By Kinan Alhoch
Whether you sell a service or a tangible product, your clients (or customers) will look for online reviews to inform their buying decisions. Search engines like Google have made it their business to understand people’s money spending behaviors and are starting to incorporate this into their search algorithms.
Online reviews and reputation are now and almost always have been a major factor search engines use to rank a business in local search. Google recently shared three primary factors considered for reviews: relevance (Does your business listing match what people are searching for?), distance (How far are you from the searched location?), prominence (Does your business have a relevant online presence?).
Search analytics behemoth Moz, conducted a survey that identified three additional factors Google considers in your reviews: quantity, velocity, and diversity. Essentially the more reviews generated across different sites by users with a review history are important factors in how Google ranks your business locally.
Including reviews in your digital marketing plan has become necessary to rank highly in local search. Chris Campbell of Search Engine Journal provides six easy steps to using reviews in a search campaign.
1. Claim your business: Claim your business listings across all review platforms including “Google My Business.”
2. Ensure your NAP: Ensure your name, address, and phone number is correct across all listings.
3. Add reviews to your website: You can use reviews as content on your website (killing two birds with one stone).
4. Share reviews on social media: Social media is not as pertinent to search rankings as reviews although a social presence is still an important part of generating business.
5. Use reviews for research: Reviews are a practical way to inform your SEO strategy by mining them for client behavior and key word use.
6. Generate positive reviews: Design a strategy to gain positive reviews and incorporate it into your interactions with clients. It’s important not to fake or buy reviews — this may hurt your rankings.
As more marketing teams start to incorporate reviews into their online strategies businesses who don’t pivot and adapt will find themselves generating less business online. Ignoring online reviews is leaving money on the table.