Throughout this year, I’ve focused my Editor’s Notes column on tips to help you with online “tools” for your shop. We’ve discussed social media, search engine optimization (SEO) and the importance of maintaining your shop’s web presence.
And as for optimizing your shop’s site on potential customers’ search results, Google sets the rules. Did you know that even the reviews your shop receives from customers factor into your SEO?
“Google search rankings are positively impacted by good reviews for your business,” said Mark Claypool in his “Google Reviews Revisited” article in our sister publication BodyShop Business. “Conversely, poor reviews will negatively affect your rankings, and, just as bad, negatively impact someone’s decision on whether or not to entrust the care of their vehicle to you.
“The millennial generation considers it their civic duty to leave reviews,” Claypool continued. Keep this in mind when you deliver a vehicle back to your millennial customers. “Ask if they were happy with their experience and what you could have done better. Ask happy customers to leave you reviews. Google is most important, then probably Facebook.”
“Reviews have a direct correlation on where you rank in the local search results,” Brodie Tyler, founder of ReviewJump, told Search Engine Watch. ReviewJump is a web app that helps companies maintain and grow their online reputations. After analyzing thousands of local business listings on Google and Yelp, Tyler found that “the top three local search results on Google have an average of 472% more reviews than those in the fourth, fifth and sixth positions.”
He advises asking your customer to go to google.com/maps, type in your business name, select the listing and find the “Be the First to Write a Review” or “Write a Review” (if you already have at least one review) on the left-hand side. “Explain (to customers) that reviews help you grow, help you provide better service, and help you stay competitive,” Tyler continued. “Your best customers are already invested in your success, so that should be the only incentive they need.”
To encourage customers to remember to provide a review after leaving your shop, Claypool suggests providing a handout with the final paperwork. Tyler suggests sending follow-up emails or including a review request in a monthly email newsletter.