and that, in turn, builds trust.
Close your response with something that gets them to come back. Whether it’s thanking them for their patronage or letting them know of an upcoming special, promo, or new product, you’re keeping one foot in the proverbial door which will allow them to come back again.
How to Respond to Negative Reviews
Before you respond to a negative review, make sure that you’ve removed ALL emotion from inside your head—as it can unintentionally trickle down into your online response. Negative customer interactions are part of life when it comes to running a business. You can’t please everyone all of the time.
If you respond to a negative review while you’re still emotional or hot-headed, you could unintentionally use language or a write your response in a tone of voice that paints both you and your business in a bad or dismissive light.
Once your head is clear, look at the negative review and try to incorporate some or all of the following:
- Apologize – Even if they were in the wrong, apologize, and thank them for their “constructive feedback.” No business is perfect, and while these kinds of reviews are harsh, they can help improve business practices.
- Keep it Short – Try not to have a back-and-forth with the customer online. Invite the customer to take the conversation offline to an email or phone call. Don’t air your dirty laundry for all to see. Then try to resolve the situation in favor of the customer.
- Be Polite – Last, but most certainly not least, BE POLITE. Online reviews are a permanent record of how your company deals with customer service. This is where you want to put your best foot forward, which will inevitably instill trust in future potential customers or clients.
Marketing Help in Raleigh
If your Raleigh business needs help with your local SEO, reviews, or any aspect of online or offline marketing, give us a call. At AlphaGraphics of Raleigh, we’re much more than a print shop.
We’re also marketing experts who you can count on to help you when it comes time to market your business. To learn more about how AlphaGraphics of Downtown Raleigh can help with your content marketing needs, you may email us or request a quote or call us at (919) 832-2828.