POSTED ON 26th July 2021
Most people these days trust online reviews and ratings as they represent an unbiased opinion about a product, a service, or a business. Consumers are increasingly depending on reviews and ratings before making a purchase. This is why reviews of all types are good for your business, even more so if you are in the online marketplace.
Aside from being helpful for your customers, reviews and ratings are also responsible for securing your online visibility in search rankings, especially your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Online reviews are one of the most significant local ranking factors. It makes a business more likely to appear in search results on Google, Google Maps, and other search engines. Google and other search engines value online reviews from real customers. They like to see that people choose your business and take the time to leave their opinion about it. They reward you for this.
How exactly are reviews helping your local SEO and boost your online search rankings?
- Customer feedback translates to more keywords. When a customer leaves a feedback/review/comment, they are essentially creating content for your product, service, or business. And, we all know that fresh content attracts a higher search ranking. So, whether you get good or bad feedback, it most likely contains keywords relevant to your products, services, business, or even location. This gives search engines like Google get a good picture of what your business does, enabling it to better position you in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
- You gain an edge over your competitors and improve your Clickthrough rate (CTR). Not everyone will see an opportunity in online reviews. Some businesses focus their attention on website optimisation, coding and search terms, and so on. If you start collecting reviews and installing rich snippets on your website, you will transform your listings in the SERPs to get ahead of the game. They’ll appear as Rich Results listings, which means any reviews you’ve collected will show up as golden stars underneath your listing. Others may be great at creating copy to sell their products and services, but it’s almost useless if a real person is not recommending them. Those stars representing ratings given by actual customers are far more influential to potential customers as they represent real people. Reviews equate to greater brand trust, leading to a higher CTR than your competitors, regardless of your positioning in the SERPs. Keep in mind, a higher CTR is one of the ranking factors for search engines like Google. This is because they take notice when more people are going to your website. The increased traffic is considered a sign of popularity and most likely will result in bumping up your rankings as search engines like providing their users with the best experience possible.
- When you respond to reviews, you increase interaction that in turn benefits SEO. It shouldn’t be just one way when it comes to soliciting reviews. When you get a review (good or bad), you must respond. Google encourages not just collecting reviews but also responding to reviews that customers leave about your business. It shows that you value your customers and their opinions and feedback about your products or services. Interactions will result in even more keywords for search engines to crawl. It represents a fresh, frequently updated website. It could even encourage those with bad reviews to change or delete their reviews because they will see that you care enough to respond.
- Bounce rates are effectively decreased. Almost always, your website visitors will look for reviews from your customers. If they see positive reviews and ratings and that you are actively responding to feedback, chances are they will be convinced enough to convert. In short, lower bounce rates means higher search engine rankings.
Needless to say, there are many direct and indirect ways reviews and ratings impact your SEO efforts. If you have included review management in your marketing strategy, kudos to you. You better keep up with it, especially now that most Australians are home-based and are constantly searching for products and services online.
For those who have yet to start on this strategy, now is the time. You need to make a conscious effort to collect reviews from as many customers as you can. Most customers are happy to leave reviews if asked. Don’t forget to display these reviews and ratings on your website. There are so many review monitoring tools you can use to help you achieve your goal.
Don’t be discouraged by negative reviews as well. Instead, consider them as a challenge for you to turn haters into loyal customers. It’ll show your prospects you care enough and want to improve your reputation, build back trust, and learn from your mistakes.
You can talk to us if you want to know more about how you can leverage reviews and ratings to improve your local SEO.