How online reviews impact your local SEO

Google wants to only show searchers the most trusted, well reviewed businesses on the front page of search results.

Local search results are enhanced by the ability for customers to leave reviews of their experience in dealing with your business. Therefore it is important to treat your existing customers very well, as from a dollar earnings point of view.

If you are selling to a satisfied customer base, chances are they will come back to deal with your business again. You hope they will come back again and recommend your business to their friends. Some companies have the misconception that the only importance of optimisation is to lure new customers, while this is true to some extent, we must not discount the importance of SEO in customer retention usually for low invlvement purchases.

Low-involvement decisions: typically products that are relatively inexpensive and pose a low risk to the buyer if she makes a mistake by purchasing them.

If you have seen a decline in the performance of your local search results in Google, it may be because your loyal customers may forget about you, especially if they purchase items from you that they don’t frequently need to replace. You must find out a strategy that allows you to remain relevant in the minds of your happy customers, so that they remember to choose you again and again.

However,  because of the way people process information, they rely on ‘Google effect’ . This means that customers can easily forget your company, even when they  have previously been loyal to you. Instead of using their brains to remember places and products, they rely on their device to choose places to shop and visit. Because of this, striving to be at the top of local searches  is vitally important.

Taking the time to understand each of your clients and if possible, researching an overall client profile with regards to demographics and come up with a good SEO strategy specifically to capture your local clients via Google’s local search tool.  Read on to uncover five important strategies using customer loyalty to improve your search engine ranking.

Loyalty goes social

Nowadays no company can afford to ignore the power of sharing recommendations by loyal customers. For example in Edelman’s research, 87% of happy customers are happy to share and recommend a company or their products and services. Other customers trust in the shared recommendations and this increases your reach to new customers.  

Word of mouth has always been a preferred mechanism for getting new business. It also motivates great customer service and improves business and experiences for customers. Word of mouth is now easier to communicate instantly over social media platforms, disrupting traditional media.

Loyalty keeps your customers close

Using recommendations to market your products and business is the perfect mechanism for a small business to build their reputation. If you can find key influencers in social networks who will advocate for your company it is a great achievement. Developing a mutual sharing relationship also improves the connections that each have with new markets, and therefore it has the potential to multiply exponentially.

As the global economy is highly mobile, you will be able to tap into foreign markets if any of your loyal customers travel and share information about your products when they are in new markets. This increases your market base and you can decide to actively pursue these or just consolidate in the markets you have always had.

The economics of loyalty

Retaining the loyalty of good customers costs less that constantly trying to find new customers.

According to figures released by Google, it costs ten times more to find new online customers compared to retaining existing ones. This makes sense. Customers who have already bought from you know what you offer, how you do business and why they will likely purchase again from you. Unknown clients are simply unknown. As customers become even more familiar to your, the existing customers will buy more higher value as their trust has been met with smaller purchases over time

The old saying is as true for SEO as all things in life, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”  It simply makes sense to hold on to your loyal customers more than constantly spending money to find new customers.

Data gathered from customer loyalty

If you have a formal loyalty program, such as points per spend or discounts for loyalty card members, you have a wealth of opportunities to gather data from your loyal customers. Whenever they purchase, they identify themselves via their user number, and you are able to translate their spending habits, the types of goods that they are buying . It is equally valuable for your online store as it is for a bricks and mortar shop.

Analysing the data will help you form marketing strategies that are targeted to their wants, needs and purchasing triggers.

Search Engine Optimisation improvements based on loyalty data

A deep analysis of your customers’ shopping and browsing patterns will inform the most effective strategies and timing for new marketing campaigns. For example, you may have a birthday trigger for them and their children. This is a great way to find out their ages and suggest products or services that would appeal to their age. This is a very basic example, but you can find key data about them  and their buying habits. another example may be what day of the week have they historically come to your site and then purchased goods? Maybe it correlates with their payday so you tailor your offerings to that time scale.

Local search is a useful way to get the data you need as you can build engagement and loyalty through the social profiles of those who have offered reviews of your business.  The data can be extracted in many ways to help you improve your targeting of customers.

Your website ranking through local search for some industries is more valuable than just SEO in getting visitors to your site. With return visitors, you need strategies to bring them back time and again. This is also a good way to improve SEO, as Google ranks engaging sites with high reputations among users higher .

Keeping your loyal customers means asking for feedback and if they are so kind as to provide that make sure you find ways to reward them. Happy customers are your best form of advertising and the advent of local search results help this become even more tangible, as people in close proximity to where your business is  lends further credibility to your company.