Business can enhance their chances of being found by consumers online by working on techniques to improve their online reputation, according to Reputation.com.

Google trends data released earlier in 2017 shows that consumer online searches for “near me” and “closest” have doubled over the last year, highlighting an intriguing area of search engine optimisation (SEO) focus for companies looking to boost web visibility.

Reputation.com says that it can help companies get into the Google Local 3-Pack, the name given to the three companies listed online when people use terms like “near me” or “closest” in their searches for a certain type of business.

For lettings agents the ability to rank in such a way can have a major impact on visits to their premises, especially as they tend to capture people who are searching with the aim of visiting at that given moment.

Here are Reputation.com’s four top tips for estate agencies, looking to rise up the online rankings.

1. Online reviews & ratings

According to the online reputation management company, page rankings are directly influenced by the volume and quality of customer reviews. A priority for letting agents – and other business areas – is to prioritise reviews by building volume and encouraging satisfied customers to rate and review their services on Google.

2. Business Listings

Google prioritises companies that display accurate location information across multiple listings sites, so organisations looking to improve their web visibility should ensure factors such as address, categories, keyword in business title are all clearly indexed.

It is important, says Reputation.com, to maintain accurate listings. They need to include business name, address, phone number, times of operation, and photos of the location – and this information should match what companies have on their own websites, according to Reputation.com.

3. Social engagement

Social engagement on Google, Facebook and Twitter, for example, help local search rankings and have an impact on a business’s SEO.

Engaging current and potential customers on social media platforms can help boost online visibility in search rankings, but organisations are advised to make sure their social handles match their business name and include social links on their websites. Linking back to the website from a company’s social profile can maximise visibility, too.

4. Strong website

Optimising search results relies also on ecommerce infrastructure and on-page factors, such as website content quality, site architecture, HTML tags and domain name – according to Reputation.com.

Google favours mobile-friendly websites and will penalise those that aren’t, so businesses looking to attract local customers to their premises at the moment of search should be adopting a mobile-first approach. Letting agencies aiming to attract passing traffic are a prime example of companies that should be thinking this way, according to Reputation.com.

Belvoir: a case study success

UK lettings agency Belvoir recently started working with Reputation.com to help raise its online profile.

In the company’s annual report and accounts for 2016, the results of this strategy were included in a list of marketing and public relations highlights.

Belvoir generated 3,022 online reviews in 2016, compared to 1,008 in 2015, and 90% of them were positive. One year before, 82% of the reviews were positive.

Using the rating facility, which is independently generated by Reputation.com, Belvoir jumped from a score of 4.2 out of five to 4.6, and helped increase its online reputation.

Click here to learn more about utilising reviews from your customers to improve your brand reputation