Your business’s online reputation is extremely important. It can help prove your company’s commitment to delivering quality products, services and customer support. It could also damage your brand and its credibility. How can you best establish your reputation to potential customers? The answer is simple, but not one many businesses always like to hear.
Open yourself up to real-life feedback – the good, the bad, and the ugly – by encouraging public reviews. Not only are ratings an essential piece of the puzzle for customers to learn more about your business and the value of your solutions, but it can also benefit your SEO strategy.
How Ratings Impact on SEO
The number of stars you receive isn’t the only thing that can help your business’s reputation. When a review provides valuable feedback, it often includes relevant keywords and phrases that can aid in organic search. In addition to product information, Google crawls on-site review content and uses it to analyze the value of a business and its products and services, which can contribute to placement in search results.
So, if a review description includes relevant product keywords and local geography mentions, Google will give it a higher position in the search engine result pages (SERPs) as a reward. What can you do on your end to control the quality and content of your reviews while making a good impression on Google? Respond to them and do so in a timely manner. This not only indicates that you are a constantly updating your website (which Google likes to see), but it also gives you the opportunity to include more keywords associated with your brand by using them in your response.
In addition to keywords, reviews can also build brand trust and increase engagement with your website. This can help reduce bounce rates, which can send positive signals to Google and support your ranking in results.
Now that you know all the benefits that ratings can bring to your company from an SEO perspective, explore how you can best manage them.
Manage Your Ratings in 4 Simple Steps
1. How to Choose a Review Platform
Before you begin requesting reviews from your customers, you need to provide them with a platform that allows them to easily give feedback, and that helps your business monitor and manage. While Yelp and Google are popular, it takes dedication and commitment to ensure consistent and timely responses across multiple different platforms. Bearing such a high impact on the reputation of your brand, it can be beneficial to instead utilize a third-party solution like Trustpilot or Birdeye to automate certain functions and be notified whenever a review is submitted about your company.
2. How to Encourage Ratings
Once you have selected your desired platform and have seamlessly integrated it with your website, it’s time to encourage your customers to leave their reviews. Unfortunately, the majority of people only will go out of their way to leave a review if they had a negative experience. When it comes to sharing a positive review, customers often need a little push. Luckily, over 70% of consumers will leave a review for a business if they are asked.
There are many different ways you can request your customers to leave a review. For instance, you can include a review request on post-purchase landing page. Or you can create an email campaign to follow up with the customer after a purchase or service has been completed. Some platforms allow you to ask specific questions to the customer, so you can have a little more control over the types of responses you get to benefit your SEO strategy. A platform like Trustpilot helps surface reviews to potential customers by including star ratings via rich snippets next to product pages in the search engine results. Also supporting visibility, Birdeye creates personalized, SEO-optimized profiles to further encourage reviews and build your brand. The more evident your rating platform is, the more likely you will get reviews.
3. How to Analyze Feedback
When you start receiving a collection of ratings, it can feel a bit overwhelming. However, learning the best way to read, interpret and respond to this feedback will help you grow as a company. Some sound strategic advice is to keep calm and take advantage of any constructive criticism. If you take a defensive approach to responding to reviews, not only can it make you look bad, but if can keep your company from making necessary improvements. Look for some key takeaways and create a strategy for how you can improve your products or services. And within a timely fashion, always leave a response back.
4. How to Respond to Customers
There is a method to the madness when it comes to responding to customer reviews. Whether the feedback is positive or negative, it’s important to identify opportunities to put a positive spin on the response in order to benefit your brand image. Customers just want to feel valued, so if you reply in an understandable and respectful way, it can mend a damaged relationship and even help generate new ones. Take a look at everything your response should encompass:
Start off every response with:
- The name of the customer
- A reference to the customer’s unique experience
When it comes to a happy
customer, make sure to:
- Thank them for their response
- Invite them to come back again
When it comes to a frustrated
customer, make sure to:
- Apologize and acknowledge their feelings
- Leave an exit so you can take the conversation to a private platform
- Provide a solution, such as a discount, return or related offer, depending on the nature of your business and review
- Encourage them to leave a follow up review
When managing negative reviews, it is essential to make any resolution formed known to the public, even if the customer doesn’t decide to leave a follow up. This is a critical step as it shows the public you have taken every effort to resolve the issue. If executed properly, other viewers will see this and respect the fact that you took ownership of the situation.
Stop Running from Reviews & Start Embracing Them
Learning what people truly think of your business can be scary to open yourself up to. But in the long run, it’s going to help potential customers feel more confident in your brand, and it can even strengthen your business. Give our step-by-step guide a shot the next time you come across a rating score from a customer. Need help adding your Trustpilot or Birdeye widget to your website? Contact us and we can provide support along with a variety of additional marketing solutions to make your SEO strategy a success.