Any business owner must find ways to gain a competitive edge in today’s rapidly evolving market. A key aspect of today’s digital marketing is optimizing your pages for strategic keywords. However, SEO-optimized pages do not guarantee high rankings. Here’s where online reviews come in.
Reviews on the Internet have become increasingly important in the past decade. According to studies, around 97% of consumers today read online reviews before making a purchase decision, making online reviews an essential part of any (online) business. Positive reviews provide credibility and social proof to a business, but they also drastically improve your presence in search engine rankings.
There is no denying that online reviews affect search engine rankings. Approximately 10 percent of Google’s overall ranking factors are derived from online reviews, confirming that they are essential to an online business’s visibility. The number of positive reviews on a website can increase its click-through rate (CTR), which is an important ranking factor for search engines. Increased CTR increases a website’s chance of ranking higher in search engine results, directly impacting sales and revenue.
Customer reviews have become crucial to every serious business’ SEO and marketing strategies. Companies can improve their ranking in search engine results, boost their brand reputation, and increase sales by consistently soliciting positive reviews from satisfied customers. Many companies also rely on online reputation management services and positive review services.
Don’t make it difficult for customers to find you on search engines.
The effect of negative reviews
Negative reviews can impact a company’s reputation and even scare off customers, drastically impacting revenue. It has been reported that 86% of customers read negative reviews, with 40% choosing competing businesses as a result. You will soon realize that negative reviews negatively affect search engine rankings and customer decisions, even if you don’t know the math.
Rather than downplaying negative reviews, companies should turn them into opportunities to improve their businesses. How? Respond to every single negative review. When you respond to negative reviews, you demonstrate that you care about your customers’ experiences and are willing to go the extra mile to resolve issues. By ignoring negative reviews or responding badly, you may encourage more negative feedback and further undermine the trust that your customers have in you.
It is important to monitor negative reviews, but they should not always hinder a company’s growth. Rather than being regarded as a negative aspect of online feedback, they should be treated as opportunities to solve problems and enhance customer loyalty. We have prepared a free guide that will allow you to master the art of responding to negative reviews and turning problems into opportunities. The guide includes a template and 5 examples from which every business owner can learn.
The value of positive reviews can be compared to the value of word-of-mouth recommendations. As opposed to word-of-mouth, which occurs person-to-person, online reviews can be seen by hundreds or even thousands of people around the world. In a study conducted by ReviewTrackers, 72% of consumers trust a company with positive reviews and most customers don’t trust companies with lower than 4-star ratings. Hence, businesses with high-quality reviews greatly benefit from conversion rates and SEO benefits.
How to harness the power of positive online reviews
There is no doubt that businesses must produce quality web content to attract customers, but they must also make sure that they are getting feedback and reviews from satisfied customers that are both consistent and frequent in order to grow their business. A lack of (positive) feedback could prevent search engines from finding your web content suitable for potential visitors, ultimately hindering your SEO efforts.
Building an effective review management strategy will help businesses harness the potential of positive reviews. Some of the basic steps are explained below.
- Reviews should be encouraged on multiple platforms. For businesses to succeed, they must encourage customers to leave reviews on various relevant platforms, such as Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, and TripAdvisor. This approach increases the number of reviews received and the likelihood of reviews being noticed by more search engines.
- All reviews should be responded to. Businesses can demonstrate that they are active in engaging their customers and willing to improve their experience by responding to reviews. It’s important to pay attention to all reviews, whether they’re positive or negative. This can also help you get new customers.
- Invest in positive reviews. Online reviews can give you a serious edge over your competition. Countless companies actively purchase positive reviews to boost sales and search engine rankings, as explained in our article about fake reviews and where to buy them.
With these steps in place, businesses can establish a solid online reputation and web presence.
Your online ratings should always be 4.5 or higher.
A few case studies to keep in mind
Business owners can leverage positive reviews to grow their online reputation and ranking in search engines. Here are some examples of companies that have benefited from positive reviews:
- Amazon reviews. With over 300 million active users globally, Amazon’s fame and reputation are largely due to user-generated content. A key component of this is the company’s product review system. According to a study by Survata, reviews considerably impact customer purchases, with 90% of consumers indicating that they consult reviews before making a purchase on Amazon[^2].
- Airbnb reviews. Through its user review system, Airbnb has been able to build trust among its users. In order for potential guests to make informed decisions about where to stay, the company provides a platform for hosts and guests to leave each other reviews after each stay. In order for future guests to have an accurate view of a property and host, Airbnb encourages guests to write honest reviews.
- Yelp reviews. With Yelp’s emphasis on user-generated reviews, consumers can find recommendations for local businesses, including restaurants and cafes. Review relevance is determined by Yelp’s algorithm, which filters out fake or biased reviews, and influences how prominently they appear on the site and in search results. Additionally, Yelp’s search results favor businesses that engage with their customers and respond to reviews.
- Facebook reviews. Mostra Coffee, a coffee shop in San Diego, used Facebook to encourage customers to leave positive reviews. By doing so, they maintained a 4.8-star rating, leading to increased website traffic and a loyal following on social media. According to a study by ReviewTrackers, businesses that maintain positive ratings on Facebook have an average of 26% more engagement with their audience.
- Trustpilot reviews. By leveraging positive reviews on Trustpilot, Nanoleaf, a smart lighting company, increased organic traffic by 400% and generated 92% more sales. Positive reviews were displayed on their website, social media channels, and Google Shopping page. As a result, their SEO rankings improved and their customer loyalty increased.
- Tripadvisor reviews. Businesses that regularly respond to customer reviews and add photos have a 17% higher booking rate. Tripadvisor also predicts that hotels with 4 stars will receive 20% more bookings than those with 3 stars. Tripadvisor’s 4.9-star rating for Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, a luxury resort in Mexico, has helped them attract new customers and improve their search engine ranking.
These examples prove that positive reviews are essential to building consumer trust and can substantially impact a business’ search engine rankings.
4 Key Points you should never forget
If you want to stay ahead of competition, these four key points should be imprinted in your mind:
- Review sites such as Facebook, Trustpilot, and Tripadvisor can significantly boost a business’s reputation, brand awareness, traffic to its website, and search engine rankings. Results are even more significant when the reviews are posted regularly and contain keyword-enriched content.
- A positive reputation is built on responding to customer feedback and managing online reviews. Businesses can demonstrate that they care for their customers and are willing to listen to their concerns by responding to both positive and negative comments.
- Establishing credibility with potential customers can be accomplished by regularly displaying positive reviews. In addition to attracting new customers, positive reviews can help retain existing ones.
- Companies often use fake reviews to boost their online reputation artificially. In highly competitive areas and markets, this is a widely-used practice that enables businesses to stay competitive.
A business’s success depends heavily on online reviews in today’s digital age. Positive reviews on online platforms can increase search engine rankings, attract new customers and improve online reputation. Customers must be encouraged to leave reviews for a successful online review strategy. Ideally, your business pages should be receiving fresh and recent reviews on a regular basis.
The management of online reviews can be challenging for businesses, but it is essential for success. The proactive approach businesses can take to this task can help them enhance their online reputation, improve their search engine ranking, and drive traffic to their website. Businesses can establish credibility by responding to customer feedback and displaying positive reviews on various platforms. Reputation management software can automate and streamline these processes.
By implementing these tactics and incorporating feedback, businesses can boost customer loyalty and strengthen their online presence.