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Online reviews: why they matter and how to respond

It’s important to give your agency visibility online and stay connected to your local community and market. Your Google My Business page works hard for your reputation management and overall SEO presence, even if it’s not apparent at first.

Your goal of driving quote starts begins with the web and getting new business to your landing pages – simple enough, right? Often, though, those online searches for quote information are looking for a specific product or service, not any one insurance agency or provider.

Why reviews matter

Google My Business plays a big part in visibility where reviews are concerned. The more reviews you have, the easier your site will be to find, as it will appear more often. Not to mention, “68 percent form an opinion after reading between one and six online reviews,” shares Inc. Magazine.

How quickly you receive reviews and respond affects your appearance rate, too. One of the best things you can do to stay relevant for search engines is to regularly update your digital presence, which includes any reviews you receive.

Managing negative reviews:

Don’t be afraid to distance yourself from a bad review. For an agency owner, it can seem especially personal, but it’s vital not to respond reflexively.

While it can be easy to take a negative review to heart, there might be more than meets the eye in what a reviewer shares online. Consider that some reviewers may simply be having a bad day, some voice their frustration across multiple platforms, and/or some leave drastically low or exaggerated negative reviews for several other businesses at the slightest inconvenience.

Create some guideline responses that you or your team can use for different types of reviews. Something to consider when responding is that you’re writing your response for future reviewers or customers. How well you communicate may influence how they interact with you and your agency after seeing your responses.

Be wary of copy/pasting word-for-word for each response, though, as readers can tell if responses look ‘automated’. In your reply, strive to be sincere, understanding, and/or apologetic so that the reviewer feels that you value their input.

Example: “Hi, [name, if available], we’re sorry you had a poor experience with _____. Can you please reach out to us at [email] so we can discuss this further?”

Once you’ve figured out a response, it’s important to respond promptly. You should aim to respond within 24 hours for any particularly bad review. If you wait much longer than this to respond, your page’s SEO rating can be penalized by Google’s algorithm for ‘inactivity.’

Keep in mind that while it is great to resolve a complaint and reach a resolution – and a reviewer can even edit their review in your favor – it may not always be possible.

To that end, if you need to get into specifics or have a back-and-forth conversation about the review, try to bring the conversation offline with an email address or other means of communication.

After receiving any negative reviews, you can always continue improving your page, respond accordingly, and acquire more positive reviews to balance things out and push down negative ones. Create a plan with your team or have a dedicated responder for negative reviews.

Have further Google My Business or SEO questions about your agency? Contact Direct Clicks Inc. and we can help boost your agency's SEO visibility in your market.

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