Clients’ honest feedback can be underestimated in the world of high-quality content, complicated marketing strategies, and sales funnels. Yet, they can be an efficient addition to an existing strategy.
Let’s take a look at the numbers.
Working on high-quality, consistent reviews can improve your overall marketing efforts and lead to better sales.
This article investigates how this is possible and how brands can use the power of reviews to their advantage.
For Google, word-of-mouth marketing is a source of trustworthy information.
Companies actively encourage customer feedback, as high-star reviews attract the attention of search engines.
Think of Google as a customer: most users check the reviews before purchasing a product or visiting a place. Google considers the quality and quantity of reviews to evaluate the search position.
As Google reviews and Google Maps are connected, getting consistent and positive feedback makes a business more noticeable to search engines and increases its chances of getting into Google listings.
Google reviews are also great for local SEO, as they increase the chance of appearing in the Google Local Pack. This is a listing of local brands that offer a product or service the user is searching for.
Being a part of such a listing as one of the first suggestions may drastically improve sales, especially for local business owners.
So how to get there?
High-quality reviews are one of the possible answers. According to a recent study, local product ratings are considered one of the most important factors influencing the pack.
Furthermore, there’s now a “At a Glance Snippet”
At a glance snippet is something Google produces automatically to showcase what a company is about.
If you right-click the three dots on the snippet, Google states that “This is content from searches for wello2.com to help you learn more about their background and see how other sites describe them”.
As you can see, there’s the “in their own words” part, but all other results in this snippet are long-form reviews and product reviews posted on other domains.
Talk about social proof…
This snippet can potentially play a significant role in your brand’s and site’s reputation.
Reviews have an actual impact on SEO. Google trusts customers, which is why the information obtained from them has value for search engines.
When testimonials are available, customers find it easier to interact with the website and connect with the product.
Your rank may decrease if you do not feed search engines with constant reviews.
Long tail keywords are keywords that include 3 or more words. Users usually prefer typing in a narrow, more accurate query.
For instance, a visitor looking for a place to eat is more likely to google ‘thai restaurant downtown’ instead of just ‘restaurants’.
Sure, the longtail keywords may bring less traffic, but specific keywords win when it comes to conversion rates. They set up communication between the potential customer and the business, helping them find each other.
Having reviews on the page will help to target more keywords increasing the chances of a perfect match. If your business provides a service or a product that the user is searching for, reviews will help to bring the user closer to the page.
That’s why you should add Google reviews to your website.
There are several reasons why users’ feedback can drive more organic traffic and attract potential customers.
The first reason is the density of the webpage content. Reviews add more text, which is why your page can be considered by Google when users type in their queries. The search engine may consider the content customers write as reliable, accurate information and show it among the first searches, bringing you potential customers.
Second, reviews are a way to diversify your content on the webpage, which may decrease the bounce rate. If visitors find the overall page content valuable, Google will notice it, as search engine optimization aims to offer users the best possible experience.
The bounce rate shows how many users drop out of the website without exploring it further.
The bounce rate does not directly affect SEO. However, it can have an indirect impact — if the bounce rate is high, it may indicate an issue related to the SEO ranking. For instance, examine how long the webpage takes to load, design and content quality, call-to-action, and whether the webpage is mobile-friendly.
Even though decreasing the bounce rate is a process that requires an analysis of the website and the users, the correct positioning of reviews can also help.
The reviews should be located at the top of the page. This way, interested customers do not need to scroll long to get the information they need. Thoroughly added rating elements with creative positioning will most likely decrease the bounce rate.
It does not have to be a direct review from a customer — you can add stars, general numbers of satisfied clients, and other metrics that can be helpful to users. You can even put a rating on every product or make a list of top products that can earn the user’s trust right away.
Get in the head of the customer for a minute.
You’ve carefully led the customer through the sales funnel up to the purchase. Everything is set up, and they find the value of the product and need it. Yet, they have never tried the brand’s product before.
What would be their last step in the decision-making process? Yes, most likely, the reviews would be the last hit.
Let’s look at another example. You’re stuck deciding between two fairly good products. They are practically identical, with just a few differences. One product has over 20 honest feedback with pictures, and the other one has two poorly-written reviews. Even on a subconscious level, buying the first product seems safer.
