Ranking in the top spots for keywords that drive new leads isn’t easy, and Google’s logic for ranking these keywords isn’t always clear. However, a proven method to help your home services company stand out and gain more business is through online reviews.
And while there are a lot of review sites and services available, perhaps the most important one that home improvement businesses should be utilizing is Google Reviews.
Here’s how to use the power of Google Reviews to boost your marketing efforts.
Why Google Reviews Matter So Much for Local Businesses
For many of your online leads, their first point of contact with you will likely come from a search on Google. When it comes to local search, the results that will display are broken down into these four parts:
1. Pay-per-click ads
2. Google Maps with reviews (generated from Google My Business page content)
3. Organic search results
4. More pay-per-click ads
The Google Reviews/ Maps section takes up a large chunk of the page and offers a potential customer the ability to find contact information, view images of your work, click-through to your website, call your company directly (if viewing the search on a smartphone), and read the reviews left by others.
So why is this important for your business, and how does it help you get more local business leads?
Here are just a few reasons why Google Reviews are so impactful for local businesses.
1. Higher Placement in Google Maps Results
Google reviews can help place you higher in the maps results for highly competitive keywords related to your business. When it comes to local search, there are 3 main ways to show up for keyword searches:
- Paid Ads
- Organic search results
Now, the interesting thing is that you can rank well in the maps results without your website ranking well in organic search. Ideally, you’ll want both, but Google Reviews play a large part in better rankings for both of these.
By getting more reviews to your Google Business page, Google will see you’re worth displaying in the Maps/Review section and can rank you here even if you’re not currently ranking for a certain keyword in the organic search section.
2. Builds trust
More Google reviews mean potential customers are more likely to trust you (which means they’re also more likely to turn into leads for your business). Consumers view reviews like personal recommendations, causing them to act much like word-of-mouth referrals and it builds trust in you as a company.
“88% of consumers trust online reviews like personal recommendations” – on reviews and SEO #BrightonSEO
— Search Engine Watch (@sewatch) 2 september 2016
The psychology behind why reviews like this work for lead generation is rather simple.
This tactic relies on what is called social proof; it helps to give customers a level of reassurance that they’re making the right choice because others have made the same one and it worked well for them.
The more reviews you have and the better your rating, the more likely you are to gain a customer versus your competitors.
For example, take a look at this map/review result:
These three companies have their Google Business Page content displayed for a highly competitive keyword. But even though these all show up, your eyes are drawn to the ones with the star ratings.
Now, out of the two that have the ratings, which would be your first choice to contact?
My guess would be the one with 20 reviews, even though it’s on the bottom.
Because the high rating and the amount of the reviews draw you towards that particular company.
So by gaining reviews to your Google Business Page, you’re able to offer customers that much-needed reassurance and thus funnel more searchers to your business.
3. Improves overall website SEO
That’s a pretty large chunk of emphasis being put on reviews. And since Google wants people to stick to their network, you had better believe that they favor reviews made on their own platform.
As further proof of this, take a look at the image below:
The highlighted company is the company that appeared in the maps/reviews we showed earlier. This company currently has 74 Google reviews attached to their Google Business page.
Out of the 3 companies ranking in maps, this one also ranks high in organic search results. While this business likely has other parts to their SEO strategy, it’s clear that utilizing Google Reviews has helped them appear in quality, highly-competitive searches.
As we see from just these few examples, if you want to generate more leads for your home improvement business organically, then Google Reviews are too important to ignore.
How To Get More Google Reviews For Your Business
Getting more reviews to your Google Business Page is going to take some time and effort. However, with the right strategy, you can start getting new reviews sooner than you think.
To get started, you should already have a verified business page so that you can access and control various features like replying to comments.
The way to get real reviews is usually to go straight to your customers. Obviously, you don’t want to be pushy when you do this, but there are some effective ways that you can get more reviews without bending your customer’s arm.
1. Ask your best customers for a review. Your best customers are often the easiest place to start when hoping to land high-rating reviews because they are already fans of you and your work.
Even though they would happily leave a review, you want to make leaving one as easy as possible. Generally, an email containing your request and link directly to your Google Business Page will work well.
2. Time the ask at the right moment. This can vary from business to business. Perhaps leaving your customer a small pamphlet with the review request and instructions at the end of the job would be best. If you send invoices electronically, then asking for a review at the same time may work better.
3. Follow up and be consistent. While you don’t want to consistently pester your customers to get a review out of them, you can get creative in how to follow up with them if they don’t leave you one. For example, you can post before and after photos of the work you did for a customer on your Google Business page.
After you do that, you could send an email to the customer and link to the before and after post, thank them for their business, ask them if they’re in need of any other services, and then ask if they would be willing to leave a review.
4. Use other social networks to get reviews on Google. If you have a following on other networks like Instagram or Facebook, then be sure to leverage your customer base there and post simple requests for reviews on your Google Business page.
5. Make it easy for customers visiting your website to leave a Google review. Again, getting reviews is about making it easy for your customers. By placing a link on your website that links back to your Google Business page, you’re increasing your chance of gaining a review from them.
Generally, a link in the header, sidebar, or footer is a great place for a review link.
Many businesses will also try to incentivize reviews by offering a gift card or discount in exchange for a review.
However, if you choose to do that you’ll want to exercise your own discretion as it may be against Google’s terms of service, which would inevitably end up in your customer reviews being removed.
Wrapping It Up
Google Reviews have a direct impact on business lead generation and your overall SEO efforts.
With so much competition in the home improvement space, you need to be leveraging Google reviews in order to stand out from the crowd and be seen by your ideal customers.
And the best part is…it’s not hard—all you have to do is ask your best customers, make the review process easy for them, and follow up to make sure it gets done!