The importance of online reviews for local SEO can’t be understated — especially in light of some new findings by BrightLocal’s Consumer Review Survey. This 2017 survey took a look at key SEO and local review trends that have emerged this year, with results pertaining only to local business services and not products. The takeaway from the report is that more people than ever before — nearly every consumer surveyed — has looked for a local business online at least once during the year. In fact, consumers are becoming more reliant on reviews before making a decision (especially as big a decision as whom to trust for eldercare), preferring businesses with many high-scoring reviews on a regular basis.
In addition, they’re switching their habits after reading a positive review: whereas in the past, they may have jumped onto the business’ website to do some research, now they are making a much more direct impact by picking up the phone, sending an email or even making an in-person visit. This is a crucial change in behavior, putting your business in a much better position to make a meaningful impact in a quicker manner. This is especially interesting given the question of authenticity of online content these days. But consumers are smart; they can spot a fake review pretty easily, with nearly 75% saying they’ve encountered an obviously fake review in the last year.
Driving your home care brand’s local search ranking and performance forward is key, and it all starts with leveraging your online reviews (especially Google reviews!). Not only are online reviews and customer feedback huge parts of a consumers’ decisions, they play an increasingly vital role in local search, points out Search Engine Journal. Managing this all can get tricky, which is why you need an expert on your side to perform Online Reviews Management and Marketing, or ORMM for short. In short, this is the way in which you encourage and promote the placement of favorable reviews while responding to unfavorable reviews. Whether you’re a big business, small business, or somewhere in between, the public’s perception of you matters.
Not only does it matter but it matters locally — right in your hometown.
Trust is at the heart of online reviews. BrightLocal’s survey found that consumers read an average of seven reviews before trusting a business, an increase from six last year. In addition, positive reviews sway 73% of consumers into trusting a local business more. Entrepreneur says 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, with 72 percent taking action only after reading a positive review.
Because you are providing a local service (eldercare in a home setting or on-site), local search and their associated reviews are important to track. Bottom line: if you want to secure a prominent position in the local SERPs, you need user reviews, points out Search Engine Watch. And if you want to get the click-throughs or in-person visits, you need those reviews to be good — no, you need them to be amazing. This is even more crucial if you are just one of many eldercare businesses in your local community. If more and more people are trusting online reviews before taking action, it stands to reason you must appear as the best in order to get their attention.
Importance of Reviews
OK, so we’ve covered why positive reviews are so good. But what about the flip side: how damaging are the negative ones? Well, they have the potential to be pretty bad. You’re not selling socks or delivering pizza. You’re caring for human beings — someone’s mother, father, sister, child, or friend. You can’t afford the aftershocks of a negative review about your business because trust is so tightly intertwined with human emotion. Entrepreneur found that a single negative review can cost a business up to 30 customers. Fact is, it’s insanely easy to share opinions these days. What one person says with one single post can be seen by anyone who cares to look. Just a few negative words can plunge you into a recovery operation that will take up far too much of your time and resources to adequately handle.
Online reviews management is often like putting out fires. Yes, you want to accumulate, promote and foster the good ones. But even if you have 50 good reviews and one bad egg comes along, well, you had better jump to action before it erases all those positive effects. The BrightLocal survey found that responding to reviews is more important than ever before, with 30% of respondents saying this was a top factor when judging local businesses.
Yelp, Google, and Facebook took the top prizes for the review sites most trusted for local searches. What does YOUR reputation look like on those sites? Need help pulling it all together?
Contact A Servant’s Heart Web Design and Marketing
Please call us at 760-744-8200 to learn how the experts at A Servant’s Heart Web Design and Marketing can boost your home care SEO with online review management.