Why Online Reviews Are Important
According to a survey conducted by BrightLocal, roughly 85% of consumers reported reading online reviews.
Another survey conducted by Dimensional Research found that 90% of respondents claimed that positive online reviews influenced their buying decisions
Additionally, according to MOZ’s Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, online reviews are thought to make up 10% of how Google and other search engines rank search results.
Reviews Improve SEO
- Reviews are considered user generated relevant content
- Reviews boost long-tail keyword traffic – text used by reviewers relevant contain longtail keywords that drive traffic and increase rankings
- Reviews boost social conversation by incorporating reviews in your social media as a way to prove the love for your products.
- Google favors highly-rated sites
- Star ratings may increase conversions by 17%
Choose the Best Sites To Acquire Reviews
Techniques SEO Gold will use to determine which review sites are most important to your business:
- Consider which of the major profile websites (Google+, Yelp, Angie’s List, Facebook etc..) are ranking on the first page of Google for your relevant keywords
- Do the Google search, “[Industry] + reviews” and see which sites pop-up on the first page
- Mouse over the leading search results and open up what Google refers to as the “Knowledge Panel” for that business and look at the sites listed under “more reviews.”
- Make a list of sites where your top competitors are receiving these online reviews
Review Site Policies
Some online review platforms keep their reviews exclusive to their site, while other platforms syndicate their reviews to other search engines.
Yelp forbids small businesses from soliciting online reviews, and often greys out legitimate reviews if the business is not actively purchasing advertising from Yelp. The net is over-loaded with complaints from businesses about Yelp for greying out hard earned reviews without a valid reason. Yelp blames it on their algorithm, but will not reinstate the reviews unless advertising is purchased.
Yelp has also come under fire for some shady Yelp practices, like incentivizing businesses to advertise with them in exchange for gaming the search results for their business (“Pay us money and we’ll push bad reviews down!”).
Other platforms, such as Google+, don’t have issues with businesses asking customers for reviews, and they dont grey out legitimate reviews, like Yelp, to force the purchase of advertising.
SEO Gold helps leverage your Online Reviews
- If a customer leaves you a good review, thank them—and let other customers know about it by posting a link to that review on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, as well as on your own website.
- Encourage reviews (except for Yelp) Keep asking for them
- Track and improve your score. It’s not just about gaining new reviews, but also about improving your ratings to increase the conversion rate. A closer communication with customer service would help you understand what customers want from your products, trying to improve it, aiming for better reviews.
- Reward reviews. As you are seeking more reviews, a reward may be useful for your customers, but still, don’t try too much by providing too many rewards.
- Right time – right place. Not every time and place is suitable when asking for reviews, especially when taking into consideration the purchase journey. Make sure you are targeting the right audience (customers) when asking for reviews, rather than a generic audience that may include one-time visitors.
- Use rich snippets.Rich snippets on your product pages may help your reviews show up in search results, provided they include the right information for your products to help Google trace them.
- Reply to reviews. Reviews are still part of your communication with your customers, so even the worst review needs to be answered. Always apologise to a disappointed customer and be ready to help if possible.
- Sign up with the best third party review site. As Google relies on third party review sites to determine a site’s reviews, it may be a good idea to learn more about these sites, working towards building your reputation, leading to better SERPs.
- Facebook ratings. Your review strategy should not ignore reviews on social media, especially on Facebook, where many users flock to learn more about a brand, or a product.
- Monitor Reviews to improve customer experience and make sure to respond to them
- Link to your review profiles from your website.
- Create simple print materials, listing places customers can review you, to be given to the customer at the time of service.
- Train staff with direct contact with customers to request a review from them upon completion of service.
- After completion of service, follow up with an email linking to places a customer can review your business (don’t include Yelp).
- Request reviews during an after-service follow-up phone call.
- Let your customers review your business at their review site of choice.
- Review diversity is good for both customers and search engines.
Online Review Sites
SEO Gold begins with the most influential business rating sites that are appropriate for most any business with a storefront. These sites will also help to boost your local SEO.
