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Google Reviews – A Critical Driver For SEO (Explained)

Online reviews: Good or bad, they are a part of running a business and you’ll never avoid them. In this blog, I want to talk about how to bolster more GOOD reviews, how to deal with the inevitable bad ones, and how to ultimately drive your SEO by concentrating on this critical piece of your marketing plan.

Explained

Google “reads” your site to understand your business. The more content that it has available to read, the more it will know about your business. When you leverage customer reviews on Google, Google has lots of fresh content to read and lots of keywords to add to its understanding of your business. When this content is favorable, Google says “this must be the place” and shows your website in the search results and map results.

Customers will unintentionally describe your products and services to Google, and those reviews add SEO value to your business without the customers even knowing that they’re helping you. Reviews can help fill in the content gaps that may exist on your website, increasing your rankings and overall visibility that way. It’s like having a small army help boost your SEO.

Why Google Reviews Are (Very) Important
  • Google wants to show their users the best experience when people search online, and one metric that heavily weighs in on where you rank is reviews. Simply put, the better you score, the higher you will rank.
  • More than 60% of customers check Google reviews online before they visit a business (Forbes.com).
  • Google reviews also increase visibility on Google maps and other Google platforms.
  • Email reviews are in the top 5 of most significant parameters that determine the rank of a business, according to this study.
  • A business with plenty of reviews and a high rating is likely to rank higher on SERPs. Part of this correlation is because many of these reviews will contain relevant keywords, especially long-tail keywords, that people use to express their opinions.
  • As of 2017, the impact of Google reviews on SEO has increased by over 20% year-over-year, netting out to a 100% increase at the time of this post. Since more and more customers use online reviews to make informed purchase decisions, this percentage is only going to rise.
How To Get More Reviews And Increase Better Reviews

The most important thing to note is don’t be passive. You should always try to get more reviews from happy customers. It’s much harder to get a good review than a bad one, so we need to remind people whenever we can.

Some tactics are:

  • Add a review link in your email signature.
  • Add a link on your website for customers to leave you a nice review.
  • Add a link in your eblasts to gather good reviews.
  • Add a QR code to printed media to gather reviews (like on your restaurant menu),
  • Incentivize reviews with a promotion.
  • Hire a company to do outreach & provide solutions (we do this!).
What To Do About Bad Reviews
  • First off, respond to all reviews, especially unfavorable ones. Try to resolve the conflicts as they come up.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff, if there is no resolution, simply thank them for giving you a try.
  • Recognize your reply is seen by other potential customers, respond with grace and direct positivity.
  • Kill them with kindness: thank them for providing valuable feedback and let them know you care.
  • Don’t feed the trolls. Address the issue and move on.
  • You can flag a review, sometimes they will get removed. This is rare though.
  • Hire a company to buffer bad reviews. Sometimes, as a business owner, you’re too close to the brand to reply in a constructive manner.
  • There is more value in thanking someone for a good review than spending a lot of time on a bad one. 

In the end, you can never please everyone, however you CAN drive great customer relationships and SEO by gathering good reviews. If you don’t have an active review strategy, contact us for an assessment of your marketing plan! We would love to review what you have currently and get you on track 😉

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