SEO ranking factors: online reviews boost Google search visibility


From GOOP Digital in New York

Get reviews! Get reviews! Get reviews!

In case you didn’t get the message: Get reviews!

GOOP Digital has been, as our managing director Karl Morris would say, shouting from the rooftops about the importance of reviews for businesses wanting to build online credibility and prominence.

And yet, despite all our imploration and encouragement over the journey, we know for a fact the majority of our clients do not pursue online reviews for their businesses and the services they offer.

Sometimes we wonder whether clients’ reluctance to encourage customer reviews is because they doubt what we are telling them. We hope not but if that is the case, maybe they will believe UK digital marketing guru Rob Kerry, who addressed the the SMX East online marketing expo in New York this week, speaking on the topic Harnessing the Power of Online Reviews.

What did Rob Kerry tell us? He told us Google loves reviewers posting on Google, and Facebook reviews are also big when it comes to online prominence.

As well, reviews on websites are invaluable for boosting visibility in searches because Google will index website reviews, as long as website review pages are properly structured. Rest easy those GOOP Digital clients who do encourage reviews – we build all our websites to exacting standards that deliver results in Google searches.

Attracting positive reviews

One reason clients tell us they don’t chase reviews is they’re worried customers – and trolls for that matter – can leave negative feedback.

Yes, a negative review can sting, but there are ways to handle bad reviews and Rob Kerry had plenty of advice on dealing with client feedback, both good and bad. But before we get to dealing with reviews, let’s look at how to attract feedback.

Perhaps the simplest way to gather reviews is to send an email to customers the day after providing a product or service, and in the email include a link to Google My Business, Facebook, TripAdvisor, your website – wherever you want the review to appear – and request your customers review your service. There’s one proviso, of course. You need to make sure you’ve delivered good service and the customer is happy, otherwise the feedback you’re asking for won’t be the glowing recommendation you seek. The moral here is to always do a good job.

If, by chance, the customer’s experience wasn’t a good one then act quickly to find a solution before they go online to review your work. Offer a refund or exchange if you have to but don’t get into a slanging match and make a bad situation worse.

The Three R Strategy

Rob Kerry urged business owners to have a plan to deal with bad reviews, genuine or fake. Rather than ignore reviews or anguish over them, take action and implement the three R strategy – Respond, Review and ask the reviewer to Redact the review.

Sometimes it’ll be impossible to sway a negative reviewer and in those cases move on and work on encouraging more positive reviews. It’s impossible to sustain a 5-star rating but a pile of 4-plus reviews will outweigh a couple of 1-star rankings.

DIY Review Management

Here’s Rob Kerry’s plan for dealing with reviews:

2017 SEO ranking factors - online reviews

The benefits of implementing such a strategy include:

  • Intercepting unhappy customers before they vent online
  • A chance to convert a 3-star ranking into a 5-star happy customer
  • Increasing your number of positive reviews and your aggregate ranking
  • Creating a buffer against future bad reviews
  • Ongoing focus on delivering quality services and products
  • Greater customer loyalty.

Importantly, businesses should never take their five-star ranking reviews for granted and should monitor reviews daily and have a business plan to address and rectify bad reviews.

And if you do have a mountain of negative reviews, lift your game, earn and ask for positive reviews and eventually your positive reviews will push the negative off the search engine results page.

If you’re finding your business listing has a stack of genuine negative reviews you may have a business problem – not a reviews problem. Please contact GOOP Digital to find out more about how reviews are an important part of your business SEO and online marketing strategy.