Google My Business
Identifying and verifying your business on Google My Business is a great move for boosting local search rankings factors. Once you’re verified, post information about your business, including hours, a link to your website, and a description of what you do. You can respond to reviews, and when customers search for your company (or a business like it) on Google, they simply tap to call or get directions to your location.
Yelp is the most well-known local business review site, but not the most honest, on the Web. Once you add your business listing to Yelp, you’ll receive instructions about claiming your business page. You can’t directly ask customers to review you, but you can use Yelp branding and decals to let customers know you want their feedback.
Better Business Bureau
Customer reviews don’t influence BBB rating or accreditation, but they carry a lot of weight with readers. Start the BBB accreditation process, and once it’s complete, address both complaints and reviews quickly and professionally.
Although Google and Bing dominate search engine market share, Yahoo still accounts for about 13% of all searches. The process to add your business to Yahoo Local Listings is similar to registering for Google My Business.
- Yahoo no longer manages its own business listing claiming & updating
- In order to add or update a business to Yahoo Local you must now do
so via Yext Powerlistings
Facebook Rating & Reviews
Allowing Facebook Ratings & Reviews on your Local Businesses Page means capitalizing on the goodwill of your Facebook followers. Every time a follower likes or shares your page, potential customers will see stars and reviews.
Manta.com is a newer player in the reviews and listings market, but it’s rapidly gaining importance and offers good local search rankings. After you add your business to Manta.com, you can use their paid marketing services, including Manta Ads and Priority Search.
Review Sites for Service Businesses
If your business provides a niche service such as home repair, construction, automotive, legal services, or accounting guidance, you’ll want to add a listing to one or more of these business review websites.
Angie’s List reviews carry an incredibly high trust factor. Also, because customers must subscribe to Angie’s List before viewing listings and leaving reviews, you’re more likely to receive useful and thoughtful feedback. Your business may already appear on Angie’s List, so take the time to claim your Angie’s List business profile. You can also take advantage of their dispute resolution services when customers have complaints.
If you own any kind of home repair business, such as a business offering plumbing, handyman, landscaping, pool installation, or construction and remodeling services, it’s a good idea to add your business listing to HomeAdvisor.com. Customers search for service providers within your zip code. Then, your listing appears along with your ratings and reviews.
Kudzu offers results and ratings for home improvement and landscaping companies, and it’s also great for mechanics, movers, and health care providers. add your business listing to Kudzu for free, and subscribe to Enhanced Profile features to manage reviews, add images of your work, and track potential leads.
If you’re in the legal profession, registering on Avvo.com is a must. Once you add your business listing to Avvo , you can use Avvo’s paid marketing features and publish legal guides. You can also answer potential clients’ legal questions in Avvo’s forum.
Review Sites for Restaurants
Online recommendations from customers increase the number of guests who come in through your doors. They also entice restaurant critics to come and see what all the fuss is about.
If customers are checking into your restaurant on Foursquare, you already have an unofficial listing. add your business listing to Foursquare to manage reviews, offer specials, and access Foursquare’s analytics tools.
Add your business listing to OpenTable not only for reviews and local search improvement but also to generate new income. OpenTable makes it easy for guests to make online reservations for upscale and busy restaurants, but it also comes with rich listing and review features.
Review Sites for Hotels and Inns
If you own a hotel, inn, or bed and breakfast, your business depends on reaching tourists far and wide. Boost your profile by listing your establishment on these sites.
When you type “hotel reviews” into Google’s search query field, TripAdvisor dominates the first page. It’s almost mandatory to list your property on TripAdvisor or claim an existing listing. You’ll get a number of free TripAdvisor marketing tools along with the ability to respond to reviews. You can also sign up for TripConnect Instant Booking, which allows users to book a stay at your property directly from your review page.
When you list your property on BedandBreakfast.com, you can choose a basic listing and membership for $24.99 per month, or you can sign up for Pay-Per-Book, which charges an 8 percent commission on bookings but waives the membership fee. In addition to setting up a review hub for your property, BedandBreakfast.com features your accommodations on popular sites like Expedia and Priceline.