Online competition for businesses in every industry is higher than ever. As a local business, you are fighting for digital space to attract new customers. There’s no doubt about it, showing up high for search results is crucial for your business. 88% of consumers who do a local search on their smartphone end up visiting or calling the store within a day.
Clearly, local SEO matters. If your business shows up high in the search results for targeted keywords that include your location, then you will certainly be able to drive more people to your website and ultimately to your store. Certainly, you should be spending some time and effort on boosting your local SEO so you can show up high in the search results.
But is local SEO all that matters?
Unfortunately, many businesses place too much emphasis on local SEO, forgetting about the value of online reputation via Google Reviews. So, which is more important, local SEO or Google Reviews?
In this post, we explain how both local SEO and online reviews benefit your business, and why you actually need to invest in Google Ads and online reputation.
The Importance of Local SEO
92% of people choose a business on the first page of local search results. Getting your business to show up on the first page for local keywords is definitely important. Local SEO focuses on boosting your visibility for searches relating to not only your services but to your physical location as well. When someone in your area is looking for a certain service, they obviously want one nearby. Local SEO helps you capture your local market online by optimizing your site for relevant terms and helping you bring in more traffic.
Where Local SEO Falls Short
There’s no denying that local SEO should be part of your business strategy. You definitely want to dedicate some resources to showing up higher in the search ranking. However, just doing that is not enough. If you focus solely on local SEO, you are missing a big opportunity to grow your business.
Even if you are #1 in the search result, you still have 3 ad listings at the very top and 3 google maps listings above you. The Google Ad listings ahead of you will still grab the attention of local consumers before your organic result does. While it’s great to be the #1 organic search result, you have to remember that Google Ad results and Google Maps listings are still showing up ahead of you.
You cannot fully control SEO. No matter how many proven strategies you implement, you cannot 100% control where Google ranks you. You can do everything in your power to boost your SEO, but you may still not rank as high as you want to.
Dedicated SEO experts know best practices and constantly monitor the industry, but we still do not have all of the answers. Search engines have extremely complicated and constantly changing SEO algorithms. In the end, you cannot control where Google ranks you. Of course, this does not mean that you stop trying, you should still focus on valuable local SEO strategies. But this does mean that you should not dedicate all of your resources to local SEO, and you should make sure to focus on the strategies you can control.
The Key is Online Reputation
Forgetting about Google reviews is a big mistake. Google reviews are something that you can control, and they yield critical results. If you have great local SEO but have minimal Google Reviews, your business will not appear as credible as one that may be a few ranking below yours but has 3x the number of reviews and a higher star rating.
First and foremost, Google reviews actually impact your local ranking on Google. That’s right, Google Reviews are one component that affects your local SEO, and Google confirmed this. Local SEO is definitely complicated and involves many factors, but Google Reviews and your brand’s response rate matters for local SEO. If you are not paying attention to generating and managing Google Reviews, you are failing to do one of the simplest local SEO strategies.
Having an abundance of online reviews makes your brand a clear choice. In fact, 73% of customers trust a local business more if it has many positive reviews. Both quality and quantity matters when it comes to reviews. Having too few reviews or too many negative reviews hurts your business. On average, your business needs 40 online reviews before customers will believe the average star rating, so having a few great reviews is not enough.
Additionally, online reviews are something that you can control. You can implement proven strategies to generate more reviews. Can you fully control what customers say? No, of course not. But you can control how your business handles reviews, positive and negative. 51% of potential residents expect that management responds to online reviews. Review management is fully in your control.
Combine Google Ads with Online Reputation
You have control over having a higher star rating and more total reviews. The best way to leverage your Google reviews is with Google Ads. Combining Google Ads with Google Reviews provides far more actionable results than just being top in organic search results.
With Google Ads, you can add a local extension that will put your Google Business Listing (Google Maps Profile) at the top showing your 5-star reviews front and center. This way potential customers see the incredible social proof and your location right away. This winning combination puts your brand ahead of all of the organic search results. Having more positive online reviews than all of your competition makes you the obvious choice, and amplifying that top-rated status with Google Ads is a recipe for growing your business.
A Leading System
Should local SEO or Google reviews be your main priority? You should do everything you can to have great organic SEO. However, the list of strategies and tactics for SEO is extensive and you could spend all of your time and budget on a marketing strategy that you don’t have full control over the result.
Google reviews combined with the visibility of Google Ads is the ideal strategy. We recommend putting an equal amount of effort into Google Ads and Online Review Management to put your business in front of your local market and differentiate yourself as the obvious choice.
We understand that this is still not easy to do on your own, and our dedicated team is here to help. Attract and Close has a proprietary process and system for generating reviews, running google ads, and collecting new leads or booking appointments. Schedule your free consultation to learn more about how this system could work for your business by clicking the link HERE.