We all love a good review. Something that helps us learn and grow, and leaves us feeling all warm and fuzzy at the same time. But did you know that reviews can also be a big help to your online marketing? Specifically with your SEO and getting found online. It’s not talked about as often as other SEO strategies, mainly because it relies, in part, on something you can’t control – your customers. But it’s still an important avenue to explore if you want to boost your rankings, and today we’re going to help you why online reviews benefit SEO.
Do Product Reviews Help SEO?
Sorry, you probably wanted a bit more explanation than that.
Reviews are what Google calls User Generated Content (or UGC), and it’s one of the most valuable sources there is online. Google looks at UGC that mentions your brand anywhere online, from social media to reviews or even footer text, all to build up its picture of you and how valuable your business is to its users. The more UGC you get, the better, and the more likely your website is to be featured on page 1. And since 53% of website visits start with an organic search, this is something a lot of businesses are aiming for. For you, reviews are good because they provide you with top-tier UGC that requires very little maintenance on your end. So not only are they trust signals to your prospects, but they’re a great way to build up your page rankings.
Does Responding To Reviews Help Too?
Time for a pop quiz – did you know there is a function within Google Reviews that allows you to respond to reviews left on your page? It’s not there for show – it’s actually one of the main ways you can improve your SEO ranking on Google. By managing and responding to reviews, even with just a short ‘Thank you’ maximises your visibility and encourages your business to show up in relevant local searches. It also shows Google that you value your customers and their feedback, which is something it likes to reward. Responding to all reviews (even negative ones) also has the hidden benefit of showcasing to prospects that you value feedback of all kinds, and that they will be listened to and handled well should they choose to work with you.
The Product Review Update
The product reviews update is designed to help people find better product reviews through the main Google search engine. This is because Google recognised that users want reviews that go beyond a star rating, and instead give useful information and insight into the way a product or service works. While this update is mainly geared towards product-based businesses (sit up and take note beauty brands!), but it can be useful for all types of business. The algorithm looks for extra information sharing that demonstrates research or expertise, and then prioritises page rankings to businesses whose customers are leaving high-quality reviews.
That’s it in a nutshell. It’s all about helping users find useful reviews.
One thing the update does mean is that Google is looking for reviews that meet some pretty strict criteria. Specifically, a good review in their eyes will:
- Include helpful in-depth details, like the benefits or drawbacks of a certain item, specifics on how a product performs or how the product differs from previous versions.
- Come from people who have actually used the products and show what the product is like physically or how it’s used.
- Include unique information beyond what the manufacturer provides – like visuals, audio or links to other content detailing the reviewer’s experience.
- Cover comparable products or explain what sets a product apart from its competitors.
How To Get Good Reviews From your Customers
So, reviews are good for business and good for SEO. So the next question is, how do I get them? And more to the point, how do I get reviews good enough to tick all of those boxes for Google? It can feel a bit tricky, especially as you can’t control what customers say about you! But there are some things you can do to encourage reviews from your customers, and give them some hints about what to include:
Verify Your Google Business Profile Page.
This will be one of the first things that appear when someone searches your company name on Google, and it will be prominently displayed in a separate sidebar. Once you’ve claimed and verified it, you can make sure all details are up to date and start collecting reviews directly on Google. The page actually prompts users to leave a review if they’ve used you, so this is an easy win.
Simple, yet hardly any businesses do it! Once you have completed a sales cycle with your customers and you know they’re happy, ask them to leave you a review. Create a templated, automated email that goes out at a set time, and make sure it includes a link to where you want them to leave the review (use a URL shortener to create one), and instructions on how to do it, just in case they aren’t sure.
Include your Google Reviews page on your website.
When someone wants to leave a review for your business, they’re either going to look to Google or your website. So why not combine them? Google has various plug-ins that can connect your Google Business Profile page to your website, and display your reviews there. This not only provides a nice, clear space for people to read reviews for you, but gives them a prompt to leave one of their own. If you already have a testimonials page on your website, adding this plug-in is a no brainer.
Give out ‘leave us a review’ cards.
Perhaps one of the most understated pieces of business stationery, a ‘leave us a review’ card can go a long way. All you need to do is design a small card with words to the effect of ‘How was your experience? Your feedback helps us improve the experience for our customers. Just go to [insert your link here] to leave us a review.’ This gives you a low-pressure way to encourage reviews.
Respond to Reviews
A really important part of receiving reviews is making sure that you respond to them (good or bad). This tells anyone reading them that you read your feedback and are actively taking action based on it. Always respond politely, as this information is visible publically. You can turn a bad review into a positive experience by showing that you have taken the concerns raised into account and worked to resolve the situation. Google even has guidelines for responding to reviews.
We’d all like to think that if we give great service or sell great products that the reviews (and all the benefits that come with them) will come flooding in by themselves. But sometimes they need a little extra help. At Lion Spirit Media, we work with businesses just like yours to get their fans raving and roaring about their service online, and boosting your SEO in the process. If you’d like to know more, just get in touch with the team today.