Google is typically the first point of contact between a customer and a business. From finding businesses nearby to planning itineraries for upcoming trips to looking up a forgotten phone number, we type keywords into Google to help us with anything we want to know. And if we want to find out how one business compares to another, we Google to find out about other people’s experiences.
Why your business should care about Google reviews
First, the power of the customer testimonial cannot be underestimated in its influence on other potential customers. You can tell me you are awesome, and I may believe you. However, if an unbiased third party tells me you are awesome, I’d be much more inclined to believe it. In fact, one recent study suggests that customer reviews are the most powerful purchase influence. Another study found that 90% of consumers consult reviews before making a purchase, and yet another study indicated that 63% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a site that has customer reviews.
One hesitation businesses have in soliciting online reviews is the fear of receiving a bad review. However, receiving the odd bad review is not necessarily a bad thing. Actively replying to bad reviews and looking to resolve a situation illustrates to your new potential customers that you care about your clients. A study actually found that bad reviews can increase conversion by 67%.
So, are testimonials important in an SEO strategy?
In Google’s pursuit to deliver the most relevant and beneficial results for local searches, they not only want to know what your business does but how your business is perceived. They do this, in large part, by seeing how many reviews you have and what your average customer rating is. Want proof? The tour illustrating the features of the new Google Maps states outright that the “highest-rated” businesses near you will be returned when you search with local intent. Google also recently updated its map search layout to show ratings and reviews much more prominently. Additionally, with Google, content is king; adding user generated content on your site or your Google plus page is a great way to add new, fresh, and unique content.
The quality and quantity of reviews on Google Plus Local is one of the most important ranking factors for local SEO. And, when a person scans the search results for a local product or service in Google, the business listings that include customer reviews present greater credibility and, naturally, receive more clicks. If your search result listing shows a 4.5 star rating with 18 reviews (and your competitor listings show less), that’s strong social proof that your product or service is trustworthy.
So, what are you waiting for to get start getting Google Reviews?