Are Google Reviews Important for SEO? Penguin 4.0 Says YES!

If Google aimed to catch the SEO community off guard with the recent Penguin update, the plan fell flat. At least when it comes to those who realized a long time ago that black-hat SEO is simply not the way to go. For quite some time now, anyone keen on doing SEO right has known that providing real value for users is the way to get in Google’s good books.

If you are a local business owner and you also promote your services and products on your website, this piece of information is crucial.

The question is:

How can you provide value to visitors of your website and (perhaps more importantly) – how will Google know?

It All Starts With…

There is one thing Google was always clear about – Google values amazing content as much as quality backlinks. In fact, the way Google sees it – one doesn’t go without the other. Consider this: active blogs bring 97% more leads to a business than any other content strategy.

What does this tell you?

Google is ready to reward you for offering quality content to your users so much so that your ROI and sales will increase.

Also, effective content marketing is all about being an excellent storyteller.

And what’s your story?

Your brand, your business, your products and services, and most importantly – how all that makes your customers’ lives better.

While link building is still an essential SEO strategy, business owners should put more focus on developing and promoting their brand using white-hat SEO techniques.

How to Promote Your Brand

The answer is actually really simple – promote your brand through effective storytelling and creating amazing content that your customers will find both useful and interesting. Personalize your brand and bring it closer to your targeted audience by reaching out.

Why Google Reviews Matter for Local Businesses

In its never-ending quest for showing the users the best value for their search, Google developed its own reviews feature. So what? Well, as a search engine, Google is more likely to favor its own reviews feature above everything else out there. Therefore, it’s a no-brainer that having a Google Reviews profile comes with more than a few perks.

But let’s just consider this – more than 80% of consumers rely on online reviews – a stat you can’t possibly ignore.

Getting a positive review comes as a result of a positive customer experience. But what if your customers really liked your product or service but you didn’t give them the chance to express and share their satisfaction? You would lose an invaluable word-of-mouth advertising opportunity, and it’s impossible to overemphasize the importance of word-of-mouth for a local business.

Boost Interaction to Build Trust

Let’s not forget that simply building a Google Reviews profile isn’t going to do the trick. Communication with your potential and existing customers is a must. Listen to their needs and suggestions, make them feel involved.

Building and maintaining an active profile not only on Google Reviews but also Yelp and Houzz can go a long way in boosting interaction with your customers and ultimately – building trust.

If you regularly reply to your customers’ comments and address the issues they express, they will realize that you value their input. What’s more, they will likely start leaving more positive reviews and recommending you to their friends, family, colleagues at work, etc.

Customer-Centered Content Rules Local SEO

Instead of making your content all about you and your services, focus on your customers. What do they need? What do they want? How can you help them?

You can create content to address the problems your customers express in their comments on your review profile. For example, have a blog post written up in response to a question asked by a customer. Be an active listener – hear your customers out and try to adjust the content to cater to their needs.

Much like your sales strategy, you should tailor your content strategy to your customers. The more real value you provide for your customers, the higher up you will rank the SERPs.

And how is that related?

Simple – Google’s singular goal is to give the users the best answers to their search queries. That’s why they try so hard to penalize all kinds of spam.

So, if you provide value to your customers through customer-oriented web content, your ranking and ROI are safe. More importantly, if you utilize Google Reviews for providing additional value to your customers, Google will perceive your brand as trustworthy and reward you for it. And more importantly – so will your customers.

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