The benefits of customer feedback are overwhelmingly positive to any business. Using feedback and reviews from your customers you can improve your operations, correct shortcomings, and simply provide you the insight to deliver an outstanding product or service as well as customer service.
But how valuable are those customer reviews and recommendations in your local online marketing?
Lets start with how valuable customer reviews are in your local marketing campaigns. One of the biggest benefits to online reviews is attaining higher rank in local search engine results. By getting customer reviews in your Google+ Local Pages as well as other local directories, your Google+ Local Pages will receive higher rankings in Google’s local search results. The more positive reviews you have, the better you will rank against your local competition.
Getting customer reviews in other directories, such as Yelp and Bing, is equally valuable. Not only will you increase your search results with those directories, there is also a benefit from directories sharing reviews with one another, for instance, Yelp is feeding its online reviews of restaurants and merchants to the Bing search engine.
The most well known example of this was Yelp reviews showing up on Google. And while Yelp reviews are no longer displayed on Google+ Local Page’s they still have value. Existing reviews in external websites like Yelp help build your company’s brand recognition as well as acting as a ‘citation’.
Citations are defined as “mentions” of your business name and contact information on other web pages, even if there is no link to your website. An example of a citation might be an online yellow pages directory where your business is listed, but not linked to.
Citations essentially get you recognized- and more often than not, Google will rank a brand name business that it recognizes over a company it has never heard of before- because they assume that if they have been exposed to the brand previously, there is a better chance that the business is stable and real. The same goes for the business’ physical location in the Google+ Local Page. Google uses external citations of the business (such as those found on Yelp) to confirm that the business has accurate contact information, because Google wants to deliver the results that they think are most accurate.
Another great benefit of customer reviews is that you can place them on your website. Creating a page for reviews and testimonials on your website can have several significant benefits. In the first place, having testimonials on your website will help convince other potential clients to use your service by demonstrating the value you are delivering to your previous customers. Secondly, new testimonials on your website add localized copy for the search engines to index and link to. Finally, you can micro-format your customer reviews and testimonials. Micro-formatting will help Google understand what these testimonials are and act as ‘off-site citations’ for your Google+ Local Page. If you can aggregate these reviews into specific services or products, Google can display that micro-formatted data directly in their search results. Websites with micro-formatted displays in Google’s main search have been shown to have increased click-through rates.
So, how can you automate it so you have a steady stream of customer reviews going to your local marketing campaigns, on websites, social media, mobile and directories?
That will be the topic for our upcoming joint webinar with Listen360. Join the experts from both Listen360 and ElementsLocal on August 29th to learn more about how to leverage your customer reviews in your local online marketing. Click here to sign up >>