Take what your customers are saying and use it for search engine success
Online reviews represent the best way for consumers to get honest opinions from real people about products and services they are interested in purchasing. You may also find them helpful as a way to keep your finger on the pulse of what people are saying about your company. What you may not know is that online reviews also provide an ideal search engine optimization (SEO) opportunity.
It’s a well-known fact that search engines are a vital part of doing business today. For prospective customers to find you, your company should rank on the first page of a Google search. You must use everything in your toolbox to raise your search ranking. Online reviews, if you use them correctly, are a great tool to use.
Why online reviews are crucial
- People read them. Research shows that more than 80 percent of consumers read and trust online reviews more than advice from people they actually know.
- They can make or break your online reputation. If customers see mostly negative reviews about your company, they will be more likely to choose your competitor’s product. Positive reviews signify a good company that people believe in.
- They boost your credibility. Of course it’s great to toot your own horn, but it’s even more powerful when someone else does it for you. Online reviews on third-party directories like Yelp act as independent endorsements for your brand.
- You can use them to increase conversions. Consumers in the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey are looking for information and advice to allow them to move to the next stage. It’s great when they can get these recommendations from your own satisfied customers.
- Reviews show up in searches. When customers perform a search, they can often see immediately how many reviews your business has received on sites such as Yelp and Google+.
How online reviews help with SEO
While Google does not discuss exactly how it performs its calculations, we know that the criteria include online reviews. In fact, according to research, online reviews make up approximately 10 percent of how search engines rank results, making this a determining factor in which companies receive top ranking. They are measured for quantity, quality and diversity.
The more mentions your company gets, the more your name is out there on the internet. As the search engine bots crawl around looking for organic mentions of your company, they find online reviews, which can ultimately improve your ranking.
Before making a purchase, customers want to know as much about your product as possible, such as how it performs under different conditions. Additionally, customers are becoming savvier about reviews and are learning to spot fakes and censorship. So are search engines.
Listing both good and bad reviews creates a more honest profile. After all, you can’t please all of the customers all of the time, right? If you have only positive, five-star ratings, it looks suspicious. As long as the negative reviews don’t overpower the positive ones, customers will favor your product and your integrity.
Tips to take full advantage of your online reviews
- Link to your review profiles on your own website.
- Increase your number of reviews by asking customers to post on sites important to your business.
- Be proactive by monitoring mentions and responding consistently and promptly.
- Hire a PR agency to help you.
It’s clear that online reviews affect not only your online reputation, but also your bottom line. With so much at stake, it’s best to get expert assistance.
Axia Public Relations will help you manage your online reviews, use them to improve customer relationships and get to the top of those searches. To find out more, contact us or request a demonstration of our ReviewMaxer software program.
Lisa Goldsberry is a blogger for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business and technology PR. Lisa has worked for Axia since December 2013. Learn more about Lisa Goldsberry. Connect with Axia on Twitter @axiapr or tell us what you think in the comments below.
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