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How Local Google Reviews Can Affect Your SEO

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How Local Google Reviews Can Affect Your SEO

Google’s algorithm uses many factors to determine how to rank your local business; among the most important of these ranking factors are Google reviews. Google reviews, be they positive or negative, are great differentiators that let Google know which companies to display in their SERPs. The company has published content confirming that managing and responding to customer reviews helps improve the rankings of businesses on Google.  

If you’re still wondering whether Google reviews can benefit your SEO or if they are relevant to your business, consider the fact that 95% of shoppers check out reviews online before committing to a purchase. What’s more, 58% of customers would be fine with paying more for products if they purchased from a brand with positive customer reviews.

Considering that Google is (and will likely continue to be) the most popular search engine tool worldwide, it’s in all business owners’ best interests to keep an eye on their Google reviews. To that end, let’s look at how Google reviews can benefit your SEO and what to pay attention to if you want to get more reviews.

How positive reviews benefit your local SEO

Let’s say you’re just getting started or are in the process of improving your local SEO. A customer completes a transaction with your business, and they decide to leave a review of their experience. If their review includes keywords relevant to the products you’re offering and the industry in which you operate, it can go a long way toward propelling your website higher up on Google’s search results pages.

Positive Google reviews that contain relevant keywords are particularly important for companies that cater to a base of local consumers and customers on mobile devices. Keep in mind that nearly all your customers are using mobile phones to look for information online at one point or another (and almost 70% of kids have a smartphone by the time they turn 12 years old).

Customers on mobile devices searching for local businesses that deliver what they’re looking for often check out “near me” listings that display a company’s contact info and directions – it’s much easier for your business to appear in these listings if Google is ranking you well.

The basics behind Google local rankings

Google considers multiple factors when ranking local businesses based on search queries that users enter. Keywords relevant to your business, business categories, and on-page SEO all affect a business’s local ranking with Google. Out of all the most important factors when it comes to obtaining better rankings, review signals are some of the most impactful.

In addition to review signals, Google looks at other components to rank local businesses, including:

  • Social signals
  • Link signals
  • On-page signals
  • Citation signals
  • Behavioral signals
  • Personalization
  • Google My Business signals

These components affect whether your business appears on Google’s local pack and how high up on the pack it appears.

The local pack is a go-to spot that consumers look to when searching for businesses in their local area. That’s because the local pack shows people the star ratings of businesses which, of course, influence whether they decide to dig deeper and check out reviews.

Improving your Google reviews

If you don’t want to buy Google reviews, there are multiple ways for you to improve them organically.

Quantity of reviews

While positive, four- and five-star ratings are undoubtedly great to have if you want Google to rank your business’s website, you’ll also want to increase the number of your reviews.

In light of this fact, it’s important that you encourage your customers to write Google reviews, especially those who you’re sure had above-and-beyond experiences with your business. One good way to ensure this is by communicating with customers via phone after you’ve finished helping them complete their purchase.

If you consistently work toward encouraging your customers to leave positive Google reviews, you can increase your review quantity. After all, you’d rather have 200 reviews with an average 4.8 rating than only one or two reviews with an average five-star rating.

Customers tend to pick businesses with a high quantity of reviews. Additionally, Google recognizes that businesses with a high review count are proving their worth and are thus more deserving of being ranked higher than businesses with just a couple of reviews (even if those reviews are very positive).

At the end of the day, Google wants to serve its users and is most interested in connecting searchers with the businesses that best suit their interests and needs. Accumulate as many positive reviews as possible to better position yourself as an attractive brand in your industry.

Review velocity

Next, you’ll want to focus on driving a consistent flow of customer reviews directed toward your business. Google will notice companies actively accumulating customer reviews since high review velocities prove to Google that you’re taking your brand seriously and are running a company worth recommending to users.

Higher review velocities are also essential to attracting a broader base of customers. Customers tend to overlook or completely ignore reviews that are even several months old – even if you’ve got dozens of reviews from just a year ago, they’re not going to cut it for either prospective customers or Google. Besides, your business may transform over just a few months, so your reviews should demonstrate to people what your business is like today and what people have recently had to say about it.

