Within the puzzle we know as SEO there are many components. The argument of: “Which of these are most important?” will likely continue for decades to come. Some argue that ‘Social Media’ is most important, while others will insist that their business listings in Google, Yahoo, Bing and Yelp top the list.
We know that the search engines value ‘fresh content’ and ‘activity’. And in the past three or four months it has become evident that testimonials posted via Google Maps are proving to be more important and beneficial than previously thought.
One client recently reported that he climbed from the bottom of page 3 to the first page of Google within four weeks of having his clients post a total of five reviews. This definitely got our attention. As suggested, his company offered customers a 10% discount on service in exchange for an honest testimonial. He made it clear that if in fact a customer was dissatisfied with his products and services they should say so. After all Google does want “honest reviews”, right? In fact it is my understanding that Google actually frowns on any type of exchange FOR reviews and rightly so.
His customers were surprisingly happy to oblige.
The results were a bit astounding, though yet again we see that at any moment things can change in terms of how your business is viewed by the major search engines. With Google being the largest business directory in the world I wasn’t surprised that ‘Maps’ reviews would be rewarded. We’ve seen it work well in the past. But we were pleasantly surprised to find that just 5 reviews helped put this client on the front page of Google after sitting on page 3 for close to eight months. And while we were simultaneously building an online presence for him, his ranking changed most when the reviews were posted. More importantly he received 13 calls on a Monday morning for bids. By 3pm he had 17 total. Out of those 17 bids he actually quoted prices on 15. Out of those 15 bids he sold seven jobs. Out of those seven jobs he pulled in a total of 21k in revenue. Let’s keep in mind that he only gave up 10% to each customer (for an honest review) for a total of 526.00 in discounts. So for about an hour spent with making sure these testimonials were posted by customers and 526.00 dollars later he pulled in 21k. Not too shabby!
So the point here is that while customer reviews may change in value even on a month by month basis, in present time they seem to be almost neck in neck with ‘blogging’ in terms of importance. So pick up the phone, make some calls and ask your customers to post some reviews. You may be pleasantly surprised at how well you are rewarded by the search engines. Think of it as a present you have not yet opened and it can get pretty exciting.
On a side note Aeon always remains compliant with Google guidelines. Where some may consider what we are saying as a bit ‘grey’ in terms of practice, honest reviews do in fact help Google in accomplishing its goals. Those goals are clearly to: “Improve the experience of every single person using their browser and to provide the most accurate information on every business, that business’ services and or products”. We’re simply encouraging “Fair” and “Honest” information regarding the experiences of consumers. And by all indications Google appreciates businesses that provide them with valuable, useful information.
Until next time, give this a shot. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.