It would be sad to spend all that effort on building great SEO and spend money on marketing campaigns without considering the risks at the final stage. Quality is nearly a synonym for a set of good reviews — you should consider this when prioritizing the page content.
Considering people’s nature, word-of-mouth marketing remains a powerful tool in promotion.
People trust recommendations from friends, colleagues, family, and even other people. Showing reviews on social media can increase the audience’s trust in the product. Customer reviews can change the game, but there is a twist. Discover how they can boost your SEO efforts, drive organic traffic, and increase conversion rates.
The more opportunities you give users and encourage them to share honest feedback, the quicker you’ll have enough reviews to help you with SEO.
Once you have the reviews on those sites, the next step is to add them to your own website.
Star review ratings will make it easier for visitors to analyze the overall quality of the product and see whether they should spend time reading what customers have to share and investigating the product further.
This means businesses always have to work on the quality of the product first. Yet, content-wise, adding ratings is great for SEO. These ratings can be for a certain product you provide or next to the client’s testimonials.
Positive star reviews increase the chances of visitors clicking on your link and paying attention to your product, which will most likely increase your brand’s conversion rate.
Besides, they can also be shown on rich snippets, which can improve click-through-rate (CTR).
If a star rating is included, it gives an advantage over web pages that do not have such snippets. Here, you can see the average rating of the hotel from a single google request.
When you use Trustmary’s review widget on your website, you can easily activate the rich snippets data and signal to Google that it should show your star rating on the SERP.
This is one of the easiest ways to boost your search engine rankings.
This easy SEO strategy pplies both to local businesses as well as to bigger brands, as you can see above.
To get more reviews, companies should know when to ask for them.
The first rule: emotional feedback is the best one. The best idea is to ask for customers’ opinions when an impression is fresh — especially if the service was provided well or if a customer enjoyed the experience.
There’s a big difference in the response rate and quality of the review, if a restaurant asks for a review right after the meal or after two weeks.
Besides, you can get a much better response rate if businesses ask customers to rate the product right after the purchase before forgetting what they bought and how they felt.
The second rule: if you are selling a service (like an app subscription), you should wait for the user to get familiar with the app and notice all the benefits. Ask to rate the app once customers have used the service quite a few times and give them the option to do it later.
Encouraging your customers to share honest feedback is always a good idea, but only when done properly. You should avoid review gating or fake engagement when incentivizing your customers to leave a review.
Review gating is when only satisfied customers more likely to leave a good review are encouraged to share their opinion. Having all good reviews is not always a good thing — it contradicts the entire idea of honest feedback.
That is why businesses should ask everyone, despite their level of satisfaction, to rate the service or a product.
You’ll see the fake engagement section if you open the Maps User Contributed Content Policy and go to the Google prohibited content page.
It includes paying for reviews, not posting negative ones, posting false information, and when the feedback is encouraged by a benefit or discount. Not following these directions can lead to an account’s blocking and reputation loss.
Remember that users who take reviews seriously can always find out whether it is fake with the help of services such as Fakespot.com and reviewMeta.com.
These rules apply to review sites, but you can still choose which reviews you want to use on your business website.
Responding to every positive and negative review is an essential part of strengthening the brand image and improving its reputation. It creates a caring image and encourages new visitors to share their experiences, as they feel like they are being heard.
Perfection does not make a company good — transparency and the desire to solve conflicts do.
Businesses need to ensure that users can find reviews directly on the site, not only through third-party platforms.
This way, users who bought the product from there can leave feedback. For instance, Airbnb displays reviews on the page with all the apartment information and actively encourages people to rate the apartment after the visit.
You can also use services with customizable widgets like Trustmary to display reviews that correspond to your site’s vision and goals.
Here are the most valuable insights you can get while deciding on doing reviews a part of the SEO strategy:
Besides the obvious reasons companies should continuously encourage customer reviews, they can also strengthen brand image.
However, it depends on how you approach them. You should not exclude any groups from the feedback process, nor should you encourage any fake review, be it positive or negative.
This way, the connection with your customers will become even stronger, and Google will know your website can be trusted.
It also helps to: collect honest feedback, make ratings visible to all users on the website, add star reviews to the product listings, and make sure you appear on third-party platforms.
The article was written in collaboration with SE Ranking.