Reviews and Testimonials Key to New Business

Recent research has shown that Google is giving more weight to reviews that are placed directly online. Reviews on search results pages (SERPS) seen by potential customers are a key factor in their "Zero moment of truth" (ZMOT), when deciding to click through and buy from a business with positive reviews. Google did research and found that 88% of consumers research before they buy in the "zero moment of truth" (ZMOT). Reviews are an important part of their decision to buy.

Small business owners can encourage their "rave review" customers to place their reviews online on Google Plus, which in my opinion has the best "search results juice" since anything Google has built is connected to the entire Google platform.

Yelp is a second choice, as consumers by now know much more about Yelp than they did in past years.

Other online locations in which reviews can be placed include Angie's List, Better Business Bureau, and Manta. An article by Business News Daily has more ideas:

As a content marketer, reviews are not normally an area of focus. Now that they are becoming more prominent in consumer decisions, adding a review to content may be appropriate for visibility. Also, encouraging existing customers who are willing to offer a review on their own or send one in writing, can be encouraged to add their review to the Google Plus listing of the business. A link can be sent by email with a nice thank you note.

Even though reviews and testimonials that are printed on a website do not carry any weight when it comes to Google page ranking, web site visitors will appreciate seeing positive reviews as they make choices in the steps in their buying decision process. Online reviews help web visitors to click on the site link. Reviews quoted on web pages may help keep them engaged.

A business owner should use reviews as a communication tool not only with the person that placed the review but so that anyone who see the review will see how the business responded. Whether it is a "Thank you for the nice review" or "We are sorry for your experience. Here's what we will do..." the business owner is engaged in responding promptly to each review that is placed on Facebook, Yelp, or Google Plus.

Read why bad online reviews can be an opportunity to gain new business :
Why Bad Online Customer Reviews Could Be Good for Your Business

Social media has opened up a whole new area of content marketing and reviews will come out of the experience of content as well as products and services. The positive response to content can also translate to positive views and reviews of the business.

At least for now and most likely into the near future, reviews and testimonials are a key to new business. 

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