by Donna Amos | Featured Contributor
As a business owner, you must know how important customer reviews are to your company. In fact, by the time an internet user has begun scanning reviews, their purchasing decision has already been made. They are simply selecting which business will best fulfill their needs or wants. That gap between deciding to buy and choosing from whom to buy is relatively small, so a customer review is often the single item that makes the sale – or loses it.
For those who ask, “How many consumers actually read online reviews?” check out the following statistics:
- 85% of consumers read online reviews
- Approximately 67% of consumers will read 6 reviews or less before forming an opinion
- 90% of respondents in another survey said positive online reviews influences their buying decisions
- 86% of respondents in the same survey said negative reviews impact their buying decisions
While it’s a no-brainer that positive customer reviews help potential customers make purchasing decisions, you may be surprised to learn that those same reviews can positively affect your search rankings. According to Moz’s 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, online reviews are believed to contribute as much as 13% to the local pack ranking and 7% to localized organic rankings.
“Local search engines love online reviews for one primary reason, consumers love online reviews.” Bottom line – search engines exist to provide internet users the best information possible to help them make decisions. User-generated reviews are the most accurate and relevant information they could provide.
Here are 5 ways positive customer reviews can help your website’s SEO:
Customer Reviews Attract More Organic Search Traffic
Every good customer review provides natural long-tail keywords in the consumer’s own language that creates content. Customer reviews frequently use the same words and phrases internet users employ when conducting online searches for products or services. For example, if a product page gathers lots of reviews saying, “high quality boots,” or “best prices,” search engines will index these long-tail keywords for when other consumers perform searches for similar products. Over time, the search engines begin associating your website with those search terms and phrases, thereby attracting more long-tail search traffic.
Star Ratings in Search Results Get More Clicks
Everyone looks for proof of quality, and a high starred rating is an immediate indicator of customer satisfaction. Multiple star ratings beside your website listing in search results attract more attention to your listing and can help pull a much higher click-through rate. Such starred ratings are real-world proof of satisfied customers. Bottom line – building a five-star rating to show up next to your links in search engine results helps customers make purchasing decisions.
Customer Reviews Lead to Improved Product Page Rankings
E-commerce websites with hundreds or even thousands of products depend on reviews to help their product pages rank higher in search engine results pages. You should be sure to allow reviews for every product to provide more opportunities for customers to leave reviews. Consumers will often begin their search phase by searching for positive reviews. Building a positive online presence that includes starred reviews on multiple product pages is a great way to beat out competitors.
Using User-Generated Content for Social Sharing
While your website copy can be expected to paint your products and/or services in a positive light, user generated content that gives a positive review is unbiased content. These real-world opinions present your business in a raw and revealing manner. Capitalize on these reviews by using them as fodder for your social media marketing campaigns. Posting your best customer reviews to your social media profiles make them stand out. Personal accounts and reviews literally beg to be read. They present a hard selling component to your marketing that doesn’t come from you. These posts will also contain the afore-mentioned long-tail keywords with links back to your site, which enhances your website’s SEO.
High Customer Review Ratings and Volume Give Your Website Authority
Another important SEO ranking factor influenced by customer reviews is website authority. Google and other search engines recognize that websites which consistently garner positive reviews are valuable search results links for internet searchers. Such high-ranking websites are the leading companies in their industry, and such sites carry weight, or authority. When consumers seek products or services in various industries, those with the most positive reviews will show up at the top of search listings.
How Can I Begin Boosting My Website’s Positive Customer Reviews?
Here are some tips for how to begin:
- Develop a process that gathers and promotes your best customer reviews on your website, third-party review sites, and social media.
- Create and promote your company’s profile on third-party review sites important to your industry. Search engines pull these ratings to feed their results pages.
- Create and promote your company’s pages on social media networks where consumers turn for reviews and suggestions before buying.
- Respond to the best and worst reviews in a way that demonstrates the value you place on customer satisfaction.
How do you currently leverage customer reviews to boost your website’s SEO? We’d love for you to share your ideas and practices with us in the comments below. Thanks for sharing!
Donna Amos is passionate about helping Solopreneurs grow their business using everything digital and publishing. She has 30 years experience in sales and marketing for small business. She believes the best gift you can give another is a word of encouragement.