04 May 2022 By By Alice Davies
As an eCommerce company, you’ll no doubt already understand the importance of online reviews. Customers like having that reassurance - and it’s a cost effective way of promoting your products and services online. As with any kind of online content, reviews come with their own difficulties, from managing negative reviews to ensuring all platforms are monitored.
But what you might not have considered is how effective reviews can be for SEO - giving your online presence that much-needed boost (without a lot of effort). Although online reviews aren’t the only factor when it comes to search engine optimisation, they do contribute to it, helping improve your site’s visibility and providing your customers with the information and trust factor they need.
Let’s take a look at the importance of reviews for SEO and how you can improve your quantity, quality, and truthful online reviews.
In short, yes. Whether you’re a local business, or global company, online reviews not only provide trust factors to your customers - they also provide trust factors to search engines too. Think about when you search for something online. Whether it’s an ad or Google Shopping listing, the ones that stand out the most have those attractive star ratings.
So it’s not just SEO that reviews can help, but also your PPC efforts and online reputation as a whole. More (good) reviews mean that consumers are more likely to click through to your website, whether that’s via an ad or organic listing. Whichever way they choose to enter your site, the consumer becomes more aware of your brand and likely to click on you again in the future, due to recognition alone.
In order to help improve your SEO efforts, you can’t just rely on reviews to organically come through. Although this will happen, you need a strategy to ensure a steady stream always occurs - and from genuinely happy customers too. According to BrightLocal, 70% of consumers will leave a review if asked - this is a substantial amount and worth the effort of asking.
Make sure your review process is automated. Having a system or workflow set up that allows you to schedule emails to go out a few days or weeks after a consumer has purchased something, will help push for those reviews. This workflow can be drilled down even further to ensure you recognise when someone has flagged a return, or made a complaint about a product or service.
Find out how your customers prefer to be contacted. If they’re more receptive to SMS messages, send a link to your review platform that way. Just make sure it looks like it comes from your company and doesn’t flag up as spam.
Don’t make the review process difficult either. You want to encourage detailed reviews, but most individuals don’t have the time - unless they have an incentive or they’re complaining. Asking for details is important, as this can help with your SEO efforts. Simply asking for a star rating and short description might not get you the results you’re after.
Don’t be afraid to ask more than once too. If a customer is genuinely happy with a product or service, they may just need a quick reminder to review. Keep it lighthearted and engaging to ensure you get the optimal results.
You should always have a strategy in place to know how to respond to negative reviews. Even the best companies in the world, with the most exquisite products, aren’t immune to negativity online - whether it’s warranted or not! Your responses are important because it shows customers how you deal with complaints or returns.
From an SEO perspective, it flags up to Google, and other search engines, that the reviews you’re receiving are honest; you’re not just paying for them or getting fake reviews uploaded. Much like link farms back in the day, search engines have matured slightly and are pretty clever at spotting dodgy links and reviews.
Did you know that 49% of consumers trust online reviews as much as if their friend had recommended a product? That’s almost half of your audience
Let’s take a look at some of the top review platforms that might be useful for your business. Remember, although you don’t have to be actively driving reviews to all these platforms, you still need to be monitoring them, as any negative feedback can affect your reputation and SEO efforts.
This fantastic, free platform is ideal for managing reviews if you have a local business. Google is the most powerful search engine in the world, as well as being the most visited website - so it makes complete sense to ensure any reviews that occur here are managed and publicly responded to. From an SEO perspective, it can help aid efforts to make sure your business information is updated and consistent (just make sure it matches your contact info on your website, social media channels, and any other online footprints).
Feefo is recognised as a trustworthy reviews platform. You can also integrate Feefo with your website, so reviews pull through. This is great if you’re looking to use reviews as a selling technique on your site. Just make sure you stay on top of them and encourage consumers to submit reviews there, via automated emails after purchases. Particularly for fashion retailers, Feefo works well.
Since 2007, Trustpilot has been one of the largest and most trusted review platforms. And it’s still the same to this day. Consumers flock to the channel to submit reviews - both good and bad - and companies are able to manage their business page, much like Google My Business. However, in order to respond to review and really manage your online reputation, you’ll need to splash out for the paid version.
Selling online? Which? is easily recognisable to many consumers as THE place to go to really find out how well a product or service works. Which? works for the consumer and is only interested in offering fair and truthful reviews of products and services. From air beds to solar garden lights, there’s not a lot that Which? doesn’t cover.
Yotpo focuses on user generated content, including automated emails and AI. Customers ask and answer questions, building a trustworthy community for new consumers. This is great for SEO as it keeps users on site, rather than going to an external reviews site for validation. Many of the questions asked generate search results too, allowing your website to appear for relevant terms. You can also learn a lot from what your customers are asking, and create unique content for your blog or social media channels.
If you’re looking for a review platform that encourages consumers to discuss their experience with your brand from start to finish (we’re thinking automotive for instance), Reevoo is the platform for you. Customers can still review at product level, but also review their entire buying journey, from initial contact to decision. Great for brands who are completely focused on user experience, rather than simply pushing products.
eCommerce business looking for a great review platform? Look no further than Bazaarvoice. Customers are able to leave completely unfiltered reviews and add images if necessary too. You’re able to respond to reviews easily, managing your reputation and keeping customers happy. With plenty of eCommerce integration, it’s easily implemented too.
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