Support Local Businesses by Writing Google Reviews
In the midst of social distancing and sheltering-in-place, it’s become more clear than ever before just how important local businesses are to our lives. Their impact extends far beyond providing necessary services. Their brands have become intertwined with our daily routines and most cherished memories. I have felt myself feeling a loss for these “non-essential” businesses. And I felt guilty. How could I mourn a missed hair cut in a time like this? But I do. I do because that hair cut is so much more than simply maintaining my style. It’s become a refuge where I can destress from life’s demands. A respite where I can pause and have a conversation. When I leave, I feel recharged, more confident, and my outlook is more positive. I’ve been asking myself how I can help these local businesses. Through social media, I’ve seen many others asking this as well. Buy a gift card, seek out virtual options, consider no-contact services. These are all important measures that make a difference. In addition, or if monetary support is not something you can offer, I encourage you to lend your voice and write a Google review.
Google Reviews Affect Search Ranking
Every time you type a phrase into Google, the search engine pulls from an algorithm of factors to determine which results are delivered first. We all know that. But have you considered how Google reviews affect business performance? The aim of these algorithms is to return the most accurate results by pulling up the most reputable and authoritative information. The number of reviews, keywords used within those reviews, and the review sentiment plays a role in this.
Reviews Influence Customer Opinion
Research suggests that 90% of customers read some online reviews and 86% of people will hesitate before buying something from a business represented by negative reviews. The vast majority of us are researching online. We want to know what we can expect before making a decision, especially if it involves our money. We aren’t willing to rely solely on what a brand or business says about themselves through their owned or paid content. Because of this, online reviews provide credibility and build trust.
Reviews Increase Brand Awareness
How many times have you searched for a phrase that looks like, “Best Pizza Near Me” or “Pizza, Lancaster, Pa?” You know what you want, but you aren’t sure where to get it. You’re open to suggestions. Reviews help to increase brand visibility by supporting local Google rankings. When you search by location, Google not only displays businesses based on proximity, it prioritizes results based on the impact of online reviews.
How to Write an Impactful Google Review
Writing an impactful Google review requires more than selecting a number of stars and saying the food was good. Channel how you are feeling right now about your favorite local businesses closing their doors. How have these businesses made a difference in your life and community? Include “insider” details about the business and write with the intention that you are providing readers with insight to help them make a decision and plan for their experience. Make recommendations such as a dish to try or a stylist to ask for. Include photos if you can.
Google recommends these tips for writing a great review:
- Be informative and insightful: Be specific and relevant to the place you’re reviewing and describe what other visitors are likely to experience. Highlight what makes the place special and try to share something novel and new. From signature dishes to secret sale racks, reviews should reveal the unique experiences that places offer.
- Keep it real: Be authentic. Review your own experience and explain why you liked or disliked the place. Try to be as accurate as possible and include both the positive and negative aspects of your visit.
- Be respectful: Not every experience with a place is going to be perfect. Sometimes you’ll want to share negative feedback. Even if you’re frustrated, make sure your criticism is constructive. Business owners often use feedback to improve their offerings.
- Reviews not General Commentary: At times certain locations may become the subject of larger public debate or conversation due to recent news coverage or current events. While we respect and value your opinion, Local Reviews are not meant for social or political commentary. We think there are other forums that are more suited to those kinds of conversations, like blogs or social networks. Please write about your firsthand experience with the place and not general commentary on the place in relation to recent news.
- Write with style: People will pay attention when you write thoughtful reviews. Keep them readable and avoid excessive capitalization or punctuation. Use good grammar, check your spelling, and avoid profanity. Choose the right length – a paragraph is great. Be creative and have fun!
It’s easy to feel helpless during times of uncertainty but know that your voice does matter and your influence can make a difference. If you can safely support your local businesses, find ways to do so. Writing a Google review is a no-cost, relatively low effort way to make an impact. If you are a business owner, use social media media and email to ask your customers to share their favorite memories by writing a Google review. If you have questions about optimizing your reviews and online reputation management, or how to adjust your social media messaging to strengthen your connection with your customers, leave us a note. We’d love to talk to you.