Reviews are an integral part of the marketing process. They are extremely effective when you need to influence people to decide whether or not to transact with your business. But they also have the potential to boost your search rankings significantly. Moz estimates that reviews make up 11% of the criteria according to which Google ranks your website.
Let’s dig a little bit deeper…
1. Google Gets New Content to Crawl
Customers who leave reviews (regardless of whether they’re good or bad) are your best content creators. When crawling your website, Google considers these posts to be new and unique content.
Moreover, the reviews are more likely to contain keywords related to your business, industry, or products/services. This not only provides Google with clearer information about who your website is relevant to or what your business is all about, but also influences the ranking of your website.
Reviews can even fill the content gap that may exist in your website or product description, allowing searchers and search engine crawlers to better understand your product and increase your online visibility.
Reviews can also improve your chances of ranking higher on your target keywords – without needing to spend too much time optimizing your website specifically for those keywords. It also increases click-through-rate (another important SEO factor), because your content will be all the more likely to address the intent of people searching for it.
2. Reviews Help Improve Your Site’s User Experience
Google looks at literally hundreds of factors to figure out whether or not your website is relevant to searchers’ queries. It also uses those signals to know how the user experience was.
Positive reviews have the potential to inform Google that your site, products and business are of high quality – and that your pages do indeed offer the valuable information that searchers are looking for. It also tells Google that your business is trustworthy and legit, and that future potential customers can interact with you without any fear.
You may have noticed that Google results sometimes surface websites with lots of user-generated content (UGC) and reviews, despite having difficult navigation and bad interface towards the top of results. While this doesn’t make the user interface and navigation any less important, it does demonstrate the ranking power of quality reviews. It all comes down to offering great user experience in terms of your product or service, if not a good website.
Put effort into offering great service to your customers and ask them to leave a positive review. You’re likely to see yourself jumping towards the top of the SERPs.
3. Great Reviews Increase CTR from Search
As mentioned above, great reviews influence people into taking action. Reviews are the online form of word-of-mouth marketing. While your competitors focus on enhancing their websites’ navigation, interface, and content, take your business one step ahead by tapping into reviews.
In this Neil Patel review from Young Upstarts, the author explains why this trusted marketing thought leader believes that publishing consistent positive reviews has contributed so much to the success of his digital marketing agency, NP Digital.
Collecting as many reviews as possible for each product and integrating rich snippets on your website will transform your listings in the SERPs. This will not only allow you to display multiple similar products as results to a single search query but it will also display any reviews you have collected beneath your listing. Often, Google will display the average star ratings as a visual rich snippet, too.
This increases the likelihood of people clicking. If a high number of audience members are referred to your website through search results, Google assumes you’re the right one to go to for those queries. As a result, you will see an uplift in your website’s rankings.
4. Responding to Reviews Boosts Your Brand Authority
Responding to both positive and negative reviews can help you build trust with your customers as well as search engines and improve brand authority. It lets customers feel that their opinion is valued.
Even Google recommends responding to reviews. According to this Google My Business Help Page, companies should “Interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business.”
This statement is then followed by “High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.”
Moreover, it gives you a chance to respond and put a positive spin on negative reviews.
Other benefits of responding to reviews from an SEO point of view are:
- An opportunity to add more keywords for Google to crawl
- Regularly interacting with customers could signal you care about your customers, a positive factor about your business
- Can improve your overall review positioning
- Allows Google to understand your business better
5. Reviews Lift Traffic and Time on Page
As mentioned above, reviews influence click-through-rate which means an increase in traffic. Besides, 63% of customers are more likely to purchase from a website that has user reviews.
Since reviews give searchers a better idea of what they can expect from your business, they are more likely to spend more time browsing your site to find more reasons to get converted. This will result in an increase in the average time spent on your website, which in turn, will reduce the bounce rate.
Google considers both of these factors when ranking sites.
Reviews are especially important for local businesses. They can influence up to 10% of the ranking, and more than 50% of consumers will select a local business if it has positive reviews.
SEO is constantly changing, and you must always have a strategy to stay one step ahead of your competitors. No matter if you offer products or services, reviews are very important. They can influence your rankings and online visibility.
Make sure you reply to your customers’ reviews – both positive and negative. Using your target keywords while replying can also help you enhance your website’s rankings.
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