If you’re looking for an easy way to boost your online presence and bolster your digital marketing campaigns, look no further than online customer reviews. Reviews are incredibly important to the way you operate online, helping to build credibility with search engines and turn interested viewers into paying customers.
Online reviews are perhaps most important to Local SEO and SEO in general, where they play a direct role in helping you rank on Google. In fact, customer reviews are an important ranking factor for both organic local search results and appearing in Google’s coveted Local Pack.
As well as this, 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, meaning it’s worth your time to generate as many genuine happy reviews as possible.
To find out more about generating, managing, and making the most of customer reviews, keep reading for a step-by-step guide.
5 Steps to Enhancing Your SEO with Customer Reviews
STEP 1: Generate More Customer Reviews
Getting your customers to leave you a review online is as easy as asking the question. The trick is to ask the right people in the right way at the right time.
It’s usually best to ask happy customers to leave you a review when they are most happy. That is after you have provided the product or service that solved their problem. If you ask them before the end of the process they’re more likely to forget, and if you ask them too long after the job is done, the genuine satisfaction they once felt might not come across.
Make it as easy as possible for customers to leave a review. You can do this by sending them a text or an email with a link to where you want them to leave their feedback.
For SEO purposes, reviews on your Google My Business page are most important. By using a tool like the Supple Reviews tool, you can generate a custom link to your business’s Google Review page and include this in the email or text. This way, all they need to do is follow the link and leave their thoughts.
STEP 2: Respond To Reviews On Google My Business And Other Platforms
Think of online reviews as your customer starting a conversation with you. Whether you like or loathe what they have to say, it’s important to respond to them. This is true even if they specifically left a review at your request.
Responding to reviews helps to make your business look more engaged and credible, both in the eyes of Google and your potential customers. In fact, Google’s official advice is that you should respond to reviews, which is a strong indication that this is something the search engine takes into account.
Responding to reviews can also help you take the sting out of negative feedback. By constructively replying to critical feedback, you show potential customers that you are willing to address issues and solve problems. In the best-case scenario, you could even get that unhappy customer to change or remove their review.
Interestingly, getting a few negative reviews isn’t explicitly bad for your SEO or your online presence. Customers often only look at the number of reviews, so the more the better. As well as this, studies suggest that moderately positive reviews are often more trustworthy than glowing ones, so bringing your overall rating down to 4.5 stars can actually be a good thing.
When responding to online reviews, focus primarily on feedback left on your Google My Business, followed by social media profiles like Facebook and then other listing sites such as Yellow Pages.
STEP 3: Use Reviews As Social Proof
Social proof refers to a quirk in human psychology where people make decisions based on the behaviours of others. This “shortcut” allows us to make purchases and commit to products and services without necessarily taking all the steps we usually would.
When you see websites showing off industry awards, brand partnerships, and positive customer reviews, they are using social proof to their advantage. Other people have validated these products, services, and businesses, so you don’t need to do it before you buy. This can result in a higher number of conversions, with 93% of people saying that online reviews influenced their buying decisions.
Some different ways to display reviews on your website include:
- Feature reviews in a sidebar
- Include them in a carousel on your home page
- Have a dedicated reviews/testimonials page
- Include them on product and services pages
STEP 4: Create Review Rich Snippets (If You Can)
When you look at standard search engine results, you will usually see a page title, meta description, and URL per listing. Rich snippets display extra information, including images, prices, and star reviews. These rich snippets help search engines understand your website better and they help to draw the eye and earn the click of searchers (increasing your click-through rate).
You can add review rich snippets to your search results by adding review structured data to your webpage. However, it’s important to note that Google will only display review rich snippets for certain kinds of pages. You can learn more about review rich snippets and structured data here.
STEP 5: Support Your Review Work With Other Local SEO Efforts
As we said at the start of the article, customer reviews are an important ranking factor when it comes to Local SEO. Moz ranks reviews as the third most important factor for Local Pack optimisation and the seventh most important factor for organic local search results.
Here are some other steps you can take to support your great review work and bolster your SEO:
- Most importantly for Local SEO, set up and optimise Google My Business
- Create internal links on your website and earn backlinks from other sites
- Ensure your Name, Address, and Phone Number are consistent across the internet
- Complete keyword research and follow on-page SEO best practices
- Establish a strong social media presence
Take Advantage Of Reviews And Become A Smarter Digital Marketer
By following the five steps above, you can not only generate more online reviews but use them to enhance multiple aspects of your digital marketing strategy. While SEO is front and centre, these steps can also boost your online branding, conversion efforts, and much more.
The only thing left to do is get started. Follow the five steps above and start making the most of customer feedback today.
For some tips on what SEO and review strategies ‘to do’ check out these recent Marketing.com.au articles:
- Why The Buck Stops With Customer Reviews
- The Focal Point of Local SEO Is Online Reviews
- 5 Trends In eCommerce Marketing You Should Avoid
- Online Customer Retention Tips To Win Back Lost Customers
- How User Generated Content Improves SEO, Traffic And Sales
- What Is Online Reputation Management?