In the recent past, Kenyans have witnessed an influx in the number of local businesses looking to corner the online markets, either through websites, social media or Google My Business. Consumers need only use their smartphones to make a purchase. Positive online reviews are now considered to be a determining factor for consumers who are considering a purchase.
Online reviews are important because they represent an unbiased opinion about a business. Reviews are typically crowd-sourced information, which isn’t coming from the business owner or online influencers- people paid to promote it.
Online reviews have gained such traction that Google now factors reviews into its SEO rankings. The more people talk about a local business, the higher that the site ranks higher on Google. The reviews from Google My Business (GMB) can even affect SEO ranking, as well as consumer decisions.
To make the best of online reviews, we can take a page from GMB’s manifesto. Here are the three most important things you should know about online reviews on GMB
- Engagement matters
Just like in social media, engagement is just as important to Google My Business. As much as you would appreciate consumers leaving comments on your Facebook Page or Twitter handle, you should also hope that they l eave reviews on GMB, as well as post questions on Google Q&A.
In fact Google recommends that businesses should interact with customers by responding to online reviews that they leave about their business. This suggests that responses could actually affect a sites SEO rankings. If anything, research shows that 89% of consumers are willing to change a negative review based on how the business responds.
- The content of the online review is important
Initially, Google + was the go to site when a local business wanted to put a more localized touch to their local business online. However since Google made it almost null and void, reviews on GMB are becoming a more significant factor for SEO to local businesses
Research even shows that reviews that contain keywords are the second biggest SEO factor for determining where a local business shows up in the “local pack.” This is typically the first thing consumers see at the top of the search results, under the map, after they perform a search. It shows nearby local businesses that match the searched term.
To increase the chances for your local business to appear in the local pack, Google recommends that it should feature two things; the city/county that your business is located in and the Keywords you are trying to rank for.
- Online reviews can help you earn Visibility
As fore mentioned, online reviews and ratings play a major role in influencing the decisions consumers make when choosing between the local businesses to purchase from. In fact more than 50% of consumers can only do business with companies with more than a 4-star rating. The better your online reviews and ratings, the more likely it is that consumers will choose your business over a competitor.
Clearly Google My Business Profiles and the online reviews are fundamental SEO components for any local businesses hoping to make it in the online era. By utilizing these features you are bound to improve your customer retention as well as increase the ROI.