How to Successfully Manage Your Business Reputation
As we review Google’s guidelines for online reputation management, we may come to think that this is a relatively straightforward process, but the reality is that managing search engine reputation efficiently requires time, monitoring and consistently publishing quality content. Companies often manage data presence and reputation as separate silos based on their internal organization (Customer Service, Marketing, SEO), although in fact SEO and online reputation management are closely related.
The factors affecting the relevance of your business in Google’s first page results will have a greater or lesser impact depending on how good your SEO strategy is.
But why all this merging of functions? Undoubtedly, it is due to today’s changing consumer behaviour when it comes to assessing the quality of a company.
Consumer psychology today
In the past, simply handling a website’s SEO was enough to rank in search engines, but for years now local searches have required a detailed understanding of why your customers are searching for the topics they are looking for and what terms they are using. In addition, you need to know their motivations and the expectations they have at the time they click on the landing page (i.e., understanding search intention is key).
Changes in Consumer Behavior
• Currently, 79% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
• The reliance on online reviews makes Google establish it as a cornerstone of good search engine optimization (SEO).
• Google is interested in showing results that offer a positive, proven experience. This means that businesses with higher ratings will get a boost.
According to Moz(1), reviews are the second most important ranking factor in 2020, moving up from the third place and surpassing proximity. This shift means that the expected quality of the experience (reviews) is more important than where the searcher is physically located (within reason).
Let us illustrate this change:
Previously, in an organic search option, A would have been the top result based on proximity.
Today, proximity drops in favour of average rating and volume, with B being the top result.
(1) (Source: Local Consumer Review Survey 2020 from Brightlocal)
Can you see why reputation management and SEO go hand in hand?
Also, did you know that…?
- Most consumers do not consider buying from businesses that score below 3.5
- Consumers read an average of 10 reviews before trusting a local business (Brightlocal)
- Some search criteria on Google Maps do not show businesses with a rating lower than 4
- The copy of a review is a positioning factor (justifications in the LINK TO THE BLOG POST)
Now that we understand why reviews are important, let’s address why responses equally matter.
Why are the answers important?
Responding to reviews is about taking control of your company’s public content. While the Internet can sometimes seem like a one-way conversation, responding to reviews gives your business a voice.
What factors impact your SEO?
Factors impacting ranking:
- 1. Volume
- 2. Rating
- 3. Keywords
- 4. Unique content
More reviews will give your customers a better understanding of the experience they can expect to have in your store, and through feedback, you can enhance this effect. The Harvard Business Review found in a recent study that businesses that respond consistently get 12% more reviews.
In case you are worried about a negative review, a good volume of positive reviews will minimize the consequent effect on your ratio. Potential customers are looking for trends, not individual situations.
And finally, keep response times in mind. According to BrightLocal, 40% of customers only consider reviews written in the previous two weeks.
Although we have already mentioned it above, it is important to emphasize that the rating of your company on the Internet is likely to be the first quality indicator your potential customers will see (that is, let’s give it a little bit of love. Let it be representative of the quality of service that you are going to offer them).
This is where Google review management comes into play. Your customers’ reviews will sometimes contain keywords, but when you respond you have a great opportunity to include more information about your business, customer service and other values essential to your work methodology.
And what kind of keywords should you consider when posting an answer?
- Company name
- Store location
4. Unique, updated and ongoing content
For Google, a strong indicator of a healthy, active business is new content being consistently published. Responding to reviews will effectively double your content activity on your Google Business Profile (GBP).
“Among consumers who read reviews, 97% read the companies’ responses to those reviews” (based on these percentages it is essential to take care of the level of detail of the responses that are published).
From what we have seen, learning how to get reviews from Google is key to the success of any brand’s customer acquisition strategy.
Diversify your review acquisition mechanisms
Learning how to get reviews from Google is key to the success of any brand’s customer acquisition strategy.
By having a high volume of positive reviews in a Google Business Profile (GBP) listing, brands can increase their performance in local search, which means more attention from new and returning consumers while minimizing the impact of negative and neutral reviews.
Here are some methods to diversify review acquisition:
Customize your acquisition materials
Use the Google My Business marketing kit: Google has resources available through its Google Business Profile marketing kit. With this tool, you can customize materials including social media posts, stickers and other pieces of collateral to promote your business online and offline. You can also go a step further and customize each asset to meet your brand guidelines. In this video, we show you the options available to you.
Google inserts the Place ID of the location in the QR code that some of these materials contain (cards, postcards, etc.).
Create a landing page
Similarly, you can create a landing page or insert a button on the store pages for each store with a CTA to gather new reviews. If consumers frequently visit your site, it makes sense to create a dedicated landing page that encourages customers to leave reviews.
Harness the power of email marketing
Never underestimate the effect of a well-timed and executed e-mail (i.e., e-mail marketing campaign). If the message is brief, authentic and personalized, and includes a link to your GMB list, you will save time for customers to provide you with their reviews/feedback.
Use the google review link
Remember the link in your review request e-mail? You can add this special Google review link and post it on social networks, printed receipts or even your company brochures.
Other recommendations from clients who have successfully completed the project
- Use of SMS after certain services
This system allows you to quickly acknowledge the visit, making sure that the experience is optimal while sending the link to leave a review of the location with the link that Google provides (Place ID URL).
- Insert it in different materials customers use
Be creative in inserting QR codes. Make it easy for the customer and Google.
As you have seen, learning how to get reviews from Google is not difficult, but getting the results you want with the online review management methods mentioned above takes time.
As long as we have a strategy in place and, more importantly, take note of customer feedback, we will be in a position to improve our company’s operations by bringing Google reviews to the attention of more customers. Moreover, these customers, in turn, can contribute to the valuable social proof that companies need to stand out from the competition.