September 24, 2020

4 Tactics to Beat Your Competitors in Search with Reviews

Here are the 4 tactics you can implement today that will utilize reviews to make your business the obvious choice over your competitors.

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How do your customers choose you vs. the store across the street? 

Let’s run through a hypothetical local search scenario.

Is this how you do it?

  1. Search for “pizza”, for example.

  2. Identify a couple of pizza places towards the top of the search list that are reasonably close to you and have good ratings (4.0+).

  3. Benchmark overall rating and total lifetime reviews.

  4. Skim 10 recent reviews from each pizza shop.

  5. Make selection in 1-2 mins.

Reasons a searcher may not select your business:

  • Your business is not showing up in the local pack, which is in the first three organic positions on Google accounting for 93% of searches.

  • You don’t have enough lifetime reviews for your content to be perceived as reliable (10 vs. 100).

  • Your score is below 4.0 (Google will auto-filter your listing for "best of" searches).

  • You don’t have 10 fresh reviews. According to Brightlocal, those who read reviews usually read an average of 10 before they trust a business. Also, 40% of customers won’t consider reviews older than two weeks. Shoot for 20 a month.

Putting this all together, here are the 4 tactics you can implement today that will utilize reviews to make your business the obvious choice over your competitors:

  1. Get as many views as you can and respond to every review. This will give you the best shot to land in the Local Pack.

  2. Start with an initial goal of 100 lifetime reviews. Hitting that milestone will minimize any doubt a prospect may have about your credibility. With that said, the sky is the limit. There is no ideal maximum amount of reviews - just more.

  3. When it comes down to it all the SEO tricks and hacks won’t make up for a subpar in-store experience. Make sure your fundamentals are good and over time you should find yourself in the 4.2-4.7 range which is where you want to be.

  4. When most impactful reviews have a short shelf life. Prospects want a fresh look at what is going on at the store. A goal of 20 new reviews a month is a great starting point, more specifically 20 good reviews. In most cases negative reviews cannot be removed from your page, so the best strategy is to respond professionally and surround negative commentary with more positive commentary.

Your current customers are influencing the decisions of your prospects, and your reputation is being defined and redefined daily. An ongoing review strategy will ensure you put your best foot forward every day in an ever-changing local search market.

To execute an effective review strategy you need to ask every one of your customers to leave a review, and you need to engage with each review you receive. 

Do what you can to get more customer reviews, then handle them in a timely and customized manner.

When done correctly, you will be in a stronger position for success in local search because your page is continually getting fresh third-party content, which Google highly values.

But possibly more important, you are providing the social proof your prospects need to feel they are making the right call. 

That’s the secret sauce. 

Reviews are your final online objection handler for high-funnel prospects.

Deep dive: 15 Proven Strategies to Get More Online Reviews

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Jake Hughes

I’m Marketing Manager here at Widewail, as well as a husband and new dad outside the office. In Vermont by way of Boston, where I grew the CarGurus YouTube channel from 0-100k subscribers. I love the outdoors and hate to be hot, so I’m doing just fine in the arctic Vermont we call home. Fun fact: I met my wife on the shuttle bus at Baltimore airport. Thanks for reading Widewail’s content!

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