Monday, February 14, 2011

Customer Reviews get you Found in Google (and other search engines)

You know that search engine marketing is important, right? But did you realise that 80% of purchases for all goods and services start with a search on the internet! (Neilson Netratings). So if your business is not generating a significant amount of business online (whether you sell online or not), you're probably missing out on a huge opportunity.

Getting onto the first page of Google search results is every business owner's dream. But many businesses approach search optimisation in the wrong way...
A mistake businesses often make is to search for their own business name. If customers know your business name, they've probably already decided to use you. It's the other searches that you should focus on...
More important is to search for "[business type], [suburb]" or "best [business type], [city]" or "[business type] reviews, [city]", or even "[business type] [service speciality], [suburb]". In other words, don't search for "Lisa's Hairdressing Salon" - yes, your business should be found easily but this should be pretty easy when people type in your business name. Instead, search for "hairdresser, Eslternwick" or "best hairdresser, Melbourne", or "hairdresser reviews, Melbourne", or "hairdressers with play areas, Melbourne".

Getting found for very specific phrases and especially phrases that include "best", "reviews" and other similar words is something you can either employ the services of an expensive SEO business to help with, or you can enlist your customers to write reviews for you.

Customer reviews are an extremely effective way to optimise your business information for Google.
It's not magic. Customer reviews work to get found in Google because they're real people describing your business, in real people's language. They're also fresh information, which Google loves.

When people search for businesses, they use terms that you're unlikely to find on most business websites. But these are often the exact same words that your customers use to describe your business. For example, the website for Mike's Sports Physiotherapy might say something like "We provide professional physiotherapy services and treat all kinds of sports problems. We offer thorough assessment and treatment which can include stretching and strengthening programs."

On the other hand, a customer might write a review saying; "I hurt my shoulder playing tennis and decided to see a physio. Turns out my injury was quite easy to treat and only took 2 sessions. I was nervous at first but Mike was extremely gentle - I'd recommend him to anyone in the Eastern suburbs."

If a potential customer was searching on Google, they might type "gentle physio for tennis injury in eastern suburbs". Mike's website would fail dismally but his listing on WOMOW would have a great chance of being one of the top results. This is an extremely powerful way to substantially improve your positioning on Google.

Surprisingly, it can be extremely difficult for a business owner to know just how their potential customers are searching on the web. One case in point was a dog trainer. He had a great website but when one of his customers reviewed him on WOMOW and referred to him as the "dog whisperer", his web traffic soared.
And when people find your business, they see a whole lot of your customers telling them what fantastic service you provide! There's simply nothing more convincing than that.
So what are you waiting for? Start building up a bank of customer reviews and watch your traffic and new enquiries soar. The more reviews you get, the better this works...