Local businesses often find it difficult to get a higher ranking on search engines. However, it is crucial for business as 73% consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a business.
7 out of 10 customers would also leave a review for a local business if asked.
Local SEO is becoming more and more competitive as businesses recognize that they have to optimize for local search. Google has gradually taken away the prime spots from local businesses on the first page of SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) by reducing the number of local results showing up in the “Local Pack”, thus dropping some businesses displayed from seven listings to just three listings.
Over time, local search ranking factors have also changed dramatically, thus making it more difficult to rank for local search keywords. It is crucial to understand the dynamic local SEO environment if you have a local business.
For an entrepreneur, reputation is the most invaluable asset. What people are saying about your business matters and that is typically true when it comes to customers online.
For retailers, it is important to listen to those feedbacks and monitor online reviews from customers. Although it might seem like a minuscule task to do, the bigger picture is startlingly different. More shoppers depend on review websites to decide what products or services they should buy. In the modern digital age, 93% of customers say that their buying decision is influenced by online reviews.
Online reviews are, therefore, crucial for various reasons, and have major implications affecting:
• Local search engine ranking
• Search results that surface and get clicked on
• Consumer purchase decisions
A local SEO agency is the best guide for this purpose.
Getting Acquainted with Google My Business
You have a business. You want to get online attention. But, you do not have a website. So what do you do?
Using Google My Business page, you can still list your business online and enjoy the benefits of reaching your target audience. Google allows you to set up a blank template of a page, which is easy to customize for business, and free.
Google My Business is one user-friendly template that allows you to add your company’s name, phone numbers, address, email address, fax number, and other contact information. It also enables your customers to call you directly from the site and get directions to locate you.
Whenever you have new events or exciting information to share with customers, you can edit the page and allow your customers to know about it with. Make sure you write short paragraphs with some images.
Business owners having marketing expertise can take optimum advantage of keywords, linking, alt tags, meta descriptions, and other SEO strategies. Most importantly, customers can also leave a review on the Google My Business page. Irrespective of positive or negative reviews, it gives a chance for businesses to connect with customers in real-time, thank them for their review, and offer to turn negative reviews into a positive experience.
Google My Business Insights is a very useful feature, which tells you exactly how customers found you. The platform increases business rankings if you have a low-grade website or don’t have one at all.
Reviews affect Business Owners – & Google too
Local SEO Guide’s annual study of local SEO ranking factors reveals that customer reviews play a key role in search engine rankings of local search. The study further analyzed over 200 factors related to more than 100,000 businesses.
The study also disclosed the local ranking factors that help local businesses with ranking. It established the connection between local ranking factors and organic ranking factors. As a result, businesses with higher ranking showed high in local pack.
How Google Reviews Correlate to Local Search?
Google My Business page with hundreds of positive reviews can change the scene for any business. As Google seeds many positive reviews on the page, it understands that the local business is doing well and has an impressive reputation with local customers.
Google also uses crowd-sourcing, which is essentially a tool to tell whether a website has a strong reputation or not. Google My Business uses sophisticated tools, which makes it difficult for spammers to take action and damage the reputation of customers. Even if they breach, Google cracks down on all unscrupulous hackers and spammers.
Review Quality & Quantity – How does it matter?
The Google search engine is intelligent. It looks at what reviewers are posting before making a final judgment on the ranking. Google also gives special attention to the local pack of reviewers mentioning keywords, city name, or other business details.
It is observed that websites having high-quality link profiles always rank high in local search. Likewise, sites having fewer or no links, others having poor-quality links, also rank high in local search pack with good Google My Business reviews.
Here’s what to do:
• Create a business site, if you do not have one
• Choose a template and apply auto updates
• Ask customers to rate and review on Google My Business page with or without a website
• Encourage users to mention city and services
• Expect calls and clicks from new clients through local search ranking
Have a positive outlook even on negative reviews, and make the most of this opportunity to provide services.