If you’re a local business owner, you’ve probably heard time and time again how much online reviews matter to consumers. But are you aware of how much they should matter to you?

Online customer reviews directly influence your organic search ranking online, or how frequently your business is showing up when users search the Internet for services like yours. Local searchers will look for and read reviews to choose a company to work with, and a low rating or high number of negative online reviews will likely stop a customer from choosing your business. Even if you have the best prices, the best service offerings, and the best long-term customer relationships, a few recent bad reviews can make new customers turn the other way.

Related Post: Simple Ways to Get More Online Reviews

3 Key Aspects of Online Review Management

1. Quality of online reviews

First and foremost, you want to focus on that star rating. Your average star rating is prominently displayed on review sites like Google My Business and Yelp. You want to make sure your rating is good enough to make a new customer stop scrolling. If you are starting from scratch, a good way to start building your star rating is to start with your existing customer base and ask them for reviews. Long-term customers that are happy with your years of service will be likely to write positive, high-quality reviews.

2. Frequency of online reviews

The number of reviews your business has is also prominently displayed on review sites and customers are on the lookout for companies with high star ratings from a lot of customers. In fact, studies show that the average consumer reads 10 reviews before feeling able to trust a company, which means it’s not good for businesses to have very few reviews. It is important to have reviews come in regularly over time to avoid extended periods of inactivity.

3. Engagement with online reviews

It is best practice to respond to every review you receive to show current customers and potential targets that you care. The fact is that customers expect businesses to respond to their negative reviews. Your response is an opportunity to rectify the situation and win back the customer’s business. Even a negative review can make a good impression online to other customers if there is a thoughtful and helpful reply. Plus, replies can contain keywords to give your search ranking an added boost.

Stand Out from the Competition with a Solid Review Strategy

These three fundamentals are a great place to start to develop a successful online review management strategy. If you aren’t sure where to begin or you’d like to take review management off your plate entirely, connect with Consumer Focus. We are experts in SEO and online customer review management. We have online review management solutions that work to build up your review profiles on Google My Business, Facebook, and Yelp. Contact us today!