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How to leverage customer reviews to boost your SEO performance

Carli Burr

We all know that customer reviews are marketing gold dust. From Amazon product reviews to local business reviews on Facebook, Yelp and Google, researching product and services reviews is now a critical part of the buyer journey. 

But most businesses don’t leverage the power of these customer reviews effectively, and as a result, they miss out on the massive SEO benefits they can have for their organization. 

In this post, we’ll look at how businesses can fully harness the power of customer reviews to help boost their SEO performance.

Why customer reviews matter

Sure, having lots of glowing reviews is great for business. But there are other not-so-well-known SEO benefits customer reviews can have for an organization. 

For example, increasing the number of customer reviews you have also positively impacts your SEO performance. When it comes to determining search rankings, Google’s algorithms look at several different elements of customer reviews: 

  • the number of reviews
  • the quality of the review
  • how recently they were made
  • how frequently you receive them

The best way to check all these boxes is to ensure you’re getting lots of positive reviews on a consistent basis. 

These reviews also have an impact on your ability to rank in Google My Business local listings. In fact, reviews account for over 15% of the ranking factors that Google uses. Reviews on local websites (like Yelp and Yellow Pages) also contribute to rankings, with more than 6% of the ranking weight coming from these sites. 

And don’t forget the importance of voice-based searches. For people looking for ‘best rated’ or ‘most reviewed’ businesses, Google will pull data from reviews left online in the local ecosystem, on sites like Google My Business, Facebook and Yelp, as well as other crowd-sourced review platforms, to decide what they will playback for voice-based search results. 

Customer reviews also influence map search results. Data shows us that companies with Google My Business reviews that show up in a Google local map pack on the first page will outperform their competitors with no reviews. 

Lastly, Google can pull in data from Facebook, Yellow Pages and other sites to appear on your Google My Business listing. Just one more reason it’s important that you continue to generate lots of positive reviews on every review site you’re listed on. 

Creating a customer review campaign

You know why customer reviews are important. So how do you optimize them to improve your SEO performance?  Like any other marketing effort, your approach to leveraging customer reviews should be strategic. 

First of all, ensure there is a seamless way for customers to provide feedback and an easy way to collect it. This involves meeting customers where they are – with in-person, on-premise options, or virtual and online options. Ensure the questions are phrased in a way that encourages honesty, so they can leave both positive and negative feedback about their experience. This will help your reviews look authentic and help to build brand trust. 

By asking customers for feedback, you’re providing them with a way to further engage with your brand and show that you care about what they think and how they feel. This gesture alone can help to build brand equity and loyalty. It also generally leads to fewer negative reviews left online. 

If you do receive negative feedback, address it quickly and provide solutions to help resolve the problem. Customers who leave negative reviews and receive quick feedback and a resolution can even become brand advocates for you in the future. 

Next, consider which platforms are most important for reviews. Google My Business is crucial for any organization, but other platforms will also be important depending on your industry. For example, if you work in hospitality, TripAdvisor will be a key platform. And if you run a dine-in restaurant, you’ll want to ensure you’ve got top reviews on sites like OpenTable. 

How to get started

So you’ve got a ton of great customer reviews. Now what? Our team of search experts can help create a killer SEO strategy for your business, leveraging those excellent reviews to help drive more quality organic traffic to your site. Get in touch with Creative Guild today to find out more.