Generate as many new and relevant customer reviews as possible to rise up on Google’s search results pages and attract new consumers.

Signals of engagement

Don’t forget to monitor visitors’ engagement with your Google Business page. Engagement signals such as the number of site visits, the requests for directions to your business, and how many users read your reviews all impact your Google rankings.

Google pays attention to how much time people spend checking out your listing, and an excellent way to increase this amount of time is by having lots of reviews potential customers can read. Monitoring customer activity allows you to start tracking your engagement with existing buyers as well as formulate new strategies for increasing engagement.

Conclusion

The impact that Google reviews have on your rankings isn’t going away any time soon. It’s easy to talk about your brand as the best in the business, but customer reviews are what give your claims of greatness the substance that both Google and potential customers are looking for. Incorporate the above methods to increase your Google rankings, and we guarantee you’ll soon start bringing in a consistent flow of recurring and positive Google reviews.

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The Future of Content Success Is Social

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The Future of Content Success Is Social

Here’s a challenge: search “SEO RFP” on Google. Click on the results, and tell me how similar they are.

We did the same thing every other SEO does: We asked, “What words are thematically relevant?” Which themes have my competitors missed?” How can I put them in?” AND “How can I do everything just slightly better than they can?”

Then they do the same, and it becomes a cycle of beating mediocre content with slightly less mediocre content.

When I looked at our high-ranking content, I felt uncomfortable. Yes, it ranked, but it wasn’t overly helpful compared to everything else that ranked.

Ranking isn’t the job to be done; it is just a proxy.

Why would a high-ranking keyword make me feel uncomfortable? Isn’t that the whole freaking job to be done? Not for me. The job to be done is to help educate people, and ranking is a byproduct of doing that well.

I looked at our own content, and I put myself in the seat of a searcher, not an SEO; I looked at the top four rankings and decided that our content felt easy, almost ChatGPT-ish. It was predictable, it was repeatable, and it lacked hot takes and spicy punches.

So, I removed 80% of the content and replaced it with the 38 questions I would ask if I was hiring an SEO. I’m a 25-year SME, and I know what I would be looking for in these turbulent times. I wanted to write the questions that didn’t exist on anything ranking in the top ten. This was a risk, why? Because, semantically, I was going against what Google was likely expecting to see on this topic. This is when Mike King told me about information gain. Google will give you a boost in ranking signals if you bring it new info. Maybe breaking out of the sea of sameness + some social signals could be a key factor in improving rankings on top of doing the traditional SEO work.

What’s worth more?

Ten visits to my SEO RFP post from people to my content via a private procurement WhatsApp group or LinkedIn group?

One hundred people to the same content from search?

I had to make a call, and I was willing to lose rankings (that were getting low traffic but highly valued traffic) to write something that when people read it, they thought enough about it to share it in emails, groups, etc.

SME as the unlock to standout content?

I literally just asked myself, “Wil, what would you ask yourself if you were hiring an SEO company? Then I riffed for 6—8 hours and had tons of chats with ChatGPT. I was asking ChatGPT to get me thinking differently. Things like, “what would create the most value?” I never constrained myself to “what is the search volume,” I started with the riffs.

If I was going to lose my rankings, I had to socially promote it so people knew it existed. That was an unlock, too, if you go this route. It’s work, you are now going to rely on spikes from social, so having a reason to update it and put it back in social is very important.

Most of my “followers” aren’t looking for SEO services as they are digital marketers themselves. So I didn’t expect this post to take off HUGLEY, but given the content, I was shocked at how well it did and how much engagement it got from real actual people.

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7 Things Creators Should Know About Marketing Their Book

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7 Things Creators Should Know About Marketing Their Book

Writing a book is a gargantuan task, and reaching the finish line is a feat equal to summiting a mountain.

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Being position-less secures a marketer’s position for a lifetime

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Optimove Positionless Marketer Optimove

On March 20, 2024, the Position-less Marketer was introduced on MarTech.org and my keynote address at Optimove’s user conference.

Since that initial announcement, we have introduced the term “Position-less Marketer” to hundreds of leading marketing executives and learned that readers and the audience interpreted it in several ways. This article will document a few of those interpretations and clarify what “position-less” means regarding marketing prowess.

