5 Online Review Tips for Small Businesses

The importance of online reviews is something that we have stressed a couple of times on this platform. Those that need reminders only need to consider the fact that 90% of people consult them before making a purchase, and the majority of consumers around the globe trust them as much as they do the recommendations that come from their friends of family. This article gives a few Online Review Tips for small business;

  1. Boost Local SEO with Online Reviews

Search Engine Optimization (SEO), is all about getting reviews on Google and other Search Engines. There are several things that small businesses can do to gain greater visibility. Unfortunately, the fact that they are small probably means that they have their work cut out as far as competing for visibility with established players is concerned. Big businesses have been at the game for a much longer period, so, is there any hope for the small business owner as far as getting greater SEO visibility is concerned?

Google Favors Local Results for Local SEO

The really fortunate thing is that all is not actually doom and gloom. Google and other Search Engines favor local results for local searches, meaning even if you are a plumber in a small town, you can still be visible where it matters the most; that is, when it comes to attracting business from people who live around you. So, how do you leverage online reviews to boost your local SEO?

  1. Get listed on Google, Yelp, Facebook and other free review sites

You may think that you will be charged an arm and a leg to have your small business listed on platforms such as Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook and TripAdvisor. However, the truth of the matter is that any business, large and small, can “claim,” their business listing on these platforms absolutely free of charge. What this means is that there is really no excuse for you to be left behind as far as giving your brand greater online visibility is concerned.

Another piece of good news is that getting listed on these platforms is a great way through which you can boost the local SEO that we are talking about. Search engines use the data that is collected from these platforms to show reviews across the web, including on Google Maps, giving you the kind of local visibility that every business is on the hunt for.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews

Okay, this piece of advice tends to depend on the site on which you wish to have reviews left. That’s because there are platforms, such as Google, that actually encourage businesses to remind their customers to leave reviews on the platform. Yelp, on the other hand, frowns on the solicitation of reviews from the people who you would have done business with.

For Google, however, there are several ways through which you can remind people to leave reviews, including via email, sms or even over the phone.

However, all these steps tend to be cumbersome, which is why we recommend that you automate the process, by signing up with a review syndication company such as Shopper Approved. Once you have done this, the process of gathering and syndicating reviews to Google and other sites becomes automated, which makes life really easy.

  1. Don’t forget star ratings

Part of the draw for online reviews is the fact that they form part of the data that is used by Search Engines, particularly Google, to come up with product and Store Ratings in Google PLAs and in Google Ads. The star rating system may appear to be useless at first glance. However, the truth of the matter is the system is actually a great way through which you can boost your business’ online visibility.

Indeed, Google itself mentions that businesses that have star rating extensions in their AdWords Ads get a CTR boost of around 17%.

How to get star ratings

We have previously written an article in which we give you a step by step guide on how you can get star ratings in your AdWords Ads as well as in Google organic traffic. Needless to say here, that there are several companies that have been approved to syndicate Seller and Product rating extensions. Shopper Approved is one of the companies that we are always recommending on this blog, for the simple reason that it is approved to syndicate both Seller and Product ratings.

  1. Negative Reviews are a part of life

Online reviews are, as we have already noted, a great way through which you can get feedback from your customers. However, where there is interaction with people, it’s almost inevitable that there is going to be some level of negativity, no matter how much you may be trying to please everyone.

Negative reviews are, in this regard, something that small business owners should learn to expect and accept. If you have been reading across the internet, you will have come across instances where business owners, particularly small business owners, have reacted to negative feedback in such a way that the whole thing had turned into a debacle.

How to react to negative reviews

Most platforms will show the latest reviews first, meaning that though the internet may appear to be forever, it’s still possible for you to drown out negative reviews by generating a lot of positive feedback. You will notice that, after a while, the negative reviews will be pushed onto the backburner.

Another way through which you can counter negative reviews is by reaching out to the concerned customer and making sure that their issue is resolved. What you will notice is that you can actually persuade them at the end of the day to edit their review into something positive.

You can also, where the reviews are inappropriate and offensive, report them to Google, Yelp, Facebook, or any other platform that you may be using. This will ensure that the reviews are looked at and, where it is deemed to be necessary, removed from your page.

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