How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Reviews
Positive or negative, online reviews can have a major impact on your business. Not only do reviews influence your brand’s reputation, but they also affect how consumers find you on search engines, interact with you on social media, and ultimately whether they will purchase from you.
Understanding the importance of consumer reviews and how to take advantage of them is crucial for marketers. While there are lots of review platforms that deserve your attention, let’s look at one that should be at the top of your list - Google Reviews– and how you can use it to boost your brand's reputation and search engine optimization (SEO).
Once upon a time, reviews were the purview of professional critics who worked in media such as newspapers, radio, or television. They usually had some expertise or interest in the field they covered. This added authority to their reviews. But since most mainstream media outlets only employed one or two critics whose focus was mostly on entertainment or dining, businesses in general didn’t have to be too concerned about reviews.
Times have changed. With the advent of social media, everyone is a critic. Whether they post comments about your product or service on their Facebook or Twitter feed or take advantage of any number of social review platforms such as Yelp!, Angie's List, TripAdvisor, or Trustpilot, today’s critics are average consumers. Unlike professional critics, consumers are typically amateur reviewers who have limited expertise related to the topics they discuss. While individual consumer reviews might not have a lot of impact on their own, when aggregated with the opinions of other consumers on a social platform, they carry the sort of weight that can make or break a business.
As many as 90% of customers are influenced by online reviews and 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Those are impressive numbers and obviously all those opinions matter. But once you get past the noise of what people are saying you will discover the hidden value of their comments –good or bad - on another set of KPIs: your SEO and how consumers find and interact with your business.
Here are 5 benefits that reviews can provide for your SEO:
1. Provide search engines with new and relevant content
Search engines reward websites that actively publish new and relevant content. But sometimes it’s difficult to post as often as you would like. That’s where consumer generated media comes into play.
Consumer generated media can power your social media channels and website with real content in the form of reviews, ratings, and comments. This content demonstrates to search engines that your site is active and valuable to customers. Plus, it helps to get your customers talking to each other, boosting engagement, page views, and time on site.
2. It naturally shapes basic SEO attributes
Keywords, internal links, backlinks, and more are the basic attributes of optimizing your website for search engines. Reviews enable consumers to build links and keywords that will shape your SEO for you without requiring your time or effort.
3. Help your site rank for long-tail keywords naturally
Long-tail keywords are phrases that don’t have too much search competition. The lack of competition allows for your site to rank higher on searches that utilize these phrases, therefore making them perfect for SEO.
Reviews are a great source for identifying the perfect long-tail phrases. Just look through the reviews and find how customers are wording their concerns. These phrases can then be used as keywords for on-site optimization.
Plus, this will also help improve your brand messaging, allowing you to use words that customers want to hear and use themselves.
4. Boosts social SEO
Social media optimization (SMO) deals specifically with social sites. Reviews often come in the form of social shares, likes, commenting, or threads. These will all point back towards your brand which will then result in a boost in your SMO.
5. Great for automatic and manual optimization
Search engines and their rankings are largely automated. Among other things, they use algorithms that look for customer reviews and testimonials to evaluate your website’s reputation.
Once reviews are found, search quality raters manually evaluate your site’s reputation. This is done by looking for authority, truth, and expertise throughout the site. All these attributes can be found in customer reviews.
Reviews and ratings will provide your ads with a 17% higher CTR. That kind of increase in traffic can lead to a lot more conversations. All those conversations and reviews will help boost your SMO while providing search engines with the new content they desire.
And if those benefits weren’t enough, consider that 10% of traffic is credited to reviews!
Use Google Reviews to Boost Your Reputation and SEO
Our team of social media experts can help you leverage consumer reviews to improve your brand’s reputation and boost your SEO. We can also connect you with Influencers whose opinions can also drive purchasing decisions in your favor.
Alright, now you know why reviews are so important, but why should you focus on Google Reviews?
Well, Google Reviews will not only do everything mentioned above, but they will also provide you with benefits you might never imagine. For example:
Searches: Unlike other review sites, Google Reviews will appear directly on Google searches. This helps customers make decisions before even visiting your website.
Finding you: It is much more likely for customers, both established and potential, to find you with reviews displayed in the search results.
Customer Engagement: Keeping your customers engaged is crucial for customer retention. This is easily done with Google reviews. Plus, anytime your customers engage, you get an opportunity to interact with them as well!
Credibility: With Google reviews, remaining anonymous is difficult since you must have a Google account to review. This aspect allows for more reliable and trustworthy reviews for both you and your customers!
Google Maps: By utilizing Google reviews, you are putting your business and its reputation on the map, literally. Google Maps puts reviews and ratings right next to the businesses they are showing!
Consider how many people are “Googling” per day, per minute! Keep that staggering number in mind when you think of how these people will be better exposed to your business through the use of Google Reviews.
Utilizing reviews, ratings, and feedback, “Googling” introduces users with businesses who are most likely to fit their needs — and that should be you!
So far, we’ve explained why reviews – especially Google Reviews – are great. But what happens when you get a negative review?
Contrary to popular belief, negative reviews will not necessarily penalize you, especially if they are Google Reviews.
Google has manual reviewers who are trained to look at the bigger picture with negative reviews. They read negative reviews and consider the positives, not just the negatives of your business before making adjustments.
Negative reviews can even help Google’s manual reviewers delve deeper into your business, gaining an understanding of your overall reputation which will then allow for a more appropriate and natural rating.
But if negative reviews still scare you, here are some things you can do to mitigate them:
Now that you’ve learned how to stop worrying and love reviews, it is time to get more of them. Here’s how:
Encouraging consumers to submit reviews not only generates more content and SEO value for your website, it demonstrates your confidence in the quality and value of your products and services.
Understanding the importance of consumer reviews and how to take advantage of them is key for marketers. Our team of social media experts can help you leverage consumer reviews to improve your brand’s reputation and boost your SEO. We can also connect you with Influencers whose opinions can shape the purchasing decisions of even more consumers. Contact us to learn more and get a free social media strategy consultation.