Reviews have quickly become a necessary part of a business’ online marketing strategy and are a great way to help grow your business online. Besides helping build trust and credibility and providing businesses with valuable feedback from their customers, reviews are an important part of Google’s algorithm that determines your ranking in search results.
When many think of SEO the focus is on content creation and link building. They are a proven part of Google’s algorithm and they should get more attention. Especially if you have a local business!
Getting found on the web is more important than ever. Reviews will not only help get you found in places that your customers are searching, but they also provide social proof and allow prospective customers to benefit from the experiences of past customers, giving them confidence in your product or service.
We’ve compiled a list of 6 ways that reviews can help boost your SEO, and help you to stand apart from your customers online.
Reviews Provide Keywords for Google to Crawl
Google is frequently crawling web pages for information. Reviews not only offer user generated content, but also provide updated content which Google favors. Instead of seeing reviews as just valuable feedback, think of them as fresh content. Google doesn’t like stale content and prefers to see freshly updated information, which reviews are able to provide. Everytime Google crawls your listing and finds these organic keywords provided by your customers in their reviews, it helps Google paint a really clear picture of your business so they know where to position you in searches.
The goal here is to receive positive reviews on a regular basis so that you can be feeding Google updated content, so it is important to be consistently asking your customers for reviews in places such as your Google My Business listing or on Facebook.
Respond to Your Reviews
Responding to your reviews provides a couple of important benefits. According to the Google My Business Support page they encourage users to “interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to them shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business.”
When Google says jump, we jump.
Responding to reviews is another touch point you have to help provide a positive experience for your customers OR do damage control in response to a negative review. As mentioned above Google likes fresh content in the form of keywords, and by responding to your customer’s reviews, whether positive or negative, you are creating this new content for Google to crawl.
By professionally and courteously responding to any negative reviews and offering a resolution with your unhappy customer, you increase your chances of that customer removing the negative review which will help boost your star rating. Additionally, you shine a positive light on your customer service to potential customers reading your reviews. We offer more ways to use negative reviews to your advantage later in this article.
What Review Platforms are Most Effective
One look at the internet and you can find a plethora of review sites. It can range from Facebook, to Google My Business, Houzz, Yellowpages and more. These review sites range from very niche to all encompassing. We recommend choosing 3-5 review sites to focus your efforts on, instead of having a low number of reviews on many different review sites. Asking your customers to leave you a review on Google or Facebook are both highly recommended since they are both places your prospects interact with everyday.
It is important to note that Google pulls reviews from the web and displays them on your Google My Business listing under ‘Reviews from the web’. This means Google can display your star rating from up to 3 sources such as Facebook, Yellow pages or Home Advisor, to name a few.
Before you can get reviews you must set up an account, for example on Google you must set up a Google My Business account. Alternatively, to start getting reviews on Facebook you must create a business page.
Provide Exceptional Customer Service
It sounds obvious, but the best way to get more reviews from your customers is to go above and beyond. Make an effort to really ‘wow’ them. From there, it’s a matter of saying if they enjoyed your service, they could leave you a review on Google. We then recommend following up with an email or text SMS request asking ‘How was your experience?’ with a link to leave a review. Review Management Software makes sending these review requests simple. And oftentimes can automate the process, which can save you time.
If you’re still not getting reviews, don’t get discouraged just understand it is part of the game since we live in a population that is bombarded with advertising and notifications. Remember, it’s a numbers game when it comes to reviews so just keep at it and ensure you are sending review requests to all your customers. It doesn’t hurt to follow up, however it’s important to not be too pushy.
Address Negative Reviews
It is perfectly normal to encounter the odd negative review here or there. Negative reviews have the potential to turn away prospective customers, so it’s important to address them.
Negative reviews can feel like a low blow but there is a silver lining to negative reviews that can showcase your customer service and help convert potential customers. Did you know that 89% of consumers read business’ responses to reviews?
Follow these 4 steps to effectively respond to a negative review:
- Respond promptly. The sooner the better when it comes to doing damage control on bad review. This helps smooth things over with an unhappy customer and ensure any potential customers reading the review aren’t deterred.
- Acknowledge the customer is right. Try your best to see your customer’s experience from their point of view and express sympathy.
- Offer a sincere apology. A genuine explanation goes a long way, if it’s appropriate in your industry.
- Let them know you would like to offer a resolution and take the conversation offline. Try offering a freebie or even give them a refund, as a way to make amends.
Ensure you are in a calm and cool state of mind and professionally respond to your unhappy customer. You want to be able to express your sincere apologies for their experience. Furthermore, offer to come to a resolution. And once you have resolved the issue, ask if they would consider editing the review. Chances are once you have resolved the issue they will edit or remove their review.
If someone has posted a fake review you should flag this with the review platform and have it removed. You will have to be patient because removing a one-star review doesn’t happen right away. Google can have the fake or bad review taken down in 5 days or longer for example. It depends on if they are backed up with flagged reviews.
It’s always good to follow up with customers too. Particularly those who you think may have had a negative experience. This allows them an outlet to express their concern. A simple email asking how their experience was can help internally resolve this issue instead of having them post a negative review online.
Put Reviews on Autopilot Using Review Management Software
Review Management Software is a super helpful software tool. It can help businesses put the process of receiving reviews on autopilot. This helps free up both time and mental space to focus on other tasks in your business, while helping boost your SEO and online reputation.
It’s super important to ask your customer for reviews. However, the reality is, your customers are busy, just like you, and leaving reviews can be confusing to some! Review Management Software specializes in making the process of leaving reviews super streamlined and simple. This ultimately boosts the chance of receiving a review.
This software integrates with software you use everyday which automates the process of sending review requests out to your customers. As previously mentioned, reviews are a numbers game and it’s important to request reviews from every customer to boost your chances of boosting your SEO.
Getting more reviews is an important way to help boost your SEO. Ensure you are consistently asking your customers for reviews on relevant review sites, and ensure you are responding to them. We also recommend investing in review management software which is an affordable tool that will offer you big value and time savings by making the process of getting more reviews from your customers super easy. By following these simple steps you will be making great strides in helping to boost your SEO for your business.
About The Author
Julia McLaughlin lives and works in Ontario, Canada and is co-founder of My Review Sidekick, a simple software tool that helps service-based businesses to easily get more reviews from their customers. She works with clients to help improve their online reputation using review management software. Julia is also a member of her local Rotaract International Club. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or Instagram.