class=”p1″>Customer reviews are important for a lot of reasons. First and foremost, they are highly influential over consumer’s purchasing behaviors and overall brand sentiment. According to recent research from Bright Local, 86% of customers seek out customer reviews before they will buy from a new business. Furthermore, the vast majority of customers claimed that they trusted online reviews just as much as they would a personal recommendation.
Of course, most businesses know that having a lot of good reviews can boost sales by strengthening consumer confidence in their business. However, positive, authentic reviews can do a whole lot more than just build trust with customers who are checking out your product/service pages. They are also an essential ingredient to an effective SEO strategy.
Here are four reasons why your brand needs to incorporate more authentic customer feedback into your website for SEO benefits.
1. Third-Party Sites Can Build Up a Network of Backlinks
As you probably know by now, backlinks are a crucial part of Google’s ranking system. If your site has multiple inbound links from reputable sites, this signals your website’s own credibility to Google, and it can help your rankings on the SERPs. According to Moz’s latest report on Google’s algorithm, link signals make up 16.5% of the ranking factors that Google takes into consideration. This is why creating a hearty external linking strategy is so important.
By having feedback published on sites like Yelp, Google Business Reviews, and other third-party review sites, your website can rank higher because your name is featured on multiple platforms verified by Google. Since the reviews on these third-party sites cannot be changed or deleted by the brands themselves, customers are more likely to view this as more authentic feedback than the reviews posted on the business’s own website.
Getting reviews on third-party sites can also increase your brand’s searchability, especially if they are comparing you to a competitor using a common review resource. It is also important that you uses these third-party sites to publish more detailed customer reviews. Some third-party sites will ask for more detailed feedback, such as the pros and cons of the experience or star ratings for various aspects like the customer service and overall value of the product. This creates more content for customers to consider and compare to competing brands, while simultaneously creating more backlinks on external sites for higher search rankings.
2. Customer Reviews are an Opportunity for Long-Tail Keywords
Incorporating more long-tail keywords into your website is a great way to boost your rankings. Long-tail searches (phrases that contain three to four keywords) are actually the vast majority of Google’s monthly search volume, so the more these phrases pop up on your website, the better the chances are that it will rank high on the SERPs.
Featuring customer reviews on your website (especially on product pages) is a fantastic way to rank for keywords that consumers are most likely to be searching for. When customers are looking for a product, they tend to use keywords and phrases that are also used by reviewers.
For example, when searching for a pair of yoga pants, a customer may enter a query like “best yoga pants for long legs thick fabric.” A link for compression high waisted leggings from the athletic clothing retailer Prana pops up near the top of the SERPs because one of the customer reviews mentions that the material is thick and that the leggings were long enough for their tall frame.
This matches up perfectly with the customer’s search query, and therefore the customer is likely going to check out the link.
3. It Can Establish Your Website’s Credibility
Online reviews are highly influential on consumers, so they are more likely going to click on sites that feature lots of feedback. This type of transparency builds up your site’s credibility with both new and existing customers.
According to the same Moz report we talked about before, review signals make up over 15% of Google’s local ranking factors, outweighing other major players like keyword titles, domain authority, and click-through rates. The quality, quantity, and frequency of this feedback shows Google how reputable and trustworthy your business is. If your website is constantly refreshing and updating with new reviews, it signals to Google that you are highly active and that customers are using your website frequently.
4. It Generates More Accurate Information for GMB
Your Google My Business (GMB) data is actually the most important signal for your website’s ranking ability. Again, this information is coming from Moz’s research, which found that GMB signals make up over one-fourth of the ranking factors for a website. Information like your company’s location, hours of operation, contact information, business titles, and so on are all gathered from various resources to make it easier for customers to find the services they are searching for.
Lots of this information can come from customer reviews, especially if your business has a physical location. For instance, details about the ambiance of a restaurant (casual, fine dining, great for date nights, etc.) or how expensive the products are will typically be gathered from customer feedback. Some GMB pages even show super detailed information from customer reviews like the noise level or hours when the business is busiest.
GMB uses customer reviews from multiple sites such as Facebook, Google, and Yelp to create generalized pieces of advice for searchers and provides genuine reasons for potential customers to visit your business. Therefore, you need to encourage customers to leave detailed reviews about this kind of information on multiple sites. Be sure that your marketing team has a post-sale follow-up strategy in place to encourage customers to leave reviews on their experience so Google has more data to work with.
Customer reviews are one of the best SEO tools these days. However, they must be used strategically to have the greatest impact.
Be sure that your marketing and customer service team knows how to gather quality feedback and knows where to publish these reviews to increase their visibility and usefulness. Incorporate them throughout your website to boost keyword-friendly content and send stronger signals to Google to help your ranking and search-ability. And of course, be sure you are doing your best to offer an exceptional customer experience that leads to genuine positive feedback to build up your brand’s reputation.
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