Most marketers tend to think of search engine optimization (SEO) as being all about content creation. That notion isn’t a bad one – you generally will have to write articles, pages, and reports if you want to rank highly on Google – but it isn’t the end of the story. In fact, you can attract visitors to your website using content you haven’t even created yourself.
Don’t worry, we aren’t about to advise you to scrape or copy ideas from your competitors. Instead, we want you to think about the different ways you could use online reviews to boost your SEO efforts.
SEO and online reputation management (reviews) are often thought of as being completely separate things, but that isn’t the way Google and the other search engines see it. Reviews are valuable buyer-driven content that searchers like. They tend to show up in search previews, meaning they can be seen by potential customers before they ever visit your website or profile. And, reviews demonstrate engagement and authority, which gain more weight every time Google updates its algorithm.
You probably already knew online reviews were important for your business, of course, but if you’re like a lot of the new clients who come to us you might have imagined the quality and quantity of your online reviews were out of your control. That’s simply not the case. Here are some things you can do to boost your SEO campaigns, and your bottom line, using customer feedback…
1. Get More (and More Positive) Reviews
There are really two important things you can do to get more and better online reviews for your business. The first is to simply have completed profiles on all the major platforms. These include local review sites like Yelp, as well as social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. The easier it is for buyers to find you, the more likely they are to share their experiences.
The second thing you can do is make a point of asking your customers to leave positive feedback if they’ve had a good experience. The unfortunate truth is that most of your customers won’t think to say something nice about your business unless you specifically ask them. However, customers who are very unhappy are more likely to vent online.
2. Invite Customers to Be More Specific
While this point follows along with the first one, it’s important enough to mention on its own. When you do ask customers for reviews – and specifically the buyers who know your company best – see if you can get them to be as specific as possible with their praise. Don’t just fish for compliments; see if they’ll share a specific experience, detail, or aspect of your company they appreciate.
Specific testimonials with lots of details resonate more strongly with potential buyers. That’s doubly the case if the reviews can be verified, meaning they can be traced back to a real person who obviously isn’t a compensated reviewer.
3. Respond to New Online Reviews
As your review profile grows, take a few minutes a week to comment on new feedback that pops up. Be sure to give a quick “thanks” for customers who complement your business, and promise to do better if you receive some sub-par comments. Instead of getting mad about them, think of them as suggestions you can follow to make your company stronger. You should only ever dispute negative online reviews in the rare cases when a reviewer has confused you with another business or gotten important facts wrong.
Don’t worry about going back and responding to old reviews that are more than a few weeks old, though. Doing so just makes it look like you didn’t care enough to comment at the time, so it’s better to be consistent going forward.
4. Using Reviews for Improved Search Visibility
Online reviews are powerful in their own right, as more than 90% of buyers say they will look for them before trying a new business or service. However, when you actively encourage them you magnify their power and create organic, searchable, and keyword-rich content that can help your website to gain visibility on Google. That’s just what you need to attract more leads and sales from the internet.
At The Marcom Group, we know what it takes to put together quality content. Our team is big enough and experienced enough to get the job done but without unnecessary expenses or overhead.