How to Get the Reviews that will Improve Your Local Search Rankings
Five Steps that will Help You Zero-In on Great Customer Reviews!
Customer reviews are important for any quintessential business. That being said, the whole point of getting a customer review has little to do with your ranking on the SERPs and more to do with just giving people a reason to click on your listing, visit your website, or pick up the phone and make an order.
If you have a business but haven’t been able to bag those hard-to-pin-down customer reviews, fear not, for the future fame and fortune of your business is now in the bag. The following are some of the most effective grand-master tips on getting customer reviews from which all future businesses shall benefit.
1. Provide the Best Customer Service
Since getting positive customer feedback is the cornerstone of any business philosophy, it has become the single most important point which cannot be stressed enough. Every business needs to have happy customers, and happy customers are needed to write those awesome reviews. Providing the best customer service also means that you will need to make the process of leaving a review easy. You can do that by adding a Google+ review logo on your business website, which will take the clicker straight to your Google+ Page where they can then leave their review.
2. Never Pay for Your Customer Reviews
Okay, before you throw me to the wolves, sure showing customers your appreciation for sharing their thoughts about your business is a nice gesture. There is a reason why people should stay clear from doing so. First of all, Google and FTC forbid businesses from offering incentives to their customers in exchanges for good reviews. You should never use Social media campaigns that require a customer review in return for an incentive, discount, or even a free slice of pizza.
3. Encourage Customers to Write Reviews on Their Own
This brings us to our next question: how to get customers to write reviews without expecting anything in return. This is easy; all you have to do is use a soft-sell approach, as in, ask customers how they feel about your product or service right after they have bought it. You can also make a suggestion in your newsletter or if you’re running a brick-and-mortar store, string up review site logos around your place of business.
The best way to encourage your customers to write you good reviews is to engage them from and start by being responsive to their feedback via regular email (you do collect your customers email address right?) and various social media outlets. This will provide the social proof that your business is worthy of praise, that is, if you’re standing behind a solid product or service. The trick is to be visible online at all times.
4. The Schema Markup
It is without a doubt that using a schema markup is important especially for local businesses. Once you have collected a good amount of customer reviews on your business website, help the search engines find it by using the schema markup. The schema markup is basically an HTML code which identifies the content of your webpage, and while it doesn’t impact the rankings per say, it does improve your website’s indexing.
5. Never Use Just One Review Site
The one thing that businesses get wrong is that they only use one review site, where they should be using multiple. If all of your reviews are placed on one site, Google is programmed to assume that they are fabricated. This is the main reason why your customer should have the ability to choose which review site they wish to write their review in. You can also use a review handout generator like the Whitespark Review Generator to create handouts that will help your clients write reviews of your business on Google.
Here is an Infographic about why Yelp reviews are great for your business:
How to Deal with Negative Reviews or Astroturfing
Dealing with libelous remarks online isn’t easy, but one has to, especially when it comes to saving the repute of your brand name. The fact of the matter is that no matter how hard you try, it is impossible for you to make sure that all the reviews you receive will be positive, that will be asking for too much. Like in business, there will be good days and there will be bad days, and reviews are no exception. Businesses should never avoid or ignore the bad reviews they get because, contrary to popular belief, having poor reviews are actually beneficial. Besides, reaching out to your customers by answering their questions publicly will not only be the professional thing to do, but might also help you improve your business by directing your attention to an area that could very well need some improvements.
The latest research backs the fact that companies which have four star ratings actually get more business than companies which have five star ratings. Part of that is due to the fact that people who surf the web in search for a product or service want honest reviews that would give them a client’s point of view, but more importantly, they want the reviews which they read to be real. And honestly, no matter how good your product or service is, having a truck load of five star reviews just seems a bit too spurious.
And then there’s the slimy Astroturfing gimmick. Getting slapped with fake reviews will without a doubt let your business go down in flames, which is why you will need a primer to deal with the situation, like a cease-and-desist letter. But not after you have proof. Some of the ways to spot the not are;
- Meaningless reviewer names.
- Bad reviews all sent around the same date and time.
That being said, as a rule of thumb, try to engage with the negative reviewer first, litigation should always be the last resort. In the end, whether it’s an illegal campaign of the competition to defame your brand name, or just another customer who wants to vent their frustration because they didn’t get what they expected, the witchery of the craft is to deal with negative reviews with honesty, and stay professional.
While there is no shame in guiding one’s customers on how they can leave a review on your business website or social media marketing page. That being said, reviews whether they are on the business website, Google+ or within the company’s social sphere should always be earned and most of all voluntary. This is where brand engagement comes in, effective brand engagement is the essential ingredient to getting back positive feedback, (or any feedback for that matter) of whatever it is you offer. In other words, a review is only an intangible asset for your business, and the key to getting a good review lies in your inbound marketing and service approach.
More Tips, Resources, And Stats
- Put a sign up on a visible area in your business that tells your customers where they can find you and provide their feedback.
Here is a Flickr page with some Yelp Signs you can use right away.
- Give them an example of reviews left by other customers that will make it easy for them to replicate in their own words.
- Provide a “Handout” that explains step-by-step how to leave their feedback on Google+ Local. Here is a great free and very easy tool by Whitespark that you can use to generate a custom Handout for your company.
- Showcase your customers reviews from different directories on your website. This is an example of social proof about your business that can help you increase sales, generate better leads and get more reviews.
- Use the power of mobile to your advantage, by having a landing page setup to help you generate reviews every time you get a happy customer. The process is simple, have a card with a QR code that points to the landing page, when the customer agrees to leave a feedback ask them to scan the QR code and then follow the instructions on the page. A simple landing page should have a link to different reviews sites, this way the consumer can choose their favorite platform.
- Make “asking for reviews” part of your daily interaction with your customers. This way it will turn into a positive company behavior.
- Research your competition and pay close attention on what platform they get the most customer feedbacks. And then make sure to claim and set up a good company profile on that directory or website.
- Ask your customers for suggestions on how to make your service, product or company better, and to write it together with their reviews. This way will give their feedback more content power and you also get to learn what they want you to improve or fix to provide a better customer experience.