With 90 percent of consumers saying they consider online reviews to be on par with personal recommendations, collecting reviews for your business is more important than ever. Google’s addition of an aggregated review section to Google My Business pages gives more power to feedback left on any platform, potentially changing the way customers make decisions about where to purchase products and services.
Reviews from the Web
Google has always showed reviews for businesses with Google profiles but only displayed reviews left on the Google platform. Take a look at your Google My Business page now, and you’ll find a “reviews from the web” section. This new area displays reviews left on any site on which your business has a presence, from Facebook to niche industry listings.
What does this mean for your business? Having all reviews visible in one place can impact the first impression consumers get when they do Google searches for your products and services or perform mobile searches for businesses like yours in the area.
A More Detailed Online Reputation
Before Google’s idea to curate reviews, users had to go to several different sites to read feedback and make decisions about the best companies from which to make purchases. The new format means your Google My Business page will serve as a “snapshot” of your online reputation.
This gives new weight to the importance of reputation management. Google reviews still appear first, but star ratings and feedback from other sites are clearly visible on your Google My Business page. Whereas you may have been able to overlook a few bad reviews on an obscure niche platform in the past, now every review carries the potential to affect how reliable your business appears to customers searching on Google.
Improving Mobile Visibility
Local search often goes hand in hand with mobile usage. When consumers need something while running errands or traveling, they look for the closest place to meet these needs. The kind of feedback a company has may influence their decisions even more than distance or convenience, and the reviews displayed on Google My Business pages are given preference in mobile search results. Whether a customer clicks on a search listing or finds your company using a navigation app, reviews from fellow consumers are the first things they see. Feedback from other sources, including critics, is displayed lower on the page and may not appear “above the fold” on smaller mobile screens.
Google considers “review signals” as ten percent of its ranking algorithm and includes factors such as reviewer authority, relevant keyword content and diversity of third-party feedback when determining a company’s placement in search results. Collecting more reviews on any platform now provides fresh content for your Google My Business page, prompting the search engine to index the page more often and potentially bringing your business up in the SERPs. Regular review activity and a higher amount of positive reviews may place your business in the “map pack” at the top of results and increase the likelihood of consumers clicking on your profile.
A consistent review collection and monitoring strategy should already be part of your company’s SEO plan, but with the Google My Business update, it’s time to hone your focus to make the most out of every review. Work to strengthen your reputation management tactics, keeping a careful eye on feedback and responding to complaints with proactive solutions. Make the customer experience your top priority to encourage positive reviews and turn your Google My business page into a powerful tool for directing fresh traffic to your business.