When was the last time you needed to find something near you? For me, it was a restaurant because my husband and I tend to frequent the same three restaurants by our house, so we wanted to branch out.
If you are like me, the first thing you’ll do is Google “restaurants near me” or some variation of a similar phrase.
Have you ever wondered why results show up as they do? The answer is local search engine optimization (SEO).
Local SEO should be a critical part of your marketing strategy when you have a brick-and-mortar location or service a specific geographic area.
According to the Think with Google report, The number of searches for “near me” has increased by 500% in recent years.
If this is where your customers are searching - this is where you need to be showing up.
So, what is the easiest way to start ranking quickly? Reviews.
Let’s look at why reviews are so important to local SEO and your business as a whole.
Digital Word of Mouth
It is no secret in the marketing world that word of mouth is the best marketing you can get. This has not changed and is not likely to; however, it has evolved. Now, word of mouth marketing can be a simple suggestion to a friend, but it can also be sharing on the internet. This can take the form of social media posts, blogs, and reviews.
Real people trust real people. Because of this, a verified review will give your business much more credibility than any marketing you can put out there. This credibility will affect how consumers see your business and how Google sees it.
Did you know that if your business does not have at least a 4.0 rating on Google, it will automatically be removed from any “best” searches? So don’t give your competitors a chance to not only rank above you but show up when you are not.
While no one knows exactly how Google ranks listings or why we have good guesses through trial and error, it is well known in the search engine optimization industry that reviews appear to be the most important ranking factor in local search.
According to The Digital Elevator, review quantity, length, and diversity are all critical areas to focus on for ranking.
Reviews that include keywords specific to your offerings and location will also help you rank higher in local searches.
When you are getting reviews from your customers, you are also getting valuable feedback that you can operationalize into providing better services.
As you take this feedback and implement it into your everyday business, you are likely to have more happy customers. The more happy customers you have, the more likely your reviews will also start to increase, therefore helping your local SEO!
Lastly, reviews make incredible content to share on your website, advertising, and social media.
Again, real people trust real people.
Utilize your glowing reviews to increase your brand awareness and brand reputation by weaving them into your content marketing strategy.
So, how do you get reviews? Ask! To get started, just ask happy customers to leave you a review. If you don’t ask, the only people that will leave reviews of your business are people who are over the moon happy or who are disgruntled. So, stack the deck by asking people to leave reviews on Google for your business.
Topics: Brand Awareness & Reputation