Before discussing how to increase your organic ranking on Google, let’s first tackle the question: “Why worry about an online reputation at all?” As a business owner, there are an INFINITE amount of things that you need to do each day to ensure that your business is running well. Juggling all the different “hats” and departments – operations, accounting, HR – that marketing in general, let alone managing your online reputation, becomes a low priority for your time and attention.
BUT consumers have access to endless information at their fingertips, including information that will help them make a decision about businesses before they even step foot in your door. In order to ensure long term viability of your business, you need to ensure that you are properly managing your online reputation. Businesses that actively manage their online reputation will be the ones who thrive!
This blog covers three important elements of how you can win more customers through a stellar online reputation: 1) Consider how customers find you online,2) why they choose you, 3) and why they trust you.
Why is it important to manage your online reputation?
More and more consumers are going to the “digital front door” before ever calling to make an appointment, or step foot in your physical location. They have made up their mind on your business without you ever getting the opportunity to introduce yourself!
How customers find you
First you have to consider how customers find you online. The customer journey begins most times with a Google search, usually on mobile. (Fun fact: 60% of Google’s searches are now on mobile.) Usually searching for businesses around them using location, searching for the top rated, or sometimes by an attribute.
Google’s algorithm will then determine your ranking.
When they search, Google uses a complex algorithm to show them the best matches. Google takes into consideration a business’s reputation, such as online reviews and listings to rank them. Meaning, businesses that have a complete Google listing and positive reviews, are going to show up in the top search results! 66% of your ability to show up in local search and outrank your competitors is directly linked to managing your listings and reputation.
So what does this mean for your business? Simply put…Customers will only find you on Google if your listings are accurate and you have reviews.
Correct Listings Increase Visibility on Google
Firstly, things to discuss is your online listings. Ensuring your business has a complete Google My Business profile will increase your chances of being ranked highly on Google and thus, outrank a competitor.
19% of your Google ranking is determined by Google My Business (GMB). A well-maintained GMB profile gets 5x more views than an incomplete profile.
An optimized GMB listings includes:
○ Physical address
○ Phone number
Positive Reviews Increase Visibility on Google
Other than your listing, reviews play a crucial part in how your rank on Google. Google only wants to recommend the best quality businesses in a search result, so Google considers the quantity of reviews, ratings, if reviews have received a response and relevance to search keywords.
This makes having abundant, recent, and highly rated reviews crucial to being spotted by your prospective customers. Even if your business matches all the searcher’s terms, low ratings or having zero online reviews could mean you lose your spot to a competitor.
13.1% of your Google ranking is determined by Google reviews.
Prominence on Google considers:
○ Quantity of reviews
○ Rating of reviews
○ If reviews receive a response
○ Keywords in reviews & search
Why Customers Choose You
Now suppose after the customer performs their initial Google search, they’ve got to consider the businesses they’ve found. What makes a customer choose YOUR business over your competitor? It comes down to these crucial questions:
Is the information correct?
Are they reviewed positively?
What do other people have to say about the business online?
What makes a prospective customer choose you over competitors:
● 80% of people lose trust in a business with incorrect info1
● 91% of people trust reviews as much as personal recommendations2
Reviews Influence Buying Decisions
Would you ever eat at a restaurant that had only a 2-star rating? No—you’d keep looking. Almost everyone reads online reviews and even 94% of people have said a negative review has convinced them to avoid a business. Customers trust online reviews because they act as social proof. So, now that the customer has found your business online, you’ve got to ensure your reviews are doing more good than harm.
Reviews now make the first impression for your business:
● 3.3 is the minimum star rating of a business consumers would engage with1
Reviews guide purchase behavior:
● 94% of consumers say an online review has convinced them to avoid a business2
● 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews3
But, online reviews aren’t the only place customers are talking about your business! Prospective customers also form an opinion about your business based on the online content they read about your business, whether it’s in social media content, a news article, or Google Q&A.
Imagine if your business was being talked about negatively in a news article or a blog and you never knew about it? Unbeknownst to you, it could be turning away customers.
When it comes to a business’s online reputation, what the business doesn’t know can hurt it.
Why Customers Trust You
Consider why customers would trust you
Let’s presume the customer finds your business online, chooses to spend their money with you… what helps them become a loyal customer?
Managing your online presence is a never ending process. Never miss an opportunity to capture a customer’s positive experience to then share it with potential customers, repeating the cycle of finding, choosing, and trusting with even more customers.
Customers decide if their experience will lead to loyalty:
● 70% of people leave a review when asked1
● 53% of consumers expect a response to a negative review2
Putting It into Action for Your Business
The last step is to put this into action! I strongly believe online reputation is one of the best things that a business can do to increase their sales, because it helps organically increase your Google ranking, creates trust and helps customers pick YOUR business.
If all of this seems a little overwhelming to start tackling, or you don’t have time to manage your online reputation, let LaRue Marketing Co. help! We offer a solution called “Reputation Management” that simplifies this process. From a single dashboard, you can stay on top of your business’s online reputation, including monitoring and improving listings, monitoring and responding to reviews, and understanding what’s being said about your business online through mention and competitor monitoring.
Reputation Management brings all of the factors that contribute to your business’s online presence in one place, so you can take control of your online reputation.
Fill out your free online presence report or schedule a free 30-minute consultation to review your business.