The Connection Between SEO and 5-Star Reputations
Customer service is one of the key components of any online marketing strategy. Think about your own habits for a moment. When you are purchasing a product online, one of the first things most people look for is the rating. How many times have you looked at a four-star rating and kept looking for something with a better rating? The truth is poor reviews can damage even the strongest business.
Between search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo! and social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest and Yelp, it has never been easier for customers to leave reviews. BrightLocal’s Consumer Review Survey reported very compelling statistics:
• 97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses
• 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
• 49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose a business
• 68% of consumers left a local business review when asked
Yelp and Facebook are the most trusted review sites followed by Google and BBB.org
The most important question to ask yourself isn’t if your business will get reviews, but instead when the reviews will come in and what you are doing to make sure they are the right reviews!
Search Engine Reputation Management
Managing your business’s online reputation can be difficult. In the age of the internet, everyone has a voice. It’s easier than ever to express your opinion on a company’s products or services — and if someone has a problem with your company, they can let thousands of others know in seconds. The good news is there are a few important things you can do to help manage your reputation and maintain a strong brand.
• Monitor Your Reputation. Understanding your customers, the social networks they use and the review sites they post on is important. Setting alerts for your brand can help keep you informed on what others are saying regardless of where they are saying it.
• Claim You Search Engine Result Pages. Look at the top ten results when you search for your business’s name or brand. If you don’t control all ten results, it’s time to start creating strong pages with content based on your brand and utilizing social media channels. By controlling all ten result pages for your brand name, you make it harder for negative reviews on other sites to get attention.
• Listen to your customers. Customer service is key. Ask your customer base for feedback on your service often and listen to what they have to say. If there is an issue, this gives you a chance to fix it before it becomes a negative review online.
Managing Your Content Will Help Manage Your Customers
Controlling the content you put on your website and social media is an important part of maintaining a strong search engine reputation. Search engines look at the content on your website to determine if it is relevant to any given search and then return a list of websites in order of relevance for the key phrase entered. Knowing your customer base and understanding how they search is a critical part writing high-quality content and getting your website in front of potential customers. Equally important is accurately describing your product or service and marketing it to your specific target audience. Doing so helps to ensure customers understand what they are buying and sets proper expectations. Bad reviews often happen when customers think they are getting something different from what they receive.
Dealing with Bad Reviews
Not all reviews will be 5-star reviews. Whether it be an unrealistic expectation from a customer or an employee having a bad day, getting a poor review online is bound to happen. The important thing is understanding where your customers are leaving reviews, checking those sites often and responding quickly to a negative review. This is where search engine reputation management can help. Empathizing with an upset customer and offering to resolve the problem might just turn that negative review into a positive one! Even if it doesn’t change the review, it does show potential customer your business cares about its customers and tries to make them happy.