For local businesses, it’s important to stay on top of your local search presence, stay ahead of the competition, and find ways to modernize your business to attract and convert new customers. 

On this week’s Search Sessions, we talked with Zeke Kuch, Co-Founder and CRO, and Danny Laneri, Director of Business Development with Swell – a leading online reputation technology platform. With Swell, you can easily improve your online reputation by generating reviews and offering convenient online experiences that attract new customers and keep them coming back.

Together, we discussed:

  • how to dominate your local competition in 3 easy steps
  • How reputation management can be one of your best tools to convert new customers
  • What elements you need to implement into your digital marketing to stay relevant

Watch our full Search Sessions here or read on for some key takeaways:

#1 – Get Seen With Reviews

Reviews are the new word of mouth. The first and easier way to stand out from your local competition is by dominating your online reviews. Most businesses are being found through some type of search. 93% of the online experience starts with a search (Search Engine Land), and 99% never scroll past the first page (Backlinko). When someone’s searching for your business, are you being found? And if you’re being found, are you credible? 

Reviews are becoming more and more influential. They should be driving additional traffic to your website and social. 90% of consumers are influenced by positive reviews (Zendesk). Your business is only as good as Google says it is and reviews make all the difference between someone choosing your business or your competitor. Your rating matters. Quantity of your reviews can be just as important as your rating. Additionally, bad reviews can actually add credibility. A business with a 5.0 star rating with only four reviews is not as credible as a business with 4.8 stars and 200 reviews. 

Templatize and personalize the way you ask for reviews. Create templates and workflows that automatically request new reviews via text. Make it convenient for your customers and personalize it. Adding your logo or specific customer information can increase the likelihood of getting a review. If your business is not being proactive in getting positive reviews, you may only be getting stray negative reviews. You need to solicit your customers to increase your positive reviews. If you make it easy to leave reviews, more people will leave them. 

 

#2 – Conveniently Engage

Convenience is the commodity that matters most. One of Swell’s top priorities is to make it convenient for customers to purchase your products. Make it easy for your customers to reach you and make it a good customer experience. Expectations have changed. Customers shouldn’t have to work hard just to get in contact with you. Time savings are some of the top 5 ways businesses can provide the greatest satisfaction.

A good customer experience is the expectation. Elevate your game and how you communicate and engage with your customers with their preferred method. Look for ways you can make scheduling or booking easier for your services. 85% of consumers want to be able to send texts to and receive texts from businesses (Twilio). Let your customers pay conveniently, securely, and from anywhere. More businesses are leveraging contact-less solutions. Now that your business has been found by your customers, make it easy to engage in their preferred method. 

 

#3 – Keep in Touch

Once a new prospect converts, the customer lifecycle is just beginning. Stay in touch with your customers. This is where businesses seem to fail the most. Have a strategy to stay in front of your customers moving forward to stay top of mind. Customer feedback makes you the best on the block.

 

SEO Takeaways

Consumers read and trust online reviews, and take them into consideration before converting. Online reviews can complement your SEO strategy and improve your organic presence through E-A-T, User Experience, and Rankings. 

E-A-T: Generating online reviews from a variety of consumers can boost businesses’ E-A-T by demonstrating a credible reputation that people and search engines can trust. E-A-T, whether it’s on-site or off-site, can impact your organic visibility. For local businesses that don’t meet these expectations, they increase the risk of being pushed down farther in the SERPs.

Building up your E-A-T can put your local businesses in front of more prospective customers, and paired with positive online reviews, it can help increase site visits. It’s also been shown that having 4 and 5 star ratings on your Google My Business increases click through rates.

User Experience: Positive star ratings can complement your SEO strategy by enhancing the user experience and by being featured in the organic search result, not just your Google My Business listing. It’s extremely helpful to see the reviews immediately as it saves you time and shows your customers the information they are looking for without having to dig too deep for it. Having positive star ratings in your organic search result directly influences your keyword positioning. This is done by adding structured data or schema markup to the page that pulls in the reviews right into the SERP.

Rankings: Online reviews are the second most important ranking factor for increasing your positioning in the local pack alongside optimizing your Google My Business and link building. While the goal is to increase the number of authentic, positive reviews, this doesn’t mean that your rankings will immediately drop by having some negative reviews. Some studies have actually shown that businesses can drop in local pack positioning after removing online reviews. Instead, it’s good to view this as an opportunity to work on some reputation management and restore your businesses’ credibility online.

 

As always, if you need help with your SEO – Boostability is here to help! Reach out to us at boostability.com or give us a call.

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Amanda is the former Vice President of Marketing at Boostability. Amanda has 15 years of marketing and public relations experience. Prior to Boostability, Amanda was Co-Founder and CMO of PromoJam Social Marketing Platform, acquired by Deluxe Corporation in 2014.