SAN DIEGO – Search engines have taken over all internet activity in the present age, as users tend to look towards them for everything. Whether you have gone online to search for the meaning of a word or to buy a computer, chances are you will first type your query on a search engine.
In such a scenario, it is evident that search engine optimization (SEO) is related to all digital marketing strategies, more so when you are trying to sell a product or service.
If you are a seller, your business will depend greatly on customer satisfaction, and so will your SEO. If you think customer feedback and ratings are irrelevant to your search engine performance, you are sorely mistaken.
Many users start their pursuit of a product on the search engine. For them to find your product page, you have to employ a strong SEO strategy. There are several experts who provide SEO services in such cases.
A smart SEO strategy involves focusing on content, keyword density, inbound and outbound links, and visual representation. But what many marketers may not be aware of is that your user ratings and reviews form great content that can be leveraged to improve your SEO. Let’s see how.
Importance of Customer Ratings & Reviews
Many studies have found that customer reviews impact SEO greatly as more than 60% of prospective buyers check customer feedback before buying a product. To ensure your review section is benefitting your website, you need to structure it correctly.
Displaying reviews and ratings on a webpage ensures the crawlers understand that customers have taken out time to leave feedback about your product. Positive reviews impact your business, and negative reviews pave a pathway to improve service and show how great your customer support can be.
The exact ways in which reviews impact SEO vary from business to business, but there are several similarities that can be observed and utilized for your website’s benefit.
Now, let’s check how your online reviews can boost SEO and increase the credibility of your company.
How Online Ratings and Reviews Affect SEO
There are several aspects of SEO that are impacted by reviews and ratings. From bounce rates to conversions, you can create a difference in all fields.
1. Improve website ranking and click-through
Website rankings are greatly influenced by content. The fresher and more relevant your content is, the higher you are likely to be featured in search results. On top of that, if you have a regular supply of customer feedback, your search engine rankings are bound to improve.
The same goes for click-through rates. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing created Schema.org in 2011 to set a standard for content structure on websites. If you follow Schema standards, it becomes easier for crawlers to read your information and use it to enhance results.
Star ratings are featured along with your product on the webpage, thereby increasing user interest and trustworthiness of your website. These featured snippets are highly effective in improving click-through rates.
2. Find new keywords in customer feedback
Customer feedback can be treated as content sources to look for more relevant keywords. Often, in reviews, you will find that customers talk about their pain points and what aspects of the product can help address them. Once you catch hold of those keywords, a whole new avenue of rich content opens up.
Irrespective of whether the review is good or bad, Google crawls it and recognizes keywords related to your service, product, or location. The presence of these new keywords in reviews helps to improve your SERPs and give an edge to your business.
3. Build confidence in your brand
Prospective buyers check for reviews before making a purchasing decision because they want to be assured that other users have opted for the brand and found it effective. Be it apparel or electronics, if you cannot find any reviews about a product, you are less likely to buy it.
Positive reviews and ratings build trust and confidence in your brand, and slowly increase your customer base. Thus, it is always a good idea to urge buyers to leave feedback on your website.
4. Show Google you are trustworthy
A good review is as important as a high-quality link, when it comes to gaining Google’s trust. Positive reviews signal to the search engine that your products are of good quality, and it is more likely to assign greater value to your product page in that case.
If you search for a particular product, you will find that Google mostly displays products with the highest ratings on top. So, if you focus on customer satisfaction, it will come back to you in the form of higher search rankings on Google. And you very well know how a high Google rank can boost your business.
5. Decrease bounce rates
High bounce rates can turn out to be deadly for your SEO strategies. To prevent your bounce rates from going up, you must ensure that customers are not tempted to leave your website without exploring further.
Reviews and ratings increase the chances of your visitors sticking around, as they are getting more information about the product and the brand. Make sure you have enough material to hold the attention of your customer and urge them towards a conversion.
6. Explore local SEO
Although online reviews impact global SEO, they are more significant for local rankings. Several users visit websites after coming across local recommendations. People wish to know that others who have similar tastes and requirements have had a positive experience with the product.
For local businesses, ratings and reviews indicate quality and provide an upper hand over competitors. If more people visit your website after reading positive reviews, your website visibility will also increase.
7. Increase customer interaction through replies
Ensuring customers leave reviews on your website is only one end of the deal. The other end requires an affirmative reply to the reviews. Even if the reviews are not so positive, make sure you reply and establish a communication channel with the customer.
This will increase website interaction, which is a key factor in improving SEO. If your website is interactive, Google will assign a higher value to your product pages.
How to Deal with Negative Reviews
All business owners wish for positive reviews and high ratings. However, if you’re running an online business, getting a few negative reviews is inevitable. But how do you deal with them without hampering your company’s reputation?
- Respond to all reviews, no matter how negative they are.
- Your response should be positive and humble, with a focus on the areas of dissatisfaction for your customer.
- Aim to know what caused the negative review, rather than defend your product and get into an argument.
- Accept responsibility and offer a constructive solution.
- Be prompt and persistent in addressing customer queries.
- Follow up on your reply if you haven’t heard back from the customer.
- If the problem cannot be solved as per wish, offer an alternative benefit, like a discount or coupons.
- Keep your tone friendly and empathetic while writing to customers.
Online reviews can make or break a business. Although you do not have control over the review content, you can use them as weapons to propel your company forward. Understanding the power of reviews helps SEO experts utilize them effectively to improve the brand image and form a healthy relationship with customers.
Sheryl is the Sr. Marketing Specialist at Uplers who has a great experience in designing well-defined user journeys across the digital marketing domain. She leverages her digital marketing expertise to help businesses draw significant ROIs.