Hello, Nick Ponte here. I own a small business in Maui, and I like to support other business owners by sharing how they can boost their success through digital marketing.

Today, we’re talking about reputation marketing. This is a process that can help your small businesses gain more good reviews online. When those reviews are promoted, reputation marketing will help more customers find you.

Google’s star ratings and customer reviews influence local search results. The more positive reviews and ratings you have, the more they improve your visibility in local search results. These ratings give searchers confirmation of your business’s credibility and good service.

Did you know that nearly half of consumers won’t even consider a business with less than 4 stars in Google reviews? Why would they settle for less-than-excellent service when others have better ratings? A poor reputation can turn away customers before you’ve had a chance to introduce them to your business.

Also read: Local SEO: Maximizing Your Local Business’ ‘Near Me’ Rank

Why Are Google Star Ratings Important?

High Google star ratings encourage future customers to trust your service. These ratings come from consumer reviews.

Let me give an example: One local sandwich shop (who will remain anonymous), known for its long-time presence and loyal customer base, received several negative reviews and ratings from new patrons concerning their cash-only policy and attitude toward diners who came unprepared. These reviews certainly affect their incoming business when hungry out-of-towners are searching the internet for a convenient and friendly place to eat.

Consumers pay attention to these ratings, so they should be a priority for business owners to maintain. Over time, your star ratings should improve your business’s online engagement, boost local search rankings, and draw in more customers.

By the way, Google offers Google My Business profile owners several resources for managing Google reviews. 

3 Steps to Positive Google Ratings

Managing stars on business listings can be a little tricky, but here are a few steps you can take to work toward positive search results and online engagement:

  • Invite Reviews

You need real reviews for your ratings to show up. If you need to boost the number of ratings, provide a link to regular clients to your review page through social media, a QR code, or follow-up emails. It may take a couple of weeks for new reviews to affect your overall rating scores.

A great practice for businesses to implement is addressing negative reviews. When I see business owners’ kind responses to negative reviews with offers to make the customers’ experiences more positive, that improves my opinion of their customer service and shows me that those businesses genuinely work to provide the best service possible.

Google may or may not show these star ratings in search results. To ensure that they do, follow the next step.

See also: 3 Practical Ways Local Businesses Can Adopt E-Commerce

  • Add Schema Markup to Your Website

After you’ve gotten several positive reviews, work with your web development team to add schema markup to your website. This involves adding review statistics into your website’s coding and will need to be periodically updated. You can test your structured data with Google’s testing tools.

At some point, Google will add the stars to search result listings, though there’s no guaranteed timeline as to when they become visible.

  • Pay Attention to Third-Party Sites

Third-party review sites, such as Yelp or Bizrate, often include star ratings for businesses. You can add Google stars to the search results that appear from these sites. 

The types of third-party review sites to engage with depending on the type of product or service your business provides. Since we’re in Hawaii, we often deal with TripAdvisor reviews at a higher rate than other places. Using the previously suggested methods, prompt customers to leave reviews on the review site that fits your business, and respond to them as they come.

Your customers’ positive experiences power good reviews. If you want your business to have a reputation of quality and customer care, having high star ratings in Google search results is crucial. You will find great value in the investment of your online presence.

If you want to learn more or want help, reach out to us today!

Further Reading: Boost Your Internet Marketing in Hawaii With These Tips

 

Photo Courtesy of Gaylon Yancy

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