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Why online reviews are essential for every local business

Think about it . . .  

when was the last time you purchased a new product or service without an actual recommendation?
If you’re like most people, it’s probably been a while. Research shows that 97% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase. More importantly, more than half of these people trust businesses with a 4-star rating or better.
All of this leads us to a common fact . . .
Your website is no longer your first impression in 2020. Your reviews are. Welcome to the review culture and a new digital doorway. 

Introducing you to Google My Business (GMB)

If you are familiar with Google My Business (GMB), you probably know that it is one of the best ways to gain local traffic (customers). And if you still haven’t set up your GMB profile, you’re missing out on a lot of advantages.
Basically, GMB is a platform that not only positions your local business closer to nearby and local traffic — it also displays all of your core functions of your company. You can literally publish photos of your products/services, post offers and discounts, schedule appointments, and let potential customers see your reviews and why they should hire you. GMB is really a micro website. If you don’t have any online reviews, it’s time to get started.
There are three main reasons why Google My Business is vital to your business, including these facts:
• 46% of all Google searches are for local offers
• 93% of all local searches feature GMB listings
• 68% of all consumers contact a business directly from the search results
However, in order to make your business visible and approachable by the online audience, you must acquire reviews and assure everyone that your products or services are worth it. Speaking of which, let’s talk more about reviews and the important influence factors behind them.

Key review factors that influence buying decisions

It’s absolutely true that reviews affect search engine rankings. According to research, businesses with more reviews are two times more likely to rank in the top three results. This is important because when users search with “near me” or “nearby” phrases, Google displays the top three local listings and their reviews as a priority.
So, in times when 90% of consumers used the Internet to find a local business in the last year and more than 82% of them read reviews for local businesses, it’s time to think about reinventing your marketing strategy and giving reviews a broader focus.
And the best part?
The quality and quantity of your reviews on Google does affect your rankings. In fact, this is one of the most important ranking factors for your SEO (search engine optimization) strategy. In other words, the more (and better) reviews you have, the more your business will rank high whenever related keywords are searched in your local area.

Start getting more online reviews

If you are wondering how to do this entire review thing, there are two options: 
you start figuring things out or leave it up to the professionals.
The first option includes plenty of research, skill acquisition and consistency. In a nutshell, you need to set up a GMB listing (if you don’t have one), make leaving reviews easy, optimize your GMB profile and start focusing on increasing your reviews.
The second option, is to engage the services of a top-tier digital marketing agency to assist you with leveling up your online reputation and your brand. 

— Beth Devine is one of the most sought-after marketing experts in the Central Valley. She is the founder and principal of Devine Solutions Group, an award-winning digital marketing and business development agency headquartered in Tracy.
Connect with 
Beth by either calling 833-933-8463 or email her at