The Top Ways To Get Positive Reviews On Your Local Listings
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When you understand how to use customer reviews to boost SEO, you can get your website ranking higher in search in 2017.
Making Customer Reviews Part of Your SEO Strategy
Search engines like Google only succeed by giving users what they want, and what they want is customer reviews. Overexposure has made in-your-face marketing less effective as customer seek out the reviews from actual customers to make buying decisions. Adding customer reviews to your SEO strategy puts you ahead of competitors because you are feeding the consumers need for user-generated content.
Measuring Google’s search engine ranking factors are one of life’s great mysteries. Experts specializing in analyzing search engine optimization have given us a pretty good idea of what’s important and which factors help your links rank higher. Factors like review signals, content, mobile-friendliness, and social signals have increased in importance in recent years.
Customer reviews contribute to both the review signals and content factors in your SEO strategy. Google favors fresh content that is unique, relevant, and valuable. Customer reviews feed that exact type of content to search engines. When that content is easy to consume on any device and post-worthy on social networks search engines love it even more.
The SEO Benefits of Customer Reviews
There are several ways you can start using customer reviews to boost your SEO in 2017. When you have a plan in place that consistently gathers and promotes positive customer reviews on your website and third party review sites you are positioning your business to outrank competitors in search engine results.
Positive Content for Social Shares
It can be a lot of work finding content to feed your social media networks. No one wants to see your same old ad four times a day, and they sure aren’t going to share it without some kind of incentive. Posting your best customer reviews to your social media profiles accomplishes a few things.
- Five Star Customer reviews stand out in social media and beg to be read.
- Customer reviews give you content that promotes your business without the hard sell.
- Positive customer reviews remind your followers how great your business is.
- A customer review post is a great way for followers to share your business with people they think could benefit from what you sell.
Higher Review Ratings and Volume Promote Website Authority
Website authority is another SEO ranking factor influenced by customer reviews. Google recognized that sites who are able to consistently gather positive reviews are valuable search results links for search engine users. You’ll find that the further down you go in search engine results, the fewer star ratings are visible next to links.
Higher Rankings for Products and Services with Reviews
Consumers using search want to see reviews for products they are searching for. Many will start the research phase of the buying cycle by searching for reviews. Building a positive online presence that includes five-star reviews is another way to beat out competitors in search on both search engines and third-party review sites.
Star Ratings Visible on Search Engine Results Pages
Over 90% of consumers say product and service reviews affect their buying decisions. Proactively building a five-star rating and having that rating show up next to your links in search engine results help customers make the decision of which links to click on. That increased traffic leads to more sales.
This is harder to accomplish since Google updated the local review schema guidelines in August. Now only the reviews produced on your website can have local review markup. The good thing about this change is that there has been a drastic drop in the number of links with star ratings in search results, making businesses that have them stand out more.
CHECKLIST: Using Customer Reviews to Boost SEO in 2017
Running a business is all about managing processes and executing plans. Effective strategies are necessary for success, especially when you begin using customer reviews to boost your SEO. Be sure to make reputation management, including a customer review strategy, part of your marketing plan in 2017. Automate your customer review management with low-cost services such as Reputation Loop to ensure positive reviews are consistently gathered and promoted across the web.
Using Customer Reviews to Boost SEO Checklist
- Have a process in place that proactively gathers and promotes your best customer reviews on your website, third-party review sites, and social media.
- Use rich snippets your product and services pages to get your star ratings to show up in search engine results.
- Create and promote your business’ profile on the third-party review sites important to your industry as search engines pull ratings to feed their results pages.
- Create and promote your business’ pages on social media networks where consumers are increasingly turning for reviews and suggestions on businesses before buying.
- Respond to the best and worst reviews in a way that prospective customers reading reviews know you value the customer and place a priority on making doing business with your company a five-star experience. Negative reviews are trusted more read thoroughly giving you an opportunity to win over customers.
Local listings are a great way to market your company and get the word out about who you are and what you do. However, if you don’t have any positive reviews within those local listings they can do more harm than good. This is because when reviewing all the different businesses within your industry or category, users will always look to the reviews to give them a better idea of the service and quality of product they can expect. And if you don’t have any reviews but your competition’s page is filled with positive reviews, you’re sending customers directly to them instead of to you. In order to get positive reviews for your business, follow these tips and get ready to watch customers line up at your door.
