Why Reviews Matter to You, Your SEO, and Your Bottom Line

Online reviews are important, but just how important? Not only do they build your digital reputation, but they impact your SEO, as well as your bottom line.

Online reviews are important, especially if you are a retailer or own an online store. They are how people check out your service and product before they buy. But did you know reviews also have an impact on your SEO, and ultimately, your bottom line? That’s a lot of weight to put on a few 5-star ratings. Fortunately, getting and managing reviews isn’t hard when you have a solid brand to back you up. Read on to discover:

  • How Consumers Interpret Reviews
  • How Reviews Impact SEO
  • Getting More (Positive) Online Reviews
  • Managing Your Ratings

How Consumers Interpret Reviews

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93% of consumers say that online reviews affect their purchase decision

The online world is so saturated with information, it can be easy to think that people don’t pay attention to online reviews, let alone allow them to influence their purchase decision. Well, think again. According to Shopify, 93% of consumers say that online reviews affect their buying decision.

One key thing to remember is that, when a person reaches a point to which they start looking at online reviews, they probably already know what they want to buy and what they need to use it for. So what online reviews do is they bridge that mental gap between deciding that they want to buy this product and actually hitting the purchase button.

A recent survey by BrightLocal suggests that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they would a personal recommendation! In addition, 68% make a purchase decision after reading between one and six reviews.

How Reviews Impact SEO

Caption: Reviews are impacting your local SEO!

Reviews can have an affect on your local SEO. This is because Google’s search algorithm collects data from quite a few third party rating websites, such as Yelp and TripAdvisor. And, according to a survey done by Moz, review signals have a 13% impact on local rankings.

The reason that online reviews from outside websites play such a big role in SEO ranking? Well, when it comes to third party websites like the ones mentioned above, they review the entire business, not one specific product. This wholistic review carries a greater weight than a review for just one product. It has a bigger impact on your business, too, because if your business as a whole has a lower rating then it could turn potential consumers away from your entire brand.

Getting More (Positive) Online Reviews

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Take opportunities to get more reviews!

You can see how reviews affect both a consumers buying decision and local SEO. So let’s talk about how you can get not only more review, but more positive ones!

Get Visible Star Ratings

Search Engine Watch says, “When star ratings are displayed in Google search results, prospective customers can instantly judge whether they can trust your product enough to visit your site. This helps increase the traffic, and possibly the sales”. Getting a good star rating can be tricky, though. You should have around 30 different reviews a year, and an average of 3.5 stars.

Go Big or Go Home

You’ll want reviews to be on the most popular and trusted websites. Some of the most critical review platforms are:

Say “Please”

It’s fine to ask for reviews, but you do have to be careful about it. Yelp does not want businesses to ask for reviews, but Google doesn’t have an issue with it as long as there’s no payment or gifts involved.

When you do ask for reviews, make sure you are asking the right people- loyal customers, not just one-purchase buyers. Be polite, and don’t make your audience feel pressured. A few ways that you can ask for reviews include…

  • Sending an email request a few weeks after the time of service
  • Have a “Review Us” link on your website or online profile
  • Giving out cards, receipts, etc. that request a review at the time of service
  • Asking in-person at the time of service

Managing Your Ratings

It’s important to stay on top of and manage your reviews

Managing your ratings is no small task, in fact, it requires a well thought-out plan and strategy. But with a strong plan of action, managing your reviews can boost SEO and bring customers in!

Catch the Bad Reviews Before They Come

There’s a tremendous amount of power in owning your own business. You have the chance to catch the bad reviews before they even happen! 57% of complaints are about bad customer service or employee behavior, so minimize your bad reviews and focus on delivering positive, attentive, top-notch customer service.

Have a Plan to Deal With Complaints

It’s great to try to prevent bad reviews, but unfortunately they will still happen. When a one star rating comes your way, have a strategy to deal with it! It’s worth it to respond to the customer (it’s 25 times more expensive to earn a new customer than to retain an old one) and try to mend the relationship. When responding to a negative reviews DO apologize, accept responsibility, offer something to make amends, and express commitment to fixing the issue. DON’T blame the customer (or your staff), use unprofessional language, or refuse to apologize.

Turn the Negatives to a Positive

Don’t let a negative review get you down- instead, try to turn it in to a positive thing! Perhaps this negative review really is highlighting a weakness in your business, so use it as a catalyst for change in your operations that will make your business stronger. Take the opportunity to have a team meeting and discuss different ways to improve your customer service.

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Don’t overlook the importance of online ratings

Online reviews are important. Not only do they affect your reputation, but they boost local SEO ranking and impact your bottom line because consumers are more likely to purchase from a business with great ratings. Get more reviews by targeting third party websites such as Yelp. Having a strategy to manage reviews is a must- especially one to deal with negative reviews. Once you have a strategy under your belt, continue to manage your ratings and just watch how they improve your business!

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