Google is clearly the dominant player in the internet search industry. Far from just showing you a website related to your inquiry, Google now uses its search algorithms to recommend restaurants, retailers and other services. In order to prioritize its recommendations, Google relies heavily on user reviews and ratings. This factor can often be the difference between Google driving traffic to your business or to your competition.

A recent study conducted by brightlocal found that a business needs an average of 47 reviews to be included in the top three results for a search. While positive and consistent reviews played a major role in determining the business’s search ranking, other factors like effective SEO can also make a difference.

Reviews = Authority

Having a multitude of reviews increases your businesses legitimacy, with research indicated that consumers do not trust star rankings of companies with fewer than 34 reviews. Clearly, while the number of reviews is an important metric, the accompanying star ranking is as well. On average, businesses need a ranking between 4-5 stars to be recommended and even slight differences in the average ranking can determine the position of your business in a search result. Across the platform, the average rating required to break into the local businesses list is 4.42 stars

Different industries require specialized google business review optimization. Some industries, like hospitality and food service, are more likely to be well reviewed. This makes it even more important to ensure that your business’s online presence is robust and up to date. Other industries, like home repair and finance, have significantly lower bars of entry. In these industries, even a small amount of attention to online presence can yield major results.

Additionally, different industries need to encourage different tones for their reviewers. Where a retail chain may prefer many short reviews with high rankings, health service providers need to seek reviews that have more substance. In each of the respective fields, a very different strategy must be employed for maximum effect.

Outsmarting the Scammers

The importance of Google reviews has spawned an entire industry dedicated to creating false reviews and attempts to game the system. Instead of relying on a savvy marketing team to convert fan loyalists to reviewers, companies will pay for scammy solutions. These astroturfed comments are often apparent to people while only barely (and temporarily) fooling the algorithms. Instead of resorting to trickery, create awareness about the impact of a review to satisfied customers. Additionally, respond to reviewers so they know that their feedback is valued and heard. Often, customers are more interested in knowing there is a voice listening to them than in the content of their message. Make sure that your review page is a place of honest dialog that reflects your brand’s culture.

Begin creating an authentic marketing plan today!

At Garlic Media Group, we understand how to use reviews to make Google work for you. With years of experience and hundreds of client’s assisted, we know how to increase your company’s online presence and drive sales. Our marketing team is skilled in developing relationships with customers and leveraging these relationships to grow business and expand. Call us today to start developing your custom online strategy.

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