Customer Reviews in Local SEO: How They Nurture Your Online Reputation


Customer Reviews in Local SEO: How They Nurture Your Online Reputation

local SEO and Digital Marketing

In a bustling downtown, a newly opened cafe grapples with low foot traffic. Meanwhile, a local florist gains fame for its beautiful arrangements posted online, and a nearby restaurant takes a hit from forum discussions about its poor service. 

While each is different, these situations share a common truth: online reviews shape consumer choices and business reputation. Today’s digital landscape bridges the online and the local worlds, leveraging local SEO to offer brand exposure and drive customer growth. 

This article focuses on the impact and strategies for managing customer reviews in local SEO.

The Impact of Customer Reviews on Local SEO

In local SEO, search engines evaluate businesses using various factors, including online customer reviews. Optimized pages land at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs), alongside other benefits.

Here are more specific benefits of positive reviews that can boost your local SEO efforts. 

Improve Local Rankings

local rankings icon

Google says your visibility in the SERPs increases with positive reviews. When customers use your target local keywords [e.g., best (your business) in (your location)] in their reviews, it helps elevate your website’s ranking. Thus, more people will discover your business. 

Enhance Click-Through Rates (CTR)

Customer reviews enhance your CTR by demonstrating social proof. A high volume and rating of reviews on your listing encourage users to click and explore your brand, fostering trust.

Boost Local Business Trust and Credibility

As a local business owner, your goal is to become the neighborhood go-to. Over time, more people will come to town, presenting an opportunity to establish trust and credibility. Many will likely check information online beforehand, and what better way to encourage them than showcasing authentic online reviews?

Strategies for Nurturing Your Online Reputation

Now that you know how online reviews influence your local SEO, let’s explore strategies for earning genuine feedback and building a good online reputation. 

Encouraging Customer Reviews

Before you worry about good or bad reviews, let’s get those reviews rolling in first. Seeking customer feedback is a vital practice of a successful business, even more so in local marketing. The question is, how

  • Use multiple review formats and channels. Some customers like emails, while others prefer in-person requests. However, with mobile communication on the rise, consider asking via text messages as well. Always engage with your target audience to better understand their preferences.
  • Keep your requests simple. Thank the customer for choosing your business and encourage them to discuss their experience.
  • Personalize your requests. Address customers by their name, mention unique details from their visit, and emphasize that their feedback matters.
  • Share your Google Reviews link. Make the search easier for your customers. Navigate the “Get more reviews” button on your Google Business Profile (GBP) to find the link.
  • Follow up. Customers might forget to leave reviews. Send reminders via email or text or include printed notes in product packages when applicable.
  • Train your staff to ask for reviews. Your staff interact with customers the most. Thus, they are valuable assets in gathering reviews for your business.

Responding to Reviews

customer reviews and responses

Once you’re getting reviews, your next goal is to respond appropriately. This applies to both positive and negative reviews; it shows that you value their feedback, enhancing your reputation and establishing trust.

Below are some tips for crafting professional and empathetic responses.

Addressing Negative Reviews

Negative reviews are inevitable, but there are ways to minimize their impact or even turn them into positive outcomes for your business. Here’s how:

  • Think before you speak. Give yourself a certain amount of time to internalize and plan a proper response.
  • Always thank your customer for their input. Even if you receive a bad review, start by expressing gratitude. After all, the customer took the time to share their feedback.
  • Offer solutions. Correctly addressing a negative review involves providing an actionable plan.
  • Speak responsibly. Avoid aggression and defensiveness when responding to bad reviews. Talk respectfully, acknowledge the customer’s concerns, apologize when necessary, and focus on providing the solution. 
  • Stand your ground, but respectfully. The customer is not always right. If you’re 100% certain a review is unfair, there’s no need to undermine yourself. However, do provide specific details to support your stance.

Leveraging Positive Reviews

What about good reviews? Do we respond with a simple thanks and that’s it? Certainly not, because the benefits go beyond that. You can still maximize their impact using these techniques.

  • Share positive reviews on your social media, newsletters, website, packaging, etc., to increase traffic and encourage existing customers to leave feedback.
  • Incorporate variety into your review sharing to appeal to various preferences. Use pull quotes, reels, interviews, website testimonials with filters, or even case studies.
  • Don’t stop with saying thank you. Ensure your customers understand the value of their feedback and express your excitement about serving them again soon.
  • Create a referral program. Offer a unique link or code rewarding both the referrer and referee for purchases, adding reviews into the process for an extra reward.

Optimizing Review Profiles for Local SEO

You’ve just learned how to generate and respond to good and bad feedback. Now, let’s move on to optimizing your review profiles for better local SEO results.

Google Business Profile Reviews

Your Google Business profile plays a major role in your local SEO strategy. It helps your business appear in the local search results, providing quick information to potential customers. It also features a review section, which is why optimization is necessary.

Consider these tips to keep your Google Business Profile reviews tailored to improving local SEO. 

  • Incorporate keywords naturally into your responses.
  • Update your GBP posts regularly.
  • Use genuine, high-quality photos and videos when posting.
  • Update your GBP immediately after making any company changes. 
  • Always respond to reviews. For location-specific concerns, assign someone who understands the local context of the reviews.
  • Stick to your brand guide when responding. Is your brand empathic and soothing, or do you prefer a confident and classy tone? 

Some tips may not directly involve managing review profiles, but they still influence people’s perception of your business and impact the reviews they leave.

Third-Party Review Platforms

Have you registered your local business on popular review sites aside from GBP? If not, now’s the time to step up your local SEO game. 

Third-party review sites or apps host various businesses, products, and services and allow users to leave ratings and reviews. They help expand brand exposure and contribute user-generated content, which search engines factor into local rankings.

Here’s a list of popular third-party review platforms for you to explore.

  • Yelp
  • TripAdvisor
  • Trustpilot
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Yellow Pages

Monitoring and Managing Online Reputation

monitoring tools for online reputation management

At this point, you’ve already mastered the fundamentals. The final phase is monitoring customer feedback to determine the effectiveness of your approach.

Monitoring Tools

In review management, every second counts. Monitoring tools provide real-time customer updates about your business, enabling prompt action when needed. They also demonstrate responsiveness, enhancing customer satisfaction. 

Here are some of the best review monitoring tools you can try.

  • Google Alerts for tracking specific keywords or phrases
  • Reputology for tracking and handling online reviews from popular third-party review sites
  • Mention for monitoring social media channels
  • Awario for tracking mentions across various sources
  • for collecting and responding to feedback across various customer touchpoints

Sentiment Analysis

Interactions in the digital realm lack visual cues like facial expressions and body language. Therefore, analyzing the sentiment of words is the best method for evaluating customer satisfaction.

Sentiment analysis refers to evaluating emotions and opinions in customer feedback. It’s automated, involving machine learning and natural language processing techniques to identify whether a review is positive, negative, or neutral.

Here are some fantastic tools for this job.

  • BrandWatch
  • Lexalytics
  • Awario
  • Aylient
  • Hootsuite Insights

Key Takeaway

A single online review can lead plenty of customers straight to your doorstep. That’s the impact of customer reviews on local SEO, influencing search rankings, customer decisions, and brand reputation. Proper management is essential to ensure only positive effects.

At Marketing Done Right, we understand that there’s nothing more important than keeping your customers happy. When satisfied, they are more than willing to share why. And when they do, you earn one of your best assets: an authentic testimonial. We’re an established team of seasoned marketers, website builders, and developers who deliver high-quality services to our clients. Contact MDR today, and let’s kickstart your local SEO journey!


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