Local reviews mean a lot. Here's how to make the most of them.

A Bad Review is Better Than no Review – Here’s Why

If you operate locally or regionally, it makes a lot of sense to get as many local reviews from customers as you possibly can. Here’s why reviews are always good even when they’re bad, and how to make the most of the opportunity.

Why bother with reviews?

Reviews are about much more than merely getting feedback from your customers. Reviews and ratings help Google figure out the value of your business to your customers, which in turn helps them rank and rate your website in the natural search results. If you have a string of five-star reviews and your closest search space competitor has a series of rubbish ones, who wins? You do, and the better your site’s visibility, the more customers you’ll attract. It’s the best possible kind of Catch 22.

About Google and local reviews

In a world where winning decent national or international visibility is an incredibly challenging task, good local search visibility is an excellent thing to have.

Take it straight from the horse’s mouth. Google itself says that they might display information from ratings in Google Knowledge Cards, together with your organisation’s details. They also say ratings and reviews must come directly from users, that there’s a real difference between user ratings and critic reviews, that it’s no good copying reviews from other review sites, and that they focus on genuine reviews. If reviews weren’t relevant to the search engine, they wouldn’t bother giving these guidelines.

The word on the streets is that doing so improves your local search rankings. In fact, it has helped plenty of businesses achieve a coveted page top-of-page-one Google position locally.

Ask for reviews – People won’t bite, and they can only say ‘no.’

Google also recommends asking your customers for reviews. There’s no reason why not – they can only say no. When people who’ve used or otherwise encountered you, it’s easy for them to leave a review on your Google My Business page.

It might feel a bit awkward, especially when you’re a Brit. It isn’t our style to ask for compliments. But this is business, and as long as your customers think you’re great some of them will be happy to truck along and give you a decent review, even if it’s just a one-liner.

Website reviews are also marketing gold dust. Make sure people can leave reviews actually on your site itself. If there’s no way for them to do it, they won’t be able to do it, if you see what we mean! It’s a bit like expecting to win the lottery when you haven’t bought a ticket. When you ask them straight away after they’ve used your services or bought stuff from you, they’ll be more likely to do it. It needn’t be complicated. You just need to ask one simple open question, something like “How do you feel about your experience with us?”

Twitter is another place where reviews can have an excellent local impact. It’s more than likely that your home town or city has its community of chatty local people, who talk to each other about local subjects. Hook into that, and you’ll have a fertile field to plough… assuming your products and services are good enough, useful enough, popular enough.

Facebook works too. Does your town, city or county have its own Facebook page? If so, join in. Don’t underestimate the power of Facebook as an alternative search engine. It is used daily by billions of people to track down the local products, services and businesses they need. And they take careful note of what their fellow users say about local businesses.

All of which brings us on to negative reviews. Are they really as bad thing?

Why you should appreciate negative reviews

We know a few business owners who rub their hands together in glee when they get a rotten review. Are they mad? As it turns out, they’re pretty sensible.

Some people absolutely dread getting a negative review. Others relish them. Some people even look forward to getting bad reviews. How come? It’s because a poor review does an awful lot to reveal and highlight areas where you could do better. They provide incredibly valuable clues about how to improve the way you do things, make more friends, influence more people, and they’re particularly handy because it’s often tricky to see the wood for the trees without them.

There’s more. While people tend to tell more of their contacts about a bad experience than a good experience, resolving an issue for someone who’s had a problem makes them a lot more loyal to your business than if they never had a bad experience in the first place. It looks like poor reviews are the shiniest, most precious gold dust of all!

If you’d like to further discuss Local reviews we’d love to talk