Online reviews are written sentiments by a customer on any website or platform that supports this type of content. The most recognizable examples are Yelp, Google, Facebook, but there are numerous other options that may be general or specific to an industry or geography. Online reviews represent a conversation on the web that customers have between themselves regarding your business.
As businesses, you must not underestimate the importance that online reviews have towards your company. Take these statistics from Search Engine Land, BrightLocal, and Search Engine Watch regarding why online reviews are important to a brand’s strategy.
90% of consumers read reviews before even visiting a business
31% of customers are likely to spend 31% more on a business with excellent reviews
72% of consumers will take action only after reading a positive review
The top three local search results on google average 472% more reviews than those in fourth, fifth, or sixth position
80% of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
What does this mean for your business?
In terms of SEO, review signals account for an estimate of 9.8% of the total ranking factors, which means it definitely cannot be ignored. Let’s explore how reviews can affect and actually help with your SEO rankings.
Google is paying increased attention to numeric ratings as indicators of relevance. High ratings will tend to start correlating more frequently with high local rankings. It’s important for local businesses to view ratings as a serious growth factor, as good and bad reviews have a significant impact for your business.
1. Creates fresh user-generated content – Google loves fresh new content and user-generated content boosts your influence for potential customers.
2. Boosts social conversation – More people talking about your business can only increase your social reach for more potential customers. When people see other people talking, it increases the chances of more feedback.
3. Google favors highly rated sites – Positive reviews can boost your website’s authority, meaning people are going to your site to find what they need. This can also lead to star ratings, which in turn, can help increase traffic. Earning stars is not easy to achieve because you need at least 30 unique reviews in a year with an average of 3.5 or higher. The reward is great because, well, people trust business with a high star rating.
4.Boosts long-tail keywords – The words people use when leaving a review also come up during SEO rankings. If they are using long-tail keywords that you’re ranking for, it will boost your traffic for those keywords because your target audience are using those keywords to search you.
Be wary; negative reviews can have the same impact but with a negative change. This does not mean that you have no control and are at the mercy of your customers; this means that you have to be more careful when approaching the matter.
Online Reputation Management
Whether you’re more in line with corporate reputation management or small business reputation management, the strategies are relatively the same but with small adjustments. Here are a couple of ways you can approach your own reputation management but if it’s something you can trust an online reputation management agency can do – by all means. Sometimes, hiring an online reputation management agency to use their expert online reputation management services can be the most beneficial. Having the best reputation management companies at your side can free up more time for you to focus on your business.
Let’s take a look at what a reputation management agency or reputation management consultants can do for your business to thrive.
Build a strategy – An online brand reputation management agency should not leave anything to chance and must strategize every move your business takes for reviews.
Encourage online reviews – The best online reputation management companies know that it’s great to encourage reviews through the site, email campaigns, or social media, but it needs to be strategic correctly. Having too many reviews at once can look odd during a site audit. Also, not enough reviews can make your business seem out of business.
Track your score – Tracking your score provides a closer communication with your customers to understand what they want from your business. In turn, it can help improve your rating in the long run.
Timing – An online reputation management agency should know that not every review is the same. When asking for reviews, the reputation management agency should target the right audience. Also, to reiterate, fresh new reviews are best, rather than old reviews. 73% of consumers believe that reviews older than 3 months no longer pertain to them.
Engagement with reviews – Actually answering reviews is part of the communication with your customers to show them you’re actually listening to them. Embrace bad reviews – ignoring them would be the worst idea. These may be the most read by users and the way you answer them can truly dictate how your business is viewed by potential customers.
Being Honest Goes A Long Way
There is nothing less demeaning than being lied to or being ignored completely. An ethical online reputation management agency should always be honest when managing reviews for a business and should never fake any reviews. Fake reviews can be penalized by Google and your business can suffer immensely from such an act.
Being complaint-friendly and not rejecting feedback can make your business seem more customer-friendly and approachable. After all, feedback is set to help improve a business in the long run.
Do your research when thinking about hiring an online reputation management agency to help you, and if you’re thinking about doing it yourself, your own business reputation management should be strategic, honest, and communicative with your customers.
Reviews are not going anywhere any time soon. In fact, the use of reviews to make a purchase is only just beginning because people trust other people, rather than businesses, when choosing to buy a product. Online brand reputation management is vital to a huge corporation or a small business; online reputation management services is something we highly advise a business considers to take your company to the next level.