How to Optimise Reviews for SEO

4 August 2020

It’s no secret that search engine optimisation can greatly improve the performance of your business. Reviews are a great way to improve your overall SEO ranking while also gathering more consumer trust and backing for your product or services.

How will reviews help my SEO?

As the top spots for Google become increasingly competitive, it’s more important than ever to do everything in your power to ensure that your search engine optimisation is up to speed.

Reviews have become an integral part of SEO for business as Google constantly changes their methods of ranking high-quality content. Additional keywords, rich snippets, authentic engagement, and trust are just some of the ways that reviews can help increase your SEO ranking.

But how can you control the SEO value of your business reviews when you’re not the one actually giving them? No, it’s not a case of creating fake reviews. There are many ways that your authentic customer reviews can add to your internal SEO strategy. Today, we’re going to take a look at what you can add to your review strategy that will give your business more value when it comes to your SEO.

How to think about SEO in your review strategy.

Collect reviews on multiple platforms

While it can be tempting (and sometimes even easier) to collect all your reviews in the same place, it’s not always the best strategy for your business. You may have your picture of the ideal customer, but the fact is that even your ideal target market will still be finding your business in various ways. By having unique reviews across a range of different platforms such as Google, Facebook, Trustpilot or your own website, your customers will be able to view authentic reviews of your business no matter where they find you.

Unique reviews across different platforms will also help improve your SEO. Google loves trawling the internet to find as much as possible about your business before choosing where you should rank. When a user posts a new review it creates a unique page of content for Google to investigate. More unique reviews across different platforms means a higher number of different keywords and data for Google to analyse and understand about your business.

It’s important to note that not all review platforms are ranked equally by Google. Factor in what platforms will be best for your business or industry and then see how they are valued by Google. This will help you consider how large or small a part they play in your overall strategy. We recommend alternating which platforms you want to target when asking for reviews to achieve your overall goals.

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Ask questions to guide review content

77% of customers say they would leave a company review if they were asked. But just 15% leave reviews regularly. So if you want reviews from your customers, it’s important to make sure you actually ask for them.

Every review includes different keywords to help describe your product and services to Google. Sometimes, these reviews can even fill in the gaps of content that may exist on your website. Which means your customers are boosting your SEO, ranking and overall visibility without even knowing that they’re helping you.

But if there’s one thing we know about content on Google it’s that the more keywords you can rank for, the better you will perform. A longer, more detailed review will bring more value to your business than a short review and star rating.

Consider adding questions to help guide your customer responses when you are asking for reviews. A few short questions, such as asking for the pros and cons, could be a great way to encourage users to leave a longer response in a user-friendly way.

However, make sure that if you are asking questions with your reviews that you are keeping it simple. While more detail and keywords can be beneficial, you don’t want to deter anyone from leaving a review in the first place. Longer reviews may be better than shorter ones; but a shorter review is still better than no review at all.

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Respond to all your reviews.

It’s no secret that responding to reviews is great company practice. It can increase your overall conversion rate, add more personality to your business, and give a higher level of trust to past and future customers.

Google themselves have spoken about the value that responding to reviews can bring to your business and ranking. We have to agree when they say that “responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business.”

Showing this value to your customers in your responses can also have hidden benefits. Knowing that their feedback and insights are valued means that future users are more likely to leave a review. Which in turn adds more content about your business for your SEO ranking, as well as more business authenticity.

But while responding to your reviews can improve the visibility of your business, knowing the best ways to respond to different reviews has benefits of its own. Addressing the user by name, being personal, and encouraging them to return will make for a good review response. You can even mention specific products or details in your response to add that personal touch with a few extra keywords for added benefit. The trick is to make sure you respond to every review, which leads us to our next point…

Don’t ignore negative reviews

Negative reviews can be just as important for your business and SEO ranking as positive ones. Google won’t just rank your reviews based on the quality of reviews (although this is important), but also on the number and diversity of your reviews. Just like having different reviews on multiple platforms can help your SEO, having a range of different review levels can also improve your overall ranking. It shows more authenticity and continues to add that extra data for Google to rank.

Receiving a negative review can often feel like a kick in the guts. But responding to them can help resolve disputes, show more value to the customer, and create an additional level of trust towards your business. Personalising your response, thanking the user for taking the time to leave a review, empathising, and even accepting responsibility where necessary are all ways you can respond to negative reviews to try and create a positive outcome.

It’s also important to remember that you won’t be penalised for negative reviews by Google as long as you have good reviews to balance them out.

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Avoid duplicate content

Embedding existing reviews into your website is a great way to make use of the tools that are available to you as well as improve your SEO ranking. Rich snippets allow potential customers to see your reviews before they’ve even clicked into your site. They’ve even been found to increase click-through rates by 20-30%.

Embedding reviews into your website also avoids one of the downfalls of SEO: duplicate content. Duplicate content is any content that is repeated across various areas of the internet. For instance, if you have a block of text on your website that is also repeated on your social media accounts, that counts as duplicate content.

Finding two sources for the same content means that Google has to choose which page it wants to rank as the top source of information. It also doesn’t guarantee that the original content is going to achieve the highest ranking.

Rather than copy and pasting reviews into your website, consider embedding them instead. This will have additional benefits as well as avoid any damage to your SEO.

Remember – SEO and reviews aren’t exclusive

Reviews are a great tool for any business and should be included in every marketing strategy. But it’s also important to remember that they don’t have to be exclusive to one part of your marketing. By considering your SEO goals and ranking in any campaign asking for reviews, you’ll be able to create diverse and unique content that makes your business more likely to come out on top.

Ryan Jenkins is the founder and CEO of leading Australian marketing agency Digital Eagles and has more than 15 years of experience in digital and marketing strategy, SEO and management.


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