Gone are the days when keyword stuffing and optimised alt-tags were enough to get you ranking for popular keywords. Google is ever-evolving and customer reviews have fast become an integral part of SEO for businesses. If you're not yet collecting, now's the time to start.
6 Benefits Of Reviews For SEO
You don't need us to tell you how important SEO is to succeeding in the online marketplace. With Google's featured snippets, direct answers and suggested videos to contend with, it's more important than ever to do everything in your power to keep up. Travel videos for your doughnut company may be off the menu, but there's one thing that certainly isn't: reviews.
Today we're introducing you to the many ways that reviews can benefit SEO and boost your Google rankings.
1. Customer feedback = more keywords
You've probably never thought of your customers as content creators, but after reading this, you just might.
Instead of seeing reviews as feedback alone, see them as content - that's how Google sees them, after all. Every time a customer leaves you a review, Google is provided with fresh content to crawl. Be it good or bad, it's likely to contain keywords relevant to your business, product, services or even location. This helps Google gain a clearer picture of what your business does, enabling it to better position you in the SERPS.
The knock on effect? Often higher rankings for your target keywords (thanks to the keywords density in reviews) and an increased CTR due to a better user intent match.
2. Have the edge on your competitors (& improve your CTR)
Whilst your competitors focus their SEO attention on website navigation, coding and search terms, tap into reviews and there's a huge opportunity for you to get ahead.
Collecting reviews and installing rich snippets on your website will transform your listings in the SERPs. They'll appear as Rich Results listings, which means any reviews you've collected will show up as golden stars underneath your listing.
Who doesn't love a splash of gold? These luxurious-looking icons will grab the attention of searchers and draw them to your listin. But they'll do more than make you stand out alone - whilst it’s easy to challenge claims made by the brand itself, it’s incredibly difficult to dispute reviews left by real people. Reviews = more brand trust which often leads to a higher CTR than your competitors, regardless of your positioning in the SERPs.
But what does all this mean for SEO? Well, a higher CTR is one of Google's ranking factors. The more people that visit your site, the more you're likely to be seen as 'popular' by Google. As Google likes to provide users with the best experience possible, it's likely you'll see a bump up in your rankings off the back of this increased traffic.
3. Google trusts reviews
Throughout the last 5 years or so of SEO, one thing has remained a constant: the importance of high-quality links. Whilst it's not links specifically we're talking about here, the basic principle is the same when understanding the importance of a good review.
Google’s pretty clever and has developed a way of understanding reviews just as searchers do. Positive reviews signify to Google - just as a ink would - that your site/product/business is of high quality and are, therefore, highly valuable.
It's no coincidence that Google often shows businesses with high volumes of quality reviews first - it all comes back to wanting to offer its users the best experience possible from start to finish.
Focus on providing great service to your customers and collecting high quality reviews off the back of that, and you should see yourself appearing at the top of results in Google.
4. Responding to reviews increases interaction
Whilst Google can often be quite ambiguous when it comes to letting us know the ins and outs of ranking factors, of late, it's publicly encouraged the collection of and responding to reviews. Google's My Business Support Pages states, "interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business." Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business - and we're certainly not ones to argue with Google.
Responding to reviews serves benefits SEO in multiple ways:
- Even more keywords for Google to crawl.
- You're seen to be regularly interacting with your customers which could signal a fresh, frequently-updated website.
- Responding to reviews successfully can encourage customers to change a bad review, or even delete it, which will help your overall review positioning and could improve CTR - one of Google's ranking signals.
5. Genuine customer reviews impact bounce rates
As many webmasters and SEO specialists are aware, a high bounce rate is a huge killer of SEO rankings. Well, what if we were to tell you that 105% of visitors are more likely to make a purchase on your site if reviews are present?. Reviews increase both consumer knowledge and brand trust and thus people are likely to spend more time browsing your site and be convinced enough to convert. The result? A lower bounce rate and higher Google rankings.
6. Benefits of reviews for local SEO
Whilst it's true that reviews have an impact on every business' SEO, for local ranking, they become even more important.
This is primarily to do with the layout of local business reviews. As they contain much less information than a standard listing with a meta description, reviews become a key indication of quality for searchers, as well as helping you to distinguish yourselves from your competitors. As 48% of people visit a company’s website after reading positive reviews, you're likely to see an uplift in traffic of the bottom of this, which is another Google ranking signal.
Adapt or fall behind
The moral of the story? SEO is always moving, and you can't afford to have a stationary strategy - reviews are essential if you want to stay ahead. Whether you offer services, products or a bit of both, reviews do and will greatly influence the way people interact with your listings and website, both directly and indirectly impacting your SEO efforts.