Online reviews are a crucial aspect of any business. 93% of consumers say online reviews play a part when buying something. It might seem obvious that consumers rely on the opinions of others when making a purchase. What you might not know is that online reviews also matter when it comes to SEO and ranking on search results.
Having a large number of positive reviews across different sites boosts a business’s visibility on search engines, making it easier for prospective customers to find you. In fact, Moz found that online reviews constitute 10% of the criteria for appearing on Google search results.
Online reviews provide an excellent way for search engines like Google to stay on the pulse of consumer trends, what they search for, and the products they purchase. But with Google’s ever-changing organic ranking algorithm, the challenge becomes how to leverage online reviews for an effective SEO strategy. Businesses can consider a few factors to harness the SEO power of online reviews:
Nurture More Reviews
The number of online reviews matter. Getting a couple of reviews in one year might not do much, but getting that same amount in one week could really boost your site’s visibility in the search results.
Google looks for frequent reviews. Many accurate, positive reviews of your business show “review authority”, and extra points go for reviews posted on well-known, third-party sites like Yelp or OpenTable.
Unfortunately, many customers won’t take the time to leave a review on their own. Make sure to nurture happy customers to leave a review. Below you can find a few ways to gently remind customers to provide an online review:
Make it easier for customers to leave reviews by adding a “Leave a Review” CTA after purchase that links to a reputable, third-party review page.
Send follow-up emails after purchase asking customers to leave a review.
Follow up with loyal customers on how much you appreciate their business and ask if they wouldn’t mind leaving a short review on your behalf.
Provide reward incentives (like discounts) for customers who leave reviews.
Send a thank you to every customer who leaves a review to encourage them to write more on different sites.
Respond to Reviews
Responding to reviews shows that a business values the customer. What’s more: Google finally admitted that it does consider responding to reviews as a criteria in SEO. Make sure to respond to all reviews within a timely manner – no more than a few days after the review goes up.
Positive reviews deserve a thank you, but negative feedback may come up too. Before responding to a bad review, take a breath and come back to it. You don’t want to tarnish your business’ reputation by lashing out over a bad review.
After taking a couple of days to cool down, make sure to respond to the negative review in a professional, apologetic manner. Address the customer by their first name. Thank them for taking the time to leave a review. Apologize and accept responsibility where it’s due.
Next, offer the customer a method to reach you outside of the online review site. This gives the opportunity to resolve the issue privately. If it goes well, you can ask the customer if they would be willing to change the review.
Incorporate Long-Tail Keyword Used in Online Reviews
When enough people are writing reviews for your business, they will naturally include long-tail keywords in the review. Long-tail keywords refer to specific phrases with a longer word count. You’ll start to show up more often when users search using those keywords and find your website.
Let’s say you own a pizza shop in New Brunswick, and many customers feel impressed with your “fast pizza delivery in New Brunswick.” They may start including that phrase, or something similar, both in reviews and in searches for your website. Boom! Now, you’ll likely start ranking in the top results for that long-tail keyword.
You’ll also want to leverage this trend in your SEO strategy. Boost SEO even more by including those long-tail keywords within the content on your website. Try to place them strategically on important pages, without overstuffing them.
How to Choose Review Platforms
The internet has many online review platforms. Some platforms have all kinds of businesses while others are more niche-focused. Start with a few major sites like Google Reviews, Facebook, or Yelp. Then move on to the relevant review platforms in your industry. For example, if you run a restaurant, you’ll want to focus on sites like OpenTable or Zomato.
Next, you can keep track of how the review sites perform. Looking at site analytics will determine how much traffic comes through a given site leading customers to you. This can also help you optimize your focus as some review sites may yield more traffic and conversions than others.
Harnessing the power of SEO takes time so don’t expect to see results overnight. Nurturing customers to leave feedback and keeping track of online reviews will help boost rankings on search engines and bolster a positive reputation for your business.
If you want to learn more about how positive SEO strategies can help you reach your business goals, this is a great post on the key components of a successful digital marketing strategy.
Click here to ask about our SEO strategies that can help your business. Or, call Ken at 800-932-7746. You can also email Ken at firstname.lastname@example.org.