How Online Reviews Can Improve Your SEO
Search engine optimization, SEO, used to be as simple as stuffing a landing page full of redundant keywords in order to rank higher for relevant searches. However, search engines have since gotten wiser and now rank websites by the quality of their content– user generated content being among the most valuable. Therefore, genuine customer reviews can significantly improve a business’s SEO, placing them higher on the search results page.
Let’s take a look at the specific benefits online reviews have in regards to SEO:
1. More keywords
Reviews are known as user-generated content because customers are content creators too! In fact, they are often considered the most valuable creators as prospective customers often look for reviews when making a purchase decision. And Google recognizes this, which is why the search engine will scrape new reviews, good or bad, for relevant keywords. Customer reviews are saturated with relevant keywords, be it your company name, products, services, or other related search terms.
So, whether the review itself is positive or negative, your SEO only improves! However, you should always strive for positive reviews, obviously.
2. Enhanced competitor edge
Many companies think content curation is the only way to improve SEO. Therefore, while your competitors are focused elsewhere, you can boost your online ranking by generating customer reviews. You should start by collecting reviews on your Google My Business listing so you can improve your overall SEO, as well as your local SEO (we’ll discuss this later).
Then you should do some research to determine what other review sites are most important to your business. Once you’ve done this, consider implementing a widget on your site that displays all of your best customer reviews. This expands the opportunity of prospective customers reading your reviews, driving your traffic and clickthrough rate.
3. Google favors user generated content
Google looks at the quality of a customer review the same as it looks at the quality of a backlink. If a backlink isn’t relevant to its content or doesn’t provide any additional value, then Google doesn’t see it as an advantage. In terms of reviews, a negative review doesn’t benefit the user, therefore Google favors positive reviews. Google also looks for relevancy and frequency of reviews. Which is why local listings always start with businesses that have the highest number and most recent reviews, disregarding advertisements.
4. Review responses increase interaction
Google My Business advises companies to interact with their customers on their GMB listing by responding to reviews. Why? Well, while they do not explicitly explain this piece of advice, it is obvious that it gives the platform more information to scrape. Therefore, by responding to customer feedback, you not only engage your clientele but you could potentially boost your online ranking. Responding to negative reviews could even persuade the customer to change their feedback.
5. Reviews decrease bounce rates
Bounce rates can kill a company’s online ranking. Studies have found that showcasing online reviews can actually improve a business’s bounce and conversion rates. This is because reviews enable customers to gain knowledge and trust for a business before making a purchase. Therefore, businesses should display their best reviews on popular directories and their own website.
6. Local SEO
Local SEO refers to how local businesses are ranked in their area. For example, if someone from Dallas Google searches “dentists near me” only dentists in and around Dallas will populate. The dentists will be ranked based on their Google My Business review quality and quantity. Therefore, businesses with positive, frequent, and large quantities of reviews will appear at the top of the list.
SEO practices are ever-evolving, but one thing that will never lose its effectiveness is customer reviews. Businesses should prioritize review generation in order to maintain their online presence and customer reach.