What You Need to Know About SEO and Reviews
Good SEO services can cost you $500 a month or more. As a small business owner, you know you need to see the results to justify spending that much.
Luckily, there are a few different things you can do to boost your SEO. Some of them are even free.Of course, you still want to know which ones actually work. To that end, you may be wondering, “Do reviews impact my SEO?”
Let’s take a look at the SEO reviews connection.
Boosting SEO: Reviews Do Help
So, do Google reviews help SEO?
The short answer is yes. Local reviews are important to your SEO efforts. Why?
Reviews act as a form of social proof. Customers who leave you a review are vouching for your business. They’re saying “I’ve been here and I recommend this company.”
Google and other search engines want to direct their users to trustworthy companies and sites. Social proof can help them sort which sites are trustworthy and which sites aren’t.
The use of reviews and other forms of social proof in the algorithm is based on people’s own perceptions. Would you go to a restaurant that had no reviews on Google? What if there was a single, one-star review?
We value the opinions of other people. We use that information to help us make decisions about products and services. If a new restaurant is highly recommended by many Google users, you’ll probably want to check it out.
Knowing this, Google’s engineers added social proof as a factor to the ranking algorithm.
The Connection Isn’t Straight-Forward
There’s a longer answer to how reviews can influence your SEO efforts. While Google and other search engines do take social proof into account, the relationship is a bit complex.
First, you have the fact that SEO is influenced by many factors. Google, for example, uses hundreds of factors to rank pages. Online business reviews are just one of those factors.
Next, each search engine’s algorithm is a little different. That means they treat social proof and social signals differently.
Google’s algorithm tends not to put much emphasis on social signals. Yahoo! and Bing give these same factors more weight.
So, a local review may help your SEO a lot in Bing’s rankings. It won’t be quite as important for your Google rank though.
Finally, no single factor is a sure shot to getting the top spot in the search results. You may get lots of Google reviews, but that doesn’t mean you’ll shoot up the rankings. Google is still measuring other ranking factors.
Reviews Are Still Important
Reviews still have an indirect impact on your SEO. Users trust other people’s reviews and recommendations. Good reviews usually translate into more clicks.
Search engines also use that statistic to determine your ranking. The more popular a site is, the better it likely fits what users are looking for.
Search engines also track dwell time and bounce rates. If people see good reviews, they’ll click. They may then spend a fair amount of time on your site.
That also tells the search engine that your site has what its users are looking for. Other SEO factors, such as the speed of your site and mobile-friendliness, lower bounce rates and increase dwell time.
Reviews on Trusted Sites
Another important factor in improving your SEO with reviews is to think about where these reviews are.
Reviews on Google mean more to a search engine than reviews on your own site. Other sites, like Facebook and Yelp, are also important.
Some people trust these sites more than they trust even Google. Google reviews are quickly becoming the gold standard though.
Many people still turn to Yelp, which started out as a site strictly for reviews of local businesses. Facebook’s focus on social gives reviews credibility. People feel the reviews on these sites are more genuine and trustworthy.
What about Bad Reviews?
It’s clear that reviews can help your business SEO. What about bad reviews though?
Bad reviews can certainly be upsetting, especially if someone seems to be complaining for no reason. You may worry these reviews will hurt your business.
A bad review definitely isn’t a good thing, but you should see it as an opportunity. If someone expresses concerns, you can respond to the review and try to address them.
You should always be professional when you respond to reviews. A negative review can be upsetting, but you should try to work things out with the customer.
Google has confirmed that responding to reviews also influences your SEO. It also showcases your awesome customer service skills. This can increase people’s trust, even if they’re reading a bad review.
Getting More Reviews
All right, now for the tough stuff. How do you get more reviews for your business? After all, you want reviews to be genuine feedback from real customers.
You can simply ask for Google business ratings or Yelp reviews. It really is that easy.
If you run a bricks-and-mortar store, you can print a reminder on the bottom of receipts or drop a flyer in a bag. Online, you can send an email or ask customers to provide a review when they finish a transaction.
You may want to offer an incentive to customers who leave a review. Maybe you can offer them a small discount or provide them with another perk.
You should also perform a review of your business’s online rankings. Your website may be listed in places you’ve never heard of. These sites and their reviews can still impact your SEO ratings.
Review Your Way to SEO Success
Now you know the SEO reviews connection and why getting reviews are so important for your business. Whether they’re on Google or Yelp, your customers trust online reviews.
Add reviews and other forms of social proof to your SEO strategy today. By doing so, you increase your chances of SEO success.