Do online reviews actually matter?

Do they have any impact on how much business your car dealership gets and can you actually use them to boost your automotive SEO?

The answer to all of those questions is a yes.

Online reviews do matter—because when you get a great review, you feel great and when you get a negative review, you feel bad.

And guess what… so do your salespeople.

And your prospects read them more than you think.

They impact your ability to draw more car buyers to your lot and they can actually be leveraged to improve your local automotive seo campaign.

Better Search Engine Optimization means more website traffic.  And that means more UPS!!

If you are looking for ways to boost your SEO, here’s everything you need to know about using online reviews:

Social Proof

Accruing online reviews is an important part of building what we call social proof.

People who have graduated from high school might not think that they are influenced by peer pressure any longer.

The truth is that over 90% of consumers rely on some form of social proof before they make a purchase.

What does that mean?

It means that before making a buying decision (like choosing which car dealership to buy from), people want to see that others have made that buying decision before and have liked it.

It’s about status!

It’s not exactly the same as peer pressure or wanting to fit in—but it has the same psychological foundation.

Relying on society to prove to the consumer which products, services, and providers to work with which will in turn.. make them look better (increase their status)

Online reviews are hugely important simply because they provide the proof that someone needs from their peer group in order to feel secure enough to make a buying decision.

When a potential buyer looks at the reviews of your dealership online, they will see other buyers who have shopped on your lot.

At this point, hopefully, they are proclaiming the skills of your sales staff and the ease of buying.

Information presented in this format is much easier for a consumer to believe than information provided by the dealership itself.

Most dealers know that referrals are easy to sell to.  Reviews, are like online referrals.

You can talk all day about how fun and easy you make the car buying experience, but consumers are simply more likely to believe people in their peer group (other buyers) than they are to believe the dealership itself.

For this reason alone, accruing online reviews is important.

This can be encouraged my offering a QR code that makes leaving a review on a local directory easy, or by offering some sort of special to customers who go and leave a great review.

A simple $5 gift card to Starbucks can usually do the trick… but of course, we want to just give the $5.

We don’t want to tell them they have to write a review to do it 🙂

How Reviews Boost SEO

Having a local directory page is great for automotive SEO as it is.

Some potential car buyers will hop on to Yelp and search for dealerships in their area to see which the most popular is before actually setting out and researching any cars.

These directory listings also give you another link in relevant search results, links that are often given preference over the website links themselves.

Even if your local directory page does not yet have any reviews, maintaining that page and making it easy to find is still great for SEO.

Once you do start getting reviews, however, your page will become even weightier.

Reviews do two things on their own: first, they make your car dealership appear more legitimate and second, they up your authority score.

Once people have actually taken the time to get online and leave you review, this signifies to Google that not only are you a real business, you are also a business that knows what it is talking about.

Both of those things are great for search engine optimization.

The more legitimate and authoritative your business appears, the higher your website will appear in relevant search results.

Local directory pages are a great way to build juice, because they get a lot of traffic and provide a source for an inbound link, that allows your own website to suck the authority and legitimacy from that page.

If you don’t yet have pages for your dealership set up on Yelp and Google+, now is the time to get them set up.

Actively Use Reviews

Another way you can use reviews to boost automotive SEO is by actually transferring those reviews to your website.

This does two things: it puts the social proof right on your dealership’s website and it expands its content, without you actually having to write any additional content.

Because many reviews will also include helpful keywords, your SEO foundation will also be strengthened by adding this content.

How do you add reviews to your website?

While having a specific page just for reviews of your dealership might seem a little vain, many people who are considering whether or not to do business with you will click on that tab and read what other buyers have said about you.

We highly recommend that you add an entire page to your website just for reviews.

You might also consider adding a section on your home page that scrolls though a variety of reviews.

Often, you can add a Yelp , Facebook or Google+ review widget to the code of your website, so that the reviews will update and change themselves automatically as you garner more and more reviews.

Please note that Google+ is going out of business soon though.

Review signals (anything that has to do with reviews, including the quantity, quality, diversity, etc.) actually make up about 10% of all Google ranking factors.

And this number will continue to grow.

They influence 90% of all buying decisions.

Those two statistics alone should be enough of a reason to start gathering reviews.

Using your reviews in order to reach out to more customers and to draw more people to your website is just smart and easy.

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