Surveys are great for business. Whether they’re online or in print form, they can provide insight as to what your business is doing well, and areas that need improvement. But in addition to that, surveys can also help you get positive reviews within your local listings. Make sure that you ask customers for their email address somewhere within the survey. Then you can use those to browse through them, find the positive surveys, and ask those customers to leave a positive review for you on the local listing of your choice.
Leave the link to review on sites
Customers are becoming so accustomed to looking at receipts for discounts, deals, and surveys that leaving a link to a review site on them is a great way to get positive reviews. Tell your staff that this link is there, and encourage them to tell customers about it. This will help reinforce the idea that the customer needs to look at the receipt, and may prompt them to leave you a positive review.
Know when to give incentives, and when not to
It can seem like a good idea to give customers an incentive to leave a review, however this is something that could backfire. Often customers get turned off even when they’re offered something for free, thinking that they’re giving you good feedback when they may not have otherwise. Word can quickly spread, and it could end up tarnishing the name of your business. Trust that customers who want to leave a review will, and provide them with the link to do so. The people you can offer incentives to are staff members. Each time they refer a customer to the link on their receipt or direct them to the review site another way, give them a small percentage more on their pay check or another incentive, such as making them Employee of the Month.
Utilizing a tablet makes it easier
If you simply tell your customers about the review site and give them the link, you need to rely on the chance that they might go home and find it on their own on their computer. However, that may not always happen. Instead, have the review site already up and ready right within your business and hand it over to them after you’ve made a sale. They’ll be able to do so without having to do any work or being inconvenienced, and you will see the number of positive reviews on your listing increase.
Watch your social networks closely
You don’t always have to work so hard to find people saying nice things about your business. Check out your social networks and see what people are saying there. Follow up any positive comments with a simple ‘thank you’ and ask them to share their opinions on the review site. Chances are, if they’re that impressed with your company, they won’t mind saying so again.
Know where and when to refer customers
It won’t do you or your customers any good if you give them the link for a review site that doesn’t apply to them. For instance, it’s not so easy to send customers without a Gmail address to Google+, and if they’re not a registered Yelp user but leave a review there, the chances are good that Yelp’s filters will simply send it to the trash bin. Knowing which review site is best for certain customers will make it even easier for them, and will increase your chances of receiving a positive review.
Use your database
The chances are good that you’re already using your database for different marketing campaigns, so why not use them to get reviews as well? Set it up just like you would any other campaign, telling customers that you’re now on Yelp, Google+, the Yellow Pages, or any other business directory, and invite them to join in the conversation and leave a review. Remember to leave the link to the review site within the email to make it even easier for them.
Respond to existing reviews
People like to know that they’re not just sending something into cyberspace so it can get lost somewhere along the way. Respond to the reviews that are currently on any review site, good or bad. Thank those that have left good reviews, and try to help those that have left negative reviews. Even if it’s just to say you’re going to contact them, people like to know that if they’re taking the time to get involved, you are too.
Ask for them
Business owners sometimes believe that asking for a review will look desperate, or will turn their customers off. It won’t. How else are customers supposed to know that you’re even on a review site, or that you’d like them to leave a review for your company unless you say something? Right after you make a sale, any sale, ask the customer to leave a review for you in any one of your local directories. Again, make it easy by providing them with the link. Sometimes, you have to ask in order to receive.
If a customer purchases something from you, they’re likely not going to give you a review if you ask for it three weeks later. Instead, ask right at the time of sale, and you’ll be much more likely to get the results you’re looking for.
As you can read above, reputation marketing has become a necessity if you are to succeed on Google. It is critical if you wish to increase your conversion rates.
Our Reputation Marketing Platform has been built from years of experience helping our clients to build a 5 Star Reputation.
As a way to help each one of you build your reputation in 2017, we are offering our platform with a new feature we just added, SMS Review Messaging, for a special one-time price. We are waiving the $199 setup fee and offering the complete Reputation Marketing Platform (RPM) with Text Messaging for $97 per month- a savings of $40.00 per month! This is a limited time offer.
This is a great opportunity to start 2017 on the right path to building a 5-Star Reputation.
If you are ready to move ahead of your competitors, obtain those glowing reviews, get higher click through rates on Google search, and higher conversions (= more revenue), contact us today. We will train you on review marketing best practices and get you setup in a few days.
Ready to get started? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 855-943-8736. One of our Reputation Marketing Specialist will get you up and running.
Edward Kundahl, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Ed can be reached at (or visit his websites)