Your business is awesome. You know it, we know it, but do your potential customers know how great you are? Having a wealth of happy customers may be the best word of mouth strategy but it does little to boost your organic search results online.
When you transfer this word of mouth power to the Web great things happen! This is why many businesses are including online business reviews as part of their overall search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. You can use business reviews to boost your organic search results and drive additional traffic to your website.
Online business reviews may be just the confidence boost your potential customers need before clicking on your link.

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Searchers Rely on Business Reviews

Many of your ideal customers do not know who you are yet. They need to be introduced to you and your great product or service. Unfortunately, too many people think of online marketing as tricking the-great-Google-list-making-robot into including you near the top of its list.

To the contrary, successful online marketing is about building relationships – not lists.

Someone needs to introduce your ideal customer to you – their ideal solution. That someone is often Google. Yet Google listing you doesn’t carry much emotional weight. Searchers tend to trust you more if you are on page one but there is still little emotional connection.

Relational marketing happens often on social media. Yet it can happen on Google, Yelp, and industry specific websites as well! Business reviews are one of the most effective means of having your business introduced to your ideal customer in an emotionally resonant way.

Searchers rely on business reviews to tell them whether to trust you or not. In essence, searchers and shoppers are asking their virtual neighbors whether to trust you or not. If their virtual neighbors trust you they are more likely to buy from you.

You probably rely on business reviews yourself. If you’re on Amazon you probably glance at the business reviews before you buy from a new seller. If you’re looking up a restaurant on Yelp you are probably relying on reviews to help you determine whether to try them for dinner or look for something else.

Your potential customers aren’t any different. They want someone to introduce you to them. You can encourage this through seeking business reviews.

When to Seek Business Reviews

Who do you want to review you? Your satisfied customers!

So ask them.

Many business lack online reviews because they don’t ask. If you sell a product ask for a review on your receipt, invoice, or packing slip. If you completed a service ask for a review immediately after the service has been rendered.

Some businesses offer drawings or discounts for writing a review. If you choose to do so you need to keep a couple things in mind:

  1. It is unethical to connect a discount or prize with writing a positive review. You should seek honest reviews. If your business can’t obtain positive reviews through honesty you should rethink your business. Make it clear to your customer that your great discount or drawing is theirs no matter what score they give you.
  2. Some websites (like Yelp) look down on incentivized reviews. They think the best reviews are spontaneous and completely organic. If you offer incentives for reviews expect some of those reviews to get flagged on Yelp and other websites.

Where to Seek Business Reviews

Asking for a review is fine but you will make things easier for your customers if you show them where to review you. If you ask for the review via email include links. If you ask for the review on a printed receipt or invoice use an easy to recall link (like myfantasticalwebsite.com/reviewus). The less friction between your customer and writing a review the more likely they are to provide one!

So, where should you send your customers to write those reviews? Well, that depends on your business. Yet there is one place that is always a good place for customers to review you… Psst! It’s Google.

Google Business Reviews

Holy Cross Lutheran Church on Google

Every business with a physical address should be using Google My Business. Google lets you list your name, logo, address, contact info, hours, website, social media accounts, reviews, and more. If you use this listing as part of your broader SEO strategy searchers will begin seeing your business listed in cards to the right of the search results.

Do this and searchers can review you by clicking Write a review within the card.

Because of the visibility of Google Business profiles within search results it is essential that your business have a profile if you have a physical address (which is one of the requirements to get a listing).

Yelp Business Reviews

Rystedt Creative on Yelp

Yelp is intended for all businesses – even we have a Yelp.

Yet Yelp has placed itself as an essential place for restaurant profiles. Your Yelp profile lists your company info, photos, and (with a paid profile) even call to action (CTA) buttons.

Most importantly, Yelp is a powerful review tool and is one of the sources Google uses to aggregate review data.

If you have a Yelp profile (and if you’re a restaurant owner you need one) send your customers a link to your Yelp so they can review you there. These reviews will boost your visibility on Yelp and get included in your Google business listing.

Facebook Business Reviews

Facebook Reviews - Rystedt Creative

In 2017 Facebook reported 2.2 billion active monthly users*. That’s a lot of people social-networking.

Every business should have a Facebook page. You can’t advertise on the platform without it plus it is the home for your Facebook based reviews.

Maintaining an effective Facebook business page requires an ever changing strategy. Yet Facebook business reviews have been a consistent part of Facebook strategies almost as long as they have existed.

Regardless of how you use your Facebook page you can point your customers to it to write a review. All they need to do is click on Reviews and they can write a new one.

Like Yelp reviews, Google will aggregate your Facebook reviews and include them in your Google business profile.

Industry Specific Business Reviews

You are a professional in your field (if you weren’t people wouldn’t pay you to do what you do). Consequently you probably know of some industry specific websites where you can ask for reviews. Run a store on another platform? Have a profile on a popular website? If they support reviews that may be another place to consider asking for them. Just remember, you want your reviews to be read by potential customers. If an industry specific website puts your reviews in front of more potential customers use it! If not, you are safe sticking with the heavy hitters – Google, Yelp, and Facebook.

Where to Display Your Business Reviews

Don’t forget about your website!

Your reviews are valuable content. Positive reviews are warm relational currency in a cold online advertising environment.

Reuse those business reviews!

If a customer writes a particularly glowing review consider republishing it on your website. Use it on your homepage and landing pages that relate to the product or service the customer is reviewing. If you place it right such a review can help convince your visitor to click that Learn More button. Use them in your portfolio as well (if your business has one).

You can even use structured metadata to help push those reviews and ratings back to Google and social networks when that webpage is linked to.

Complement Your Organic Search Rankings

Your online business reviews will complement your organic search engine rankings by building trust with potential customers before they even reach your website. Reviews beside your Google business card build trust in the buttons therein. Reviews in your Yelp profile increase trust in your CTA button. Reviews on your webpages increase trust in you and increase the likelihood that your visitor will convert into customers.

Not Sure How to Include Business Reviews Properly on Your Website?

Rystedt Creative can help optimize your webpages with business reviews in mind. We can add your existing reviews to your webpages with structured metadata included. Additionally, we can help ensure that Google is aware of the various review sources they should be aggregating.

Your next step is as easy as contacting us: