It’s all too common that business owner’s neglect online reviews. There may be the concern of where to spend the time and resources or the impression that that they may not get positive reviews. Most website owners choose instead to focus on the more well known on-site optimization factors are that are controlled within the design and content of your own site. However it should be emphasized that Google’s algorithms consider a number of external factors in ranking a site – one of them being customer reviews. As reviews are written by customers rather than the site owner, they are harder to manage, leading business owners to make the mistake of either undervaluing reviews and therefore missing out on their SEO potential or taking misguided steps to manipulate customer reviews using methods that can backfire and result in their sites being penalized. In truth, overwhelming evidence and research makes it clear that reviews have a significant impact on consumers and can influence Google rankings. Online review management should be part of your digital strategy, especially for local businesses where its critical to maximize the listing in the local pack. Lets take a look at some just how powerful reviews are and go over a few of the best practices to follow in managing online reviews.
“94% say an online review has convinced them to avoid a business.”
In addition to reviews being one of the ranking factors considered by Google’s algorithms, all available evidence suggests that reviews are hugely influential on customer behavior. Surveys conducted over the past five years show that reviews are the top influence on customer buying. 97% of customers read the reviews for a product before making a purchase, and this does not apply only to online purchases: 45% of sales at physical stores are prompted by the customer reading an online review. 90% of survey respondents reported having their purchasing decisions influenced by positive reviews, and 86% were influenced by negative reviews. With regard to the magnitude of the effect a rating can have, a one-star increase in a business’s Yelp rating can result in 5 to 9% increase in revenue.
In order to maximize the SEO benefits you gain from reviews, there are three general recommended practices to follow: ask for reviews, monitor reviews, and respond to reviews.
Reviews may very well be one of the most under utilized areas for driving new business and influencing customer behavior. There is great opportunity to drive new reviews and help create a positive online reputation. It is well worth your time to develop a review strategy, which should be a component of any successful local SEO strategy. Ignoring reviews and leaving this chance is a significant missed opportunity.
If you want help in developing a reviews strategy a give Fruition a call. We provide guidance and strategies to improve your online reviews, help you to educate your customers how to leave reviews, ensure that you are monitoring and optimizing your listings on the major platforms, and help you to share the story of how your business is providing excellent customer service.
“Key local stats every marketer needs to know” by Greg Sterling. Search Engine Land. May 6, 2019. https://searchengineland.com/key-local-stats-every-marketer-needs-to-know-316399
“20 online review stats to know in 2019” by Diana Kaemingk. Qualtrics. April 9, 2019. https://www.qualtrics.com/blog/online-review-stats/
“Managing Online Reviews: 9 Do’s and Don’ts for 2019” by Status Labs. Status Labs. 2019. https://statuslabs.com/managing-online-reviews-9-dos-and-donts-for-2019/
Jeff Williams is an SEO Project Manager at Fruition. He uses his deep understanding of SEO and internet marketing to guide clients, optimize websites and ultimately improve search rankings. Jeff continues to focus on understanding the technical aspects of SEO factors that affect website rankings in the major search engines. He has recently found a passion in local marketing and helping business carry out effective digital marketing strategies, taking a lead role in developing Fruition’s local SEO services.
President & Founder, Tru Family Dental
Marketing, Dependable Cleaners
President & Founder, Family Travel Association