Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Online Reviews

Why are Positive reviews important?

Reviews, positive or negative, have a multifaceted impact on what happens with people who read your webpage and with how easy your webpage is to find in search results. Websites are not just about content and keywords these days. You have to take a human approach regarding every possible aspect of your site. SEO is just one approach. A good example of how things have changed can be found in/on a Google Map. The entire point of Google Maps is to provide comprehensive information about a place. If that is your place, then expect reviews of your business or products to influence results on the map (1.) Maps are no longer just about getting directions, but rather about getting directions to the best place within your search topic. That includes reviews. In the following graphic, we did a simple Google Search for Frozen Yogurt in Sacramento. This was the map view of that Internet search

As you can see, the results are biased towards the top businesses that sell frozen yogurt. If you are number 4 or 5 on this list, you may not even be noticed. This result was heavily influenced by the reviews that these businesses received. This brings us to another point about why results are so important. Remember that multifaceted approach to Internet Search Results (SERPS) well they apply to several ways your Internet Search Engine ranks results. Google Carousel is yet another tool that helps Internet searchers find something for which they are searching. In the Image below the use of photographs is used to influence viewers, and reviews in conjunction with the number of reviews, which are not shown, are used to help rank the placement of those images. The search was for Museums near Sacramento​

Again, it is important to point out that the number of reviews was a deciding factor in where these businesses were placed within the carousel. This is another factor that marketers are going to need to address as strategic marketing plans are created. When you consider the impact of mobile marketing on local searches the dynamics just increase. Mobile searches place your products or business directly in the hands of people who are actively looking for what you have to offer. Reviews for mobile work the same way that they do for traditional Internet searches with the added feature that your business will be ranked according to reviews over the distance from the mobile searcher. How do you know what reviews are influencing your business’s placement on a Google Map? Follow these steps:

  • Do an internet search for your industry and city.
  • Set the results to map.
  • Next to the star ratings the number of reviews is listed. Click on the reviews.
  • A Google + page will pop up with a ton of information about this business. Scroll down to find the section about “Reviews From Around the Web.” These are the sources for the reviews about this business. Including are the reviews. See Below:

This partial screen shot shows you the sources that were used to create the reviews and a few of the reviews along with star ratings given by the customers who visited this business. Review a few of the top business in the search result and repeat this process. Keep a list of what shows up in the “Reviews From Around the Web” section. This is a huge clue as to where Google is finding the resources to rank this list.

Which is better for your business? Google Reviews or Yelp? Why?

Yelp and other review driven sites are powerful tools, but Google is biased to itself and its products. One of the reasons that Google reviews are better for your business is that Google shares everything. When you write a Google review, Google takes that information and begins to distribute it to people within your social media circles. Other review sites do not have that capability yet. This means that if you want to be found on Yelp (2), someone has to look for you there. With Google, a positive review is distributed to people who might be interested in your business. It is a good idea to create multiple review accounts with places like Yelp. A word of warning; however is needed. Google and other review sites will react in a negative way and push your ranking to the bottom of the abyss if you pay for reviews or go about gathering reviews in any way shape or form that is not genuine. There are ways to gather positive reviews that are honest and worthwhile.

How do you get more positive reviews?

The following 5 tips can help you increase the number of positive reviews without incurring the negative wrath of sites like Google.

1. Treat your customers the way you want to be treated. Happy customers will be happy to leave you a positive review. Things you can do to help. Offer a great product. Make sure your staff is courteous. Make sure your business is clean. Create a welcoming environment. Be socially engaging in your community. These are just a few of the ways to get your customers to love your business.

2. Encourage reviews. A small wall that displays positive reviews goes a long way. People like to see their name in print and may post a review to make that happen. Post Yelp or other review sites logos on your door or windows so people know that they can find your business there. Put a request on your sales receipts. Include a request with each sale. Thank you for visiting you can review your experience here on Yelp. Create a Google + (4) business profile and use that site to offer things like sales, coupons, etc. The goal is not to force your customers to make a review but to make it as easy as possible for them to do so.

3. Install WiFi. If your business, like the yogurt shops used in this article as examples, makes an excellent places for people to visit often, than encourage that with WiFi. WiFi also puts your customers online while they are motivated to write a review.

4. List your business on several review sites. 3-5 is a good number. You can use programs like schema markup (2) to help manage your reviews and to help search engines understand what all your reviews mean. Programs like Google Alerts (5) can help you manage every review that your business receives. Make this job as easy on yourself as possible and put technology to work for you.

5. Invest in Learning. Devote an hour a week to reading Blogs, articles, and newsletters from Professionals within this topic. Technology changes rapidly and keeping somewhat informed can help your company excel in local searches.

How do you deal with Negative Reviews

Businesses cannot please everyone. You will receive a negative review from time to time. What is important is how you handle that review. Be genuine. Respond with something like We are sorry your experience was not satisfactory, we have addressed your issue and value your feedback. This lets other readers know that whatever the problem was you have been willing to listen and make changes. If the problem cannot be fixed, or the customer was completely out of line, then simply thank them for their feedback with a promise that you will look into their complaint. What is important is that other readers see that you are attentive to your customers needs. The positive reviews will overshadow a few negative reviews. If you have a string of negative reviews handle it professionally by engaging the problem, and not the customer. ​

Resources to help your Business Succeed

1. Google Developers-Maps

2. Schema markup

3. Yelp.com

4. Google + new Account

5. Google Alerts

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