In today’s virtual landscape, customers rely on reviews more than ever before. Not only that, but they can help improve your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) score. Understanding Google’s algorithm can help improve your bottom line and increase your rankings.
Reviews, whether they are positive or negative, can be a real asset for your SEO strategy – customer reviews drive buying decisions. In fact, 79% of shoppers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Here are some reasons how and why customer reviews can improve your SEO.
Micro-moments are when people reflexively turn to a mobile device to explore, discover, research, and buy. Consumers in these micro-moments are turning to search engines and expect the best possible company with the highest-rated products and services to show up in their results.
Once you have identified your keywords, determine the micro-moments that these terms closely align with and the types of content needed to address people in those moments. Remember that Google is invested in the idea of the micro-moment and therefore works to tailor the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) to the micro-moment of the customer.
Looking at the types of content associated with your business and which appear most prominently on the SERP for a particular term or phrase will provide you with insight into the user’s likely intent.
Google loves customer reviews
A search engine like Google draws on customer reviews to determine whether a business should show up on the first page of the results. This makes reviews the second most important ranking factor. Most important is the content of the page itself. If you can create content that is unique, fresh and helpful for users, Google will rank it higher on its search engine page results.
Multiple research studies have found that collecting and replying to customer reviews is critical to your SEO. Basically, Google wants to reward businesses that have better reviews by making them easier for people to find on Google Search and Google Maps. Customers are likely to spend 31% more with a business that has positive reviews.
How to get more positive reviews from customers
The most overlooked tip when it comes to getting reviews is to ask your customers to review your product or service. There are many creative ways to ask customers for a review. Here are a few ideas:
- Create different spaces to leave reviews. Set up a Google My Business listing and an official Facebook account.
- Train your employees to politely and professionally ask or guide your customers to leave a review.
- Use email marketing campaigns and surveys where you can ask your customers the right questions to help you get the information you need from them.
- Add review links to order confirmation emails. Try using a review management system, like My Review Dashboard.
- Use your social media platforms to encourage your customers to share their experiences.
- Include a note or thank you card with a link to follow for leaving reviews.
Respond to reviews
Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business. This builds trust and shows your customers and your not-yet-customers that you care. It improves relationships, builds your clientele, and generates new business. Here are the reasons why responding promptly is essential:
Improves your Google Ranking
This means that your business has a higher chance of appearing in the top 3 spots below the map of a local search result. Reviews help businesses to improve their ranking.
Builds Customer Trust
When businesses respond timeously, customers feel that their opinions are valued. ReviewTrackers found that 53.3% of customers expect a response within 7 days of writing an online review, particularly one that is negative or critical.
When you reply to consumer reviews, you are making an impression not only on the customer who wrote it, but on everyone else who reads it, too. People who see that a business is responsive are more likely to share feedback via reviews. Just the appearance of several reviews seems to be enough to give new customers the incentive and confidence to submit their own opinion.
Real-time Customer Feedback
Fast response time to your reviews can result in a live interaction with your customers giving you the opportunity to gather more feedback about your product or service. This will help you gather valuable information that you won’t find anywhere else.
How to respond to reviews
When customers share their reviews, both positive and negative, they want them to be acknowledged and read by the brand. When regularly interacting with your customers it signals a fresh and frequently updated website. Creating a go-to guide on when and how to respond will help your team to prioritise and answer reviews accordingly and know how to spot issues quickly.
Here are some tips on how to respond:
- Thank the reviewer and be specific about their comment.
- Respond quickly
- Keep it short, but impactful
- Be authentic and personable
- Add a little marketing to the response by highlighting something to attract future customers.
- Use the business name and keywords in your response to boost the SERPs.
- Add a call to action (for example, ask them to follow your social media page).
- Invite customers to visit again.
- If the person’s name is visible in the response, address them by name.
- Your response is an opportunity to inform your customers about sales or specials.
- Limit responses to three to five sentences to use your time efficiently.
- Try to reply within one to two days.
- Be honest if there was a problem and acknowledge the situation.
- Apologise for their experience and sympathise with the customer.
- Take responsibility ( if your business was at fault).
- Be professional and respectful
- Keep the response simple, short and sweet.
- Move the conversation offline and provide a proactive next step.
- Keep the dialogue positive.
- Focus on solutions
- Don’t include your business name or relevant keywords. You don’t want negative reviews showing up in search results.
Online customer reviews are a great avenue for grabbing consumers’ attention and increasing sales. If you spend more time responding to reviews you will increase online interactions and in-store customers. These insights are highly valuable to your business’s performance.
SEO is never stationary and always moving, therefore reviews are essential if you want to stay ahead of the game. Reviews can drive three core areas of your business: brand trust, local SEO, and feedback. You’ll quickly find it’s one of the most cost-effective ways to drive leads to your business.