All businesses want more visibility and sales, so it’s no surprise that SEO has become an increasingly important element of brands’ digital marketing strategies.

Good SEO practice not only introduces your site to more people but is also linked to an increase in site traffic and sales. While many businesses understand the SEO basics, many are missing a trick when it comes to incorporating user feedback to build their brand loyalty and credibility, not to mention the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). And it’s much simpler than you might think to implement.

SEO basics and brand importance

The days of the Yellow Pages and other physical directories have been replaced by search engines and social media. So much so that Google has reached the elite status of being not just a noun but a verb as well.

On the hunt for a new coat? Google it. Looking for a new place to eat out? Google it. Searching for recommended places to visit in a new city? You bet Google will have the answer.

Responsible for a whopping 75% of global search engine traffic, Google has firmly established itself as our go-to when it comes to queries, shopping and a trusted place for endorsements, so it’s imperative that brands have their websites in order.

Keywords, backlinks and positive user experience all count towards a brand’s ranking in Google. Consumers have learned to trust the top 5 organic search results, exercise caution before clicking an ad and rarely venture past the first few pages of results. Thanks to Google’s algorithms, users can be sure that they will be delivered the most relevant results for their search, making it a highly desirable place for brands to be.

Ultimately, the fewer clicks it takes someone to get to their chosen destination the better, as it confirms the relevance of the webpage to the user. Repeated actions like these can help brands crawl up Google’s rankings, but brands can also speed up this process by leveraging positive customer experiences via reviews and star ratings.

Boosting your position above competitors

While businesses are focussing their SEO attention on their website navigation, coding and search terms, there is also a huge opportunity for converting leads via Rich Results listings and Google Ads. Both results enable eye-catching review stars formed by customer ratings to be displayed, greatly contributing towards SEO.

The beautification of brand listings that showcase these qualities is proven to return higher website clicks than those without. Clean, quality and relevant ads with high star ratings and authenticated reviews quickly communicate the level of service and quality expected from a brand based on previous user interactions. This is also the case for stars found within organic listings which appear alongside company listings or relevant products.

Stars in Ads and organic listings via Rich Results are especially important when reaching new audiences and even have the potential to convert some of your competitor’s custom.

Subconsciously our eyes are drawn to the visual cue of a star rating. We simply can’t help it! At the same time, we clock the number of reviews left for this particular brand and do the maths that ultimately leads us to buy. If scores of people have rated this product or service as 4-5 stars, we’re likely to give them our custom. Heck, we might even spend more than were initially considering and establish new brand loyalty.

It’s easy to challenge claims made by the brand itself, but it’s incredibly difficult to dispute reviews left by real people collected via an independent review platform with a reputation linked to Google.

Quantifying SERPs with local reviews

While some may say the price of loyalty and recommendation is priceless, SEO goes a long way to quantify their value. The higher the search engine ranking, the more likely a person is to visit your website. The same is also true for bricks-and-mortar stores, who can increase footfall and sales by capitaling on strong Google rankings and consistent review ratings on local sites such as Google Local, Facebook and Yelp.

Google’s Knowledge Graph; the system that understands how people, places and things are connected, is key for determining which results are shown. Reviews left via a Google-licensed partner such as Reviews.io are highly influential here.

These days, people frequently turn to Google for their answer on where to eat, find the best flower delivery service or a family-run cafe when away from home. Despite Google’s Knowledge Graph serving them the most relevant results, people still need to make a choice from the 10+ options available to them. It makes sense then that they will look for secondary information within these results, like reviews left via local channels familiar to them, before determining who will receive their custom.

Our unique reviews solution enables you to actively collect reviews across these local channels, getting you stars there, and see them all from one place in your Reviews Timeline. Having control of your online reputation across multiple sites is vital not only because consistently high reviews evokes trust with new potential customers, but also because it helps you to outrank competitors and potentially gain their custom.

If you’re already delivering great services and you’re not encouraging people to write you a review, you’re likely missing out on reaching a potentially large new audience. Asking customers to share a few words on their experience by directing them to local channels can go a long way to obtaining a better presence and thus SEO, gaining you more custom and authority above competitors.

Trust your brand’s reputation to Reviews.io

Reviews.io is an internationally recognised Google-licensed review platform that enables you to collect, manage and publish your reviews all from one dashboard. We facilitate multiple ways of approaching your customers for reviews and ensure your review stars show within your Google Ads as Seller Ratings, and as Product Ratings in Google Shopping campaigns.

With organic searches the primary source of most website traffic, it’s essential that your SEO strategy is up to date and includes the validation of your customers using Rich Results to display stars. Our Rich Results-friendly badges and widgets enable you to create that social proof and traffic easily, bringing about greater CTRs, repeat purchases and trust to a new audience.

Blog summary

SEO is much more than optimising your website to adhere to Google’s page ranking algorithms. While keywords and backlinks are vital to ensuring your website is viewed favourably, search engines ultimately value how easy your website is to operate, how relevant your content is to people searching for your services, and how customers have found their experience shopping with you.

Encouraging reviews from customers during or after purchase is proven to positively impact your presence in Google whether that’s from Seller Ratings in your paid Ads, or as stars alongside organic listings or local review channels. This in turn builds trust with a host of new, potential customers who will hopefully go on to have their own fantastic experience and leave their own reviews.

While people have their own preferred methods of leaving reviews, Reviews.io’s Local Reviews solution enables you to actively collect reviews across Facebook, Yelp and Google Local which you can manage from one centralised Dashboard, as well as display on your website.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss how Reviews.io could enhance your business’ SEO through review collection, give us a call today or read our other articles. Alternatively, if you want to start seeing the benefits of reviews for yourself, sign up to a free demo using the button at the top of this page.