By Kellen Kautzman

In today’s world, a business’s online reputation can either boost their success or destroy them. Consumers research and analyze businesses online before they decide where they want to eat dinner, what products to buy or which companies to hire for specific services. Positive online reviews can make your business soar above the competition and showcase the quality of your company over the mass quantity of competitors.

Ask Friends and Family for Google Reviews

If your business has hundreds on positive Google reviews and a nearby competitor only has a handful, who are they likely to choose?

Consumers are likely to choose a business or service that other consumers prefer and recommend. As reported in Forbes:

“… when people didn’t have a strong opinion about the choices presented to them, they simply mimicked the people around them. Rather than asking questions, or spending time learning about products, people deferred to the “social default.” 

Any easy way to beef up Google reviews is to ask family, friends and existing clientele to leave a review about their experience with your company. If needed, you can even show the review writer on his or her mobile phone exactly what to do and where to go. It never hurts to ask, and chances are everyone will be happy to help!

Luckily with online Google reviews, you are only judged against those in your own industry. You only have to concern yourself with the number of reviews your competition has. If the typical review amount is 20, shoot for 40 reviews. If your number of reviews are dramatically higher than your nearest competitor, a potential customer won’t spend spend much time thinking about which business to choose.

Respond to Reviews and Questions in the ‘Google My Business’ section

In addition to asking people to leave Google reviews, as a business owner, it is important you interact with consumers on your Google business section. Replying to reviews is an often-underutilized strategy for many business owners and entrepreneurs.

Responding to both positive and negative reviews can actually increase your Google ranking. For example, if you receive a one-star review, a great way to handle it is to respond, offer your apologies and suggest they contact you view phone or email to further discuss the situation. The content, which is typically long-form in negative reviews, is picked up by search engines. The end result for responding to both positive and negative reviews is that the business ranks higher and can actually come across as more authentic, given that all of their reviews don’t appear “fake.” If you receive a five-star review, thank the customer for their business and encourage them to come back again soon.

Another important aspect is to respond to any questions consumers ask. By directly answering questions, it shows you care about your clientele. The interaction is important to add a human-aspect and personality to your business. It may even be the tiebreaker for the customer when it comes to choosing you or a competitor.  

Responding on Yelp

Yelp is a stricter platform on the web in terms of reviews, so it is especially important to interact with your clientele there as well. Yelp will only allow a review if it passes their strict metrics, which include how long the reviewer has had a Yelp account, the number of reviews they’ve written and the quality of the review, etc. Since it is often a little more challenging to earn Yelp reviews, responding to every review is an effective strategy to increase awareness and attract new business. When you respond to a review, you are showing potential customers that you care enough to communicate with them. They are small assets that assist your business. Treat them with the respect they deserve and respond to their reviews!

The effect on organic rankings, your reputation online and thus sales is measurable. In the world of business, the voice of the community can help set you apart from your competitors. The longer, more in-depth the reviews, the better – remember, quality over quantity. Who doesn’t respond to a good story well told? And remember that search engines pick up keywords within the reviews, so the SEO benefits of a great set of reviews can be substantial.

Featured photo credit: Depositphotos