As a reminder, data analytics and AI, integrated marketing platforms, automation and more make the Position-less Marketer possible. Plus, new generative AI tools like ChatGPT, Canna-GPT, Github, Copilot and DALL-E offer human access to powerful new capabilities that generate computer code, images, songs and videos, respectively, with human guidance.

Position-less Marketer does not mean a marketer without a role; quite the opposite

Speaking with a senior-level marketer at a global retailer, their first interpretation may be a marketer without a role/position. This was a first-glance definition from more than 60% of the marketers who first heard the term. But on hearing the story and relating it to “be position-less” in other professions, including music and sports, most understood it as a multidimensional marketer — or, as we noted, realizing your multipotentiality. 

One executive said, phrasing position-less in a way that clarified it for me was “unlocking your multidimensionality.” She said, “I like this phrase immensely.” In reality, the word we used was “multipotentiality,” and the fact that she landed on multidimensionality is correct. As we noted, you can do more than one thing.

The other 40% of marketing executives did think of the “Position-less Marketer” as a marketing professional who is not confined or defined by traditional marketing roles or boundaries. In that sense, they are not focused only on branding or digital marketing; instead, they are versatile and agile enough to adjust to the new conditions created by the tools that new technology has to offer. As a result, the Position-less Marketer should be comfortable working across channels, platforms and strategies, integrating different approaches to achieve marketing goals effectively.

Navigating the spectrum: Balancing specialization and Position-less Marketing

Some of the most in-depth feedback came from data analytic experts from consulting firms and Chief Marketing Officers who took a more holistic view.

Most discussions of the “Position-less Marketer” concept began with a nuanced perspective on the dichotomy between entrepreneurial companies and large enterprises.

They noted that entrepreneurial companies are agile and innovative, but lack scalability and efficiency. Conversely, large enterprises excel at execution but struggle with innovation due to rigid processes.

Drawing parallels, many related this to marketing functionality, with specialists excelling in their domain, but needing a more holistic perspective and Position-less Marketers having a broader understanding but needing deep expertise.

Some argued that neither extreme is ideal and emphasized the importance of balancing specialization and generalization based on the company’s growth stage and competitive landscape.

They highlight the need for leaders to protect processes while fostering innovation, citing Steve Jobs’ approach of creating separate teams to drive innovation within Apple. They stress the significance of breaking down silos and encouraging collaboration across functions, even if it means challenging existing paradigms.

Ultimately, these experts recommended adopting a Position-less Marketing approach as a competitive advantage in today’s landscape, where tight specialization is common. They suggest that by connecting dots across different functions, companies can offer unique value to customers. However, they caution against viewing generalization as an absolute solution, emphasizing the importance of context and competitive positioning.

These marketing leaders advocate for a balanced marketing approach that leverages specialization and generalization to drive innovation and competitive advantage while acknowledging the need to adapt strategies based on industry dynamics and competitive positioning.

Be position-less, but not too position-less — realize your multipotentiality

This supports what was noted in the March 20th article: to be position-less, but not too position-less. When we realize our multipotentiality and multidimensionality, we excel as humans. AI becomes an augmentation.

But just because you can individually execute on all cylinders in marketing and perform data analytics, writing, graphics and more from your desktop does not mean you should.

Learn when being position-less is best for the organization and when it isn’t. Just because you can write copy with ChatGPT does not mean you will write with the same skill and finesse as a professional copywriter. So be position-less, but not too position-less.

Position-less vs. being pigeonholed

At the same time, if you are a manager, do not pigeonhole people. Let them spread their wings using today’s latest AI tools for human augmentation.

For managers, finding the right balance between guiding marketing pros to be position-less and, at other times, holding their position as specialists and bringing in specialists from different marketing disciplines will take a lot of work. We are at the beginning of this new era. However, working toward the right balance is a step forward in a new world where humans and AI work hand-in-hand to optimize marketing teams.

We are at a pivot point for the marketing profession. Those who can be position-less and managers who can optimize teams with flawless position-less execution will secure their position for a lifetime.

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