There are many tactics your business can employ to boost your search engine optimization efforts. Did you know there are ways that customer reviews improve SEO? User generated content such as customer reviews are an often overlooked, but powerful way to to positively effect your search engine optimization. When you look at the statistics, it is hard to ignore the heavy influence customer reviews have on the buying decisions of consumers:
90% of consumers say positive reviews influenced their purchase decision. (Marketing Land)
82% of users visit review sites because they intend to buy a product or service and 89% make a purchase within a week. (Nielsen)
Businesses risk losing as many as 22% of customers when just one negative article is found by users considering buying their product. Three negative articles found in a search query brings the potential for lost customers up to 59% and four or more appearing in Google search results takes it up to a loss of 70% of potential customers. (Moz)
How Do Customer Reviews Help SEO?
What people see in search results for your business has a huge impact on the profitability of your company, products and services. As part of your SEO efforts, you must include the trust-building social proof that customers are looking for in the form of customer reviews and ratings. Understand that this is a winning strategy only after you have taken the steps to build a positive online reputation worth promoting. For effective reputation management, the optimal solution is to automate your customer review gathering and promotion to ensure your business is continuously gaining and posting the best reviews and highest ratings where you customers will see them.
By adding the promotion of positive customer reviews to your SEO strategy you are putting the information that customers are looking for in the first place they are looking – search engine results pages. We know that search engine users are looking at the first or second page of search engine results pages (SERPs) for information about a company or product. No matter how you do the math, the results are the same:
3 Ways to Use Customer Reviews to Help SEO
Enhance Your Appearance in Google Search with Rich Snippets
Using microdata and schema markups, search engines are able to show rich snippets in their search engine results pages. As Google in particular moves to a more uniform appearance for its search engine pages (READ: The New Google SERP Layout – Local Search Impact) paid ads are formatted to look very much like native ads. This makes it less clear where organic search results begin on the page. With rich snippets and positive reviews, you can make your website listing pop off the page.
You’ll easily spot a Yelp listing using schema markup to boldly display orange star ratings inside organic search results.
As a business you can leverage these rich snippets to greatly increase click through rates and bring more traffic to your website.
Generate Fresh and Unique Content for Search Engines
Search engines prefer unique content that is regularly updated and customer reviews create exactly that type of content. When customer reviews are posted on your site and review sites your business is building user generated content that Google will rank for relevant keywords. This helps your business rank higher in search results because search engines and search engine users will better understand what your business is about.
Increase Time On Site and Minimize Bounce Rate
In your effort to build trust with consumers, remember that users trust content written by real people more than the content written by your copywriters and product manufacturers. For example, millennials trust user generated content 50% more than other media so they actively search for this social proof. When you have customer reviews and testimonials on your website not only does your business draw prospective customers to your pages, but they also spend time reading these reviews and write ups. Compared to time spent skimming your marketing material, user-generated content is more thoroughly read and takes up more of the visitor’s time.
Having customer reviews on your web pages, you will be able to influence how visitors interact with your website. With positive reviews you will be able to build trust and encourage visitors to navigate your website for the comparison information on your products, services and features they will use to make their buying decisions. All this clicking around on your website lowers your bounce rate and exposes prospects to all your business has to offer.
Time on site and bounce rate are two factors that Google uses to decide if your content is useful. When you can increase time on site and lower your bounce rate, Google and other search engines will rank you higher in search results.
Add Customer Reviews to Your SEO Strategy
Businesses need to place a higher importance on customer reviews. Customer ratings in rich snippets help your webpage stand out and reviews and customer reviews create the fresh content that search engines are looking for. You’ll also see positive changes in your time on site and bounce ratings when done effectively.
From an off-page perspective, you’ll notice that pages from review sites will rank high for searches of your business and are an added benefit to adding customer reviews to your SEO. Plus, by continuously building on a strong base of customer reviews you can build social proof and minimize the effect of the rare, but often inevitable, negative review.
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