Recently, one of our customers asked me about Google and Yelp reviews, and how you can get them to show more prominently. This is a great question, as these interactions from customers can factor into and appear alongside your business name on the search results. It’s more than good SEO, it’s good for business to see other customers excited about your company.  Here are some tips for featuring reviews, and how to handle the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Encourage Satisfied Customers to Leave Reviews

It seems like a no brainer, but you can see why this gets overlooked. The job is done, the business is paid, it’s all wrapped up nicely. But what about next time? If your customer is happy with you, approach this with two methods of thinking. Create leave-behinds, a pamphlet-card or handout with your company contact info. On the other side, offer something to the customer in exchange for a review on Google or Yelp. Maybe 10% off the next repair, a free cookie, something that will not only make them a return customer, but encourage them to get on the web and talk about your company.  A positive review goes a long way in terms of boosting your branding to other customers and the search engines.

Respond to The Negative Reviews

Not every review you get will be a good one. In fact, I’ve heard a satisfied customer tells maybe 4 people, and a disgruntled one will tell more than 12. If a customer is upset enough to take to the web, you’re going to want to deal with it head on (line). Yelp graciously allows business owners to respond to the individual reviews, giving you a chance to explain your case. Angry customers tend to exaggerate, and customers will understand that nobody’s perfect. So despite the negative press and insults being hurled your way on your profile, show compassion and respect, and you can turn this into a positive. The best way is to apologize for their negative experience, and explain what went wrong. Offer the customer a direct line to speak to someone that can help them, and maybe even a discount on the next service, or refund for their current issue. Potential customers will like that your company cares enough to interact and offer a solution.

Burying Bad Reviews

I’ve gotten this question a few times. Yelp is sensitive to fake reviews, either to give companies a five-star boost, or to destroy a company’s reputation. It isn’t always accurate though, and we’ve seen perfectly legitimate reviews get filtered down into no-man’s land. There isn’t really an easy way to combat this. If you’re getting too many 5 star reviews, Yelp will take factors into consideration to decide whether or not it’s legitimate. Is the Yelper a new member? Has the Yelper reviewed only select companies, and given them all glowing reviews? This is why we want you to encourage your real customers to leave real reviews, and why we want you to respond to the negative ones. Plus, fake reviews are in the spotlight, and not in a good way. It goes against Google’s  Terms of Service and can lead to penalties.

So whether your customers are interacting with your business through reviews on Google or Yelp, or through social sites like Facebook and Twitter, the important thing is that your customers care enough to talk about it. With a little boost to this idea, you can help your business reach new potential customers.

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