Online consumer behaviour has significantly evolved in the wake of the pandemic. As many as 54% of South African consumers are now shopping online. Aligned with this, there is a growing trend in the trust gained from reviews of other customers, those that have tried and tested a service provider and left a Google review of their experience.

This is a worldwide trend – shoppers are placing the bulk of their buying decision power in the hands of other consumers by examining product and service reviews and acting on it.  These reviews are delivered by real people, providing 3rd party evidence supporting shopping decisions.

Why is it an issue for your business? For the simple reason that these reviews are recorded in your Google Business profile, and they are read by individuals considering the use of your services or the purchase of your products. They are a very public and highly visible aspect of local SEO efforts, and now more important than ever.

Where Google reviews fit into SEO

Google My Business is the leading platform for businesses of all kinds to garner reviews that are be showcased to new and potential clients. It’s here that existing customers, familiar with your brand, can share their opinions of doing business with you. Because these reviews are public, how you respond to them directly impacts on your business’s reputation, authenticity, trustworthiness and reliability.

According to recent research, off-site SEO strategies such as local SEO efforts can carry up to more than 50% of search ranking weight. Essentially, this means that ensuring positive Google reviews, while we are continuing to implement and maintain our other off-site SEO tactics, is a large part of your website’s organic success.

What Google reviews do for conversions

Showing off your business’s Google reviews is a fantastic way to turn consumer trust into measurable ROI. The more reviews you can gather for your business, the more your online presence is enhanced. This allows for better SEO as search engines flag your brand as trustworthy by the real people leaving reviews, which ultimately provides the opportunity to be showcased to more potential clients.

Do you have a strategy for Google reviews?

Whilst some hold the view that Google reviews should be allowed to acquire organically only, we have found that this, combined with a targeted approach to key clients delivers the ideal result in terms of accumulation of quality reviews.

Here are 5 habits that you should cultivate to nurture and grow your Google reviews:

Ensure that you respond on all reviews promptly to acknowledge the feedback.

Rogue reviews i.e. reviews from individuals that are not clients, need to be reported to Google. (This is performed by our team as part of the SEO service that we render to our clients.)

Ask your key clients to add their reviews to your Google Business profile (and then acknowledge the review publicly). There is absolutely no shame in asking for a Google review. Provide your customer with a link to your Google Business profile so that it is easy for the customer to leave a review for you

Share those reviews on your social pages.

Remember to touch on your great reviews in conversations with potential new customers. If you have successfully earned a great Google rating, show off. You have certainly earned the right to!

The Cape Business Online team is passionate about working with our customers to find new and innovative ways to enhance your SEO results. If you require additional information on how to improve your Google reviews strategy, reach out to us:

021 913 2646