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    Skot Waldron
    By Skot Waldron
    11.08.18

    Do You Want More High-Quality Online Reviews?

    Screen Shot 2018-10-30 at 9.44.17 AM

    If you rely on Google, Facebook, Yelp, or a hundred other review sites to help generate foot traffic, or online traffic, reviews are important. A few bad reviews can be the difference between you getting that business, or someone else.

    Most of the time, platforms will alert you when a review comes in. Sometimes, we’re just too busy to respond, promote, or address those reviews. What if there was an easier way to do all of this? And, at the same time, promote more positive reviews in a way that helps you rank better in local search?
     
    People ask me, “Skot, you’re a brand guy! What do online reviews and search engines have to do with branding?”
     
    “A lot,” I tell them. 
     
    Branding is what people say about you when you aren’t around. Online reviews are one of the better ways to understand your brand and what people think and feel about you!
     
    For my local business clients, online reviews can make or break them.
     
    I’ve been providing online reputation management services to my clients for almost 2 years now. I will show you why it’s important, how it works, and how you can get it too.

     

    A quick case study

    We’ve been working with one local client for about 10 months now. Here are the results:

    We’ve sent out about 10 emails a day (sometimes more) to 1816 different people on their email list since January. (Note: We DO NOT spam them. These are people that have opted in already and receive marketing emails from this company.) 

    Open rate = 51%

    Click rate = 13% 

    # of new reviews = 100 (This company is not a restaurant or medical practice where an abundance of reviews are the norm. They are smashing their competition when it comes to the amount of reviews and the quality.)

    image showing before and after of working with reputation management platform

    The image above shows last November and December when we weren’t working with them on getting more high-quality reviews versus after we worked with them. Slow and steady wins the race.

    These online reputation sites depend on either emails addresses or phone numbers. As you can see above, my client had around 1,800 email addresses. You need past customers for this to work.

     button for free online review analysis

     

    Why Online Reviews (Especially Google) Are Important

    Google rules the search engine world. We all know that. There are hundreds of factors that play into how well your website ranks locally (that's the keyword here) when people search for things like "dentists near me" or "workout gym in Atlanta, GA."

    image of google local 3-pack

    The top 8 things for ranking in the local 3-pack (that box at the top of the search results with 3 businesses inside and a map) are:

    Ranking for local 3-pack

    1. My Business Signals (Proximity, categories, keywords in business title, etc.) - 19%
    2. Link Signals (Inbound anchor text, linking domain authority, linking domain quality, etc.) - 17%
    3. On-Page Signals (Presence of NAP, keywords in titles, domain authority, etc.) - 14%
    4. Citation Signals (IYP/aggregator NAP consistency, citation volume, etc.) - 13%
    5. Review Signals (Review Quantity, review velocity, review diversity, etc.) - 13%
    6. Behavioral Signals (Click-through rate, mobile clicks to call, check-ins, etc.) - 10%
    7. Personalization - 10%
    8. Social Signals (Google engagement, Facebook engagement, Twitter engagement, etc.) - 4%

    Some of these are harder to control than others. Out of all of them, “review signals” (#5) not only affects the technical side of ranking locally but also how people feel about you when looking for a business. They read those reviews and it can have a huge impact! Getting good reviews is weighted 13% by Google for getting you seen in that box! When you search Google, do you click the listings in that box? I do.

    What about organic ranking factors?

    You may not appear in the coveted local 3-pack, but you can still rank higher in organic search (not paid) by having higher quality reviews. Organic rankings will show up at the top of the search results, underneath the paid ads, and around the local 3-pack.

    The 8 things for ranking organically are (Disclaimer: no one really knows Google secret sauce. This is based on research pulled from thousands of other sites):

    8 ways to rank organically

    1. Link Signals (Inbound anchor text, linking domain authority, linking domain quality, etc.) - 29%
    2. On-Page Signals (Presence of NAP, keywords in titles, domain authority, etc.) - 24%
    3. Behavioral Signals (Click-through rate, mobile clicks to call, check-ins, etc.) - 11%
    4. Personalization - 9%
    5. Citation Signals (IYP/aggregator NAP consistency, citation volume, etc.) - 8%
    6. My Business Signals (Proximity, categories, keywords in business title, etc.) - 7%
    7. Review Signals (Review Quantity, review velocity, review diversity, etc.) - 7%
    8. Social Signals (Google engagement, Facebook engagement, Twitter engagement, etc.) - 4%

    While not as high, reviews still play a role! Don’t underestimate the power of reviews. I doubt you do.

    image of chart showing how many times people have used the internet to find a local business in the last year97% of people in the last year have searched for a business online. The other 3 people are either newborns or were born in 1850.

    image showing which review site is the most trusted for local searches

    Facebook, Yelp, and Google dominate the online review space. There are other specialty review sites for the medical profession, attorneys, etc. But, I’d be willing to argue these 3 sites still trump those specialty review sites.

    image of chart showing what people pay attention to when looking at local reviews54% of consumers consider the average star rating to be the most important factor when judging a local business, followed by the quantity of reviews, then recency of reviews. The takeaway here? Get better reviews, more of them, and keep feeding the beast. NEVER ask for all the reviews at one time. Google likes to see you are getting a steady flow of reviews over time without huge gaps. 

    Does this sound like something that could help you?

    If you rely on online reviews to help drive business, this can be a powerful tool to help. As a brand guy, I realize how important online reviews are for my local clients and their overall brand reputation. 

    Would you like a free analysis of where your business stands? I can produce a report for you that will show you the quantity and quality of your current online reviews and where they are coming from. I’ll also look at the competition and see how you are ranked in relation to them locally.

    Interested? Click here.

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    image of call-to-action for free local online review analysis

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