How customer reviews can help your SEO

Customer reviews are digital versions of word-of-mouth marketing. A review is written feedback of a customer’s experience with a product they’ve bought, or a service they’ve used from your business.

[Yagi Studio]/[Japan]/Getty Images

[Yagi Studio]/[Japan]/Getty Images

People trust their peers, especially when it comes to making purchasing decisions. Reviews can form a significant part of your marketing strategy for one simple reason: they drive buying decisions. They are easy and cost-effective ways to build trust and help your business stand out online.

Let’s look at why reviews matter for SEO, how to get more positive feedback, and best practices for replying to reviews – good or bad.

Social proof

When a friend or family member buys a quality product or receives excellent service, they’re likely to tell you about it. These days, there’s a better chance they’ll tell you about it online. As a business owner in today’s competitive business landscape, this type of free advertising is priceless:

  • 79% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  • Only 48% of customers would consider using a business with less than four stars.
  • 62% of consumers are more likely to buy a product after seeing customer
    photos or videos.

When it comes to using review platforms, there are plenty to choose from. Google My Business, Facebook and Hellopeter are popular for reading reviews, sharing experiences, and finding other great businesses. Customers can also use industry-specific review sites to find or post reviews, such as TripAdvisor, or Yelp.

Google loves customer reviews

When it comes to where your business ranks online, did you know that reviews are the second most important ranking factor? Search engines, like Google, use customer reviews to rank your website. The more recent and positive reviews you have, the more Google sees your site as authoritative and trustworthy, and the higher it ranks. Customers are also likely to spend 31% more with a business that has positive reviews.

The value of micro-moments

Here’s another reason why reviews are so important for SEO. Imagine you’re thinking about purchasing a new office chair. You pull out your smartphone and type a few words into the search engine. Within seconds, you’re scanning a list of high-rated businesses offering exactly what you’re looking for. Amazing!

This instant expectation is known as a micro-moment – an intent-rich moment where buying decisions happen every day.

How to get more positive reviews

Let’s get into specifics. Authentic website content is attractive to search engines, but so are fresh customer reviews. And since Google trusts customers more than your website, it’s important to create a system that regularly pulls them in.

These reviews could display on your homepage, sales page, or contact page. You could also include them underneath blog posts or in your website sidebar.

So how do you pull in reviews? There are plenty of creative ways to ask customers for a review. How you go about doing it depends on your brand. Here are a few ideas:

Seven ways to ask for customer reviews

  1. Ask customers for a review when they’re in a state of satisfaction. For example, as soon as they’ve received their product or service from you.
  2. Include a small thank you card inside parcels that includes a link for leaving reviews.
  3. Create a social media post encouraging customers to share their experience.
  4. Train your team to always ask for feedback.
  5. Use email marketing campaigns to strategically request reviews.
  6. Add review links to order confirmation emails.
  7. Include a review request in your email signature.

Good to know: 73% of customers only focus on reviews written in the last 30 days.

If you’re looking for a branded review landing page, you could try using a review management system, like MyReviewDashboard.

Best practices for responding to reviews

Why is responding to reviews so important? Replying to reviews – good or bad – builds trust and shows customers you care, which encourages them to engage with your business.

How to respond to positive reviews

It’s not necessary to reply to every positive review, but a “thank you” here and there goes a long way to growing awareness and creating engagement. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when responding:

  • Thank the reviewer.
  • Respond quickly.
  • Keep it short, but impactful.
  • Be authentic and personable.
  • Add a call to action (for example, ask them to follow your social media page).

How to respond to bad reviews

Negative reviews are often overlooked opportunities to turn a bad experience into a positive one. This can help you retain customers and even attract new ones. Here are a few tips for responding correctly:

  • Try to reply within one to two days.
  • Be honest and acknowledge the situation.
  • Apologise for their experience.
  • Take accountability (only if your business was at fault).
  • Be professional and respectful.
  • Offer to talk it over offline and provide a proactive next step.

Create a review response guide

A go-to guide on how and when to reply to reviews is important for simplicity and consistency. This way, your team will know how to spot issues, what to communicate, who will address complaints, and how quickly they’re prioritised.

Keep in mind: 70% of consumers are put off by templated responses, so keep replies as unique and genuine as possible.

By creating a system that regularly pulls in and manages customer reviews, you’ll give your business an edge over the competition, boost your SEO, and build trust. If ever there was a time to start growing your reviews, it’s now!