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User Reviews Are Great For SEO, And More

June 14, 2017

How User Reviews Help

What are your customers saying online about your company? If they aren’t saying anything, or not much, you are missing a big opportunity to improve your local SEO performance, and much more.

  • When search engine users are looking for your products and services, Google wants to feature the best companies — not also-rans — in organic search results. Thus, online reviews strongly improve SEO results, because they represent “social proof” of your company’s performance. A “Google My Business” listing is an important first step; positive reviews on Yelp, Zagat and industry websites in your vertical are also worth their weight in SEO gold.

  • Local SEO is NOT just for local companies such as restaurants. Even global brands benefit from a strategic local SEO campaign, as it helps them outdistance competitors in important geographic markets.

  • User reviews strongly influence conversions. Many prospects are more interested in what customers have to say about your business than what you have to say. In this respect, publishing user reviews on relevant website product and service pages can make the difference between a handful of leads and hundreds of them.

  • User reviews strengthen a company’s brand image and brand awareness. This has an indirect but very important impact on lead generation. Days, weeks or months after a Yelp user glances at a positive review of your company, he or she may need something you sell — and your SEO, PPC or display ad might click, in more ways than one.

How to Get More User Reviews

If a company relies on chance for user reviews, it usually doesn’t receive many. In fact, if a company takes a hands-off approach, it is likely to get more negative reviews than positive ones, since people are by nature more likely to share negative experiences than positive ones. Things you can do to stimulate positive reviews:

  • When you thank customers for an order via email, encourage them to write a review on websites that are important in your SEO strategy. (Be VERY careful how you do this, though; many review sites, including Yelp, have strict rules for solicitation of reviews.)

  • Along with an encouraging word, give customers instructions for writing a review on “Google My Business,” since they may not be familiar with the platform.

  • Create a website form for customers to submit reviews, which can then be displayed on the appropriate product/service/company page.

  • If you have a brick-and-mortar business, keep printed handouts at the front desk or in the lobby — with appropriate instructions, if any — that encourage visitors to write a review.

  • In marketing communication that encourages reviews, ask for an opportunity to address negative experiences privately as a first step.

  • Don’t get involved with fake reviews under any circumstance. They can lead to severe penalties from Google, and seriously harm your reputation.

  • Timing is everything. Be sure your sales and customer service staffs ask for reviews when they have put out a big fire, solved a big problem, or done anything that puts customers in a mood to share positive thoughts.

Looking for an SEO campaign that puts the wheels in motion for user reviews? Please contact us to discuss options!

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