Google Reviews Are Essential For Small Business, But Are You Doing it Right?
Learn the strategies and methods that help boost small businesses through Google Reviews.
Local SEO is one of the hardest types of SEO when it comes to gaining growth and reach.
The other hard part? Usually small businesses are the ones that need it most and with limited resources and knowledge it can be hard to implement a proper local SEO strategy.
When businesses do have a strategy, it often look like this:
Gain local authority
Get local PR coverage
Match all listings online with the same info
Add local pages to your website
But there is a more important part of local SEO that is beneficial to both SEO and your customer base — and isn’t too much of a challenge if businesses know what to do.
Most small businesses I work with, know the importance of having reviews but don’t know how to implement a strategy to get them consistently.
Why Are Google Reviews So Important to Small Business?
Online reviews are important.
They’re a badge of honor.
Here are some of the most important aspects of online reviews that are so vital to small businesses.
They Allow For Trust
Businesses with higher ratings are going to instantly be recognized in Google searches by users. A higher rating with higher reviews is a great way to earn trust of potential buyers.
Gain Local Authority Over Competitors
Having the high-rating reviews allow businesses to gain local authority, which can help in competitive areas.
Google Wants To Share Your Business
When a business has a higher rating than others in the area, they are more prone to serve the business in search results. Google wants a good experience for users and ratings are a good indicator for them to do boost a business in search results.
There’s SEO Magic Happening
The keywords that are written in reviews, are great pieces of information that can help Google understand the nuances of your businesses more.
i.e. “They catered my husband’s 50th birthday, it was a great success!”
This review could be for a brick-and-mortar restaurant, but the “catering” aspect may be something Google can pick up on and highlight, as seen below.
As also highlighted by Forbes, the presence of reviews for small businesses is vital to success in this digital-first world we live in.
Challenges for Small Businesses To Gain Reviews
There are some obvious benefits of having online reviews for small businesses, but the biggest challenge is getting them.
Small Businesses Obstacles for Earning Reviews:
They don’t have time to ask for them.
They are intruding on their customers by asking.
They don’t have an ‘easy’ way to get customers to review.
They don’t make it a priority.
They don’t know they right time to ask for one.
For over a decade, I’ve been the marketing director for my family’s business and working with small businesses as a freelance marketer, and I’ve trialed several methods for garnering more reviews.
Some strategies have worked.
Some have not.
Not only am I sharing my strategies for gaining more reviews, but also learning how to reply to reviews to have the most impact on your online presence.
My Experience With Fake Reviews Online:
Story Time: Bad Reviews from Ex-Employee
Years ago, I had a client that was dealing with an online reputation problem. They were being bombarded by a disgruntled ex-employee on Google with terrible reviews.
The ex-employee was creating fake Google accounts (Google has recently combatted this problem) and blasting terrible lies across their Google listing with over 30 fake reviews.
I was hired to come and help combat the problem — which included flagging and reporting all fake reviews, responding to the fake reviews, and contacting Google to remove the user with legal documentation.
Also, part of my strategy was to create new funnels to earn NEW reviews for the business that had been open for 30+ years. They had a deep rolodex of clientele that were more than willing to share their experiences online.
I worked with them to integrate some of my strategies shared below to help boost their local reputation with real reviews and increased their reach via Google Business searches.
The Best Strategies To Gain More Google Reviews
These review strategies are ones I’ve tested and trialed myself for years and these are the best ones to combat the obstacles that small businesses face when gaining more reviews.
Before we jump into the strategies, let’s talk about something…
You are allowed to ask a customer for a review.
For some reason, people think it’s rude or hard to ask customers for a review. On the flip side, customers are quick to give bad reviews (more on that later) — so it’s ok to be quick to ask for a review!