Why Reviews Are Important for Your Business
After conducting an SEO webinar with some businesses a few days ago, the topic of online reviews came up, and the importance of having them so this article is to help them and other business owners out.
At first glance, it might seem a daunting prospect, allowing your customers to post-independent reviews on websites such as Trustpilot or Google My Business amongst others. But I hope reading this you will realise you have very little to lose and massive gains are easily possible.
Online reviews are an essential factor for customers to trust your business, also for yourself to understand what you can do to improve your business from clients constructive feedback, they are also an essential factor for SEO and online marketing as you will stand out with lots of good reviews.
Are Your Customers Dissatisfied?
By having a correctly managed review process, you can catch dissatisfied customers, fix their problems, and steer satisfied customers towards a review website. There will be some unhappy customers that will leave critical reviews, but your job should always be to catch as many of those customers as you can before they become a review.
A simple way to do this is by contacting customers and asking them if they are happy with their purchase.
If a customer replies to your request with a negative response, you can try to solve their issue. If the customer responds positively, suggest they leave a review by providing a link to the relevant website.
Are You Trusted?
Trust is everything in business. Customers like to feel an element of trust when they buy a product or service. Knowing that if they have any complaints, there is a system to post a review can help to gain this trust.
If someone complains in the review section and then you reply offering them further help by contacting you directly, it gives a signal of excellent customer service.
When potential customers see this level of response to complaints, they know that complaints are taken seriously by the seller. This makes them far more likely to purchase from you. When was the last time you made a purchase from a business you did not trust?
Google Loves Reviews
External independent review sites are also significant for search engine optimisation.
In the early days of search engines getting your site ranked was simple, you just added keywords to meta tags which the search engine could read. The public could not read these tags, and this allowed highly competitive webmasters to trick the search engines into directing the wrong people to their sites.
The competition got so common and so large that eventually, other systems had to be used, such as keywords in the visible text of the site and backlinks. All of these have been abused by people trying to get ranked higher in search engines. Every time a policy layer becomes overly abused and less useful, the search engines add another solution. What Google is looking for these days is trust and authority.
Google wants to see that you are an authority in the field your business operates in. By having reviews on highly trusted external review websites, your own power grows. The engine is continually judging your site just as a judge does in a courtroom. For a judge to do their job, they need to see evidence, but a judge will always rank independent evidence highly whilst at the same time treating evidence that is not independent as biased.
The search engine uses the same logic. When highly trusted websites are used to hold reviews on our business, it treats them like expert witnesses in a courtroom giving evidence.
Part of the reason for this is that it is an added layer of fraud protection. All highly trusted review websites need to see some evidence that you own the business that you intend to register on their site in the form of validation. When Google’s search engine can see that your business is listed on these review sites, it knows that some level of evidence has been provided and your business is valid.
Your Listing Will Stand Out
You may have noticed the star rating under a listing in Google’s results. These star ratings are gathered directly from review websites. They are known as rich snippets.
Four stars or more under your link pop and cry out to the potential customer for them to click your link first. Research has also shown that when users click on the results with star ratings, they are far less likely to bounce back to the search engine as quickly.
Google loves low bounce rates as it indicates to the search engine that it has sent someone the right way. This, in turn, means that you quickly climb the page rankings for that search term.
Google calls these star ratings “Seller Ratings” and we can use them on shopping advertisements and regular listings. For Google to show these ratings, you need over 100 reviews within 12 months and an average rating of 3.5 or higher.
You might wonder if it is worth hosting your own review section on your website, one that you have full control over. Google only takes reviews from its own network and around 30 other external review sites. At the bottom of this article, I will provide a list of these preferential websites that Google uses to save you wasting time validating yourself for reviews on sites that may not be of as much help to you in your quest for higher rankings.
Some of these are country-specific; it is worth noting that Google only includes ratings from a specific country if the business is based in that country. For this reason, it is worth investigating that the review sites you wish to accept reviews from your country as a precaution against confusing the search engine.
Once Google holds enough reviews on your website, as long as your links are all valid, you will then be able to check which countries you have ratings from using the following URL.
If your own business has not qualified yet, but you want to see an example of precisely what this would look like you could try checking how well the Amazon website in the United Kingdom is rated.
Most review sites afford you to have some control over spiteful and malicious reviews. Remember, though; it is essential that you only attempt to remove genuinely malicious reviews. Google expects some critical ones, and it calibrates its engine to filter out suspicious or questionable results.
These review sites also often can generate dynamic snippets which you can use to promote your business, such as the ability to generate a recent review to a widget that you can use to give potential customers relevant information. It is always worth remembering modern SEO is making sure we are getting relevant information to the user, and these widgets can help in that quest.
The following is the list of sites I promised earlier in the article.
Hopefully, you will find at least one you like in that list, but for a while now Trustpilot has been the king of the castle in the battle of review sites and does not show any signs of being dethroned soon.