Search engine optimization (SEO) is a critical component of any digital marketing strategy because it allows businesses to increase their organic search result rankings on websites like Google and Bing. The higher your website or listing ranks in search results, the more visibility, traffic, and visits you can expect.
There are SO many ways to increase your website’s SEO value, and believe it or not, one of these ways is to respond to customer reviews of your business. Although several other factors influence search rankings, positive customer reviews signal to search engines that your business is competent, authoritative, and trustworthy.
How Customer Reviews Impact SEO
SEO is the process of making your website more “search-engine-friendly” in an effort to outrank your competitors and drive more traffic to your website.
According to BrightLocal, 77% of consumers regularly read reviews when browsing for local businesses. Furthermore, 89% of consumers are more likely to become a customer of companies that respond to all of their online reviews.
Transparency is important to the majority of consumers. The more open and honest your review responses are, the more clarification you can convey to potential customers. As a result, when people search for a company like yours, their trust in your company will grow, giving you an advantage over your competition.
Search engines take into account various factors when determining which businesses rank higher than others in search results. These factors include relevance, proximity, and prominence.
Relevance determines how well a search query matches information about a local business. For instance, if a user searches for the “best office chairs in wichita kansas,” search engines will show results for the best and most legitimate companies that sell office chairs in Wichita, Kansas.
Proximity takes into account the distance between a searcher’s location and a business’s location to select the best company for their search query. The closer a user is to a local business, the more likely that business will appear in the search results.
Prominence is based on customer interactions with a business. Online reviews are among the most popular ways people convey their experiences with a company. Search engines read customer feedback, and the algorithms determine whether a business is worth recommending.
Search engines aim to provide the best search results for their users’ search queries. As a result, the factors it relies on to produce credible search results are frequently the same factors customers use to determine if a business is trustworthy.
However, customer reviews aren’t the only factors that search engines consider. While positive customer reviews will help you appear more trustworthy, your responses to those reviews will also assist you with search results and customer acquisition.
The Importance of Responding to Customer Reviews
Responding to reviews makes a difference to searchers and informs search engines that you are a respectable business.
According to Google itself, responding to customer reviews shows current and potential customers that you value everyone who does business with you and that customer appreciation is an integral part of your business model. Whether the customer review is positive or negative, responding to reviews can be incredibly beneficial in showing potential customers that your company values customer happiness and retention.
Responding to your reviewers is an excellent way to rank higher in search results, especially if you’ve slipped behind your competitors. Furthermore, responding to reviews also builds trust with search engines. Your responses to customers inform search engines that your business is actively responding to customers, which is excellent for your website’s SEO value.
Here are several other ways that responding to customer reviews can affect SEO.
- It tells search engines what your website is all about
- It improves your click-through rate
- It increases your traffic
- It is an opportunity to incorporate valuable keywords
- It builds trust
- It increases your SERP rankings
It Tells Search Engines What Your Website Is All About
When building a website, having rich, detailed descriptions on all of your pages is crucial to effective SEO. These full descriptions make it easier for search engines to recognize and crawl your website, increasing the likelihood it will appear to users.
Customer reviews do the same thing. Not only do your reviews let search engines know what your website is about, but your customers can even fill in any gaps your content may have missed. Furthermore, search engines evaluate customer review volume, recency, and diversity metrics when recommending businesses to other users.
It Improves Your Click-Through Rate
The backbone of SEO is high-quality content, and customer reviews are an excellent example. As customers leave reviews, search engines will see that you are an authoritative website, increasing the probability that your business will appear higher in search results.
Additionally, if a company responds to customer feedback, whether good or bad, online users will see that the company stands behind its commitments while also addressing issues and grievances from customers.
It Increases Your Traffic
For many people who use online search engines, reviews are crucial. In fact, 50% of smartphone users who perform a local search will visit the business within 24 hours, according to Search Engine Land.
As a result, users who see positive reviews are more likely to trust and click on your website in search results. This increase in traffic communicates to search engines that your website is authoritative and worthy of a strong search ranking.
It Is an Opportunity to Incorporate Valuable Keywords
Search engines read reviews and keywords to learn what the business does to determine its relevance to a specific user search query. While inserting particular services or a company name with a location helps the algorithm show your listing to other potential customers, reviews are rich in inadvertently placed keywords, which helps search engines determine what your business is all about.
It Builds Trust
Search engines place a lot of trust in what other people say about a business. When a customer writes an online review, it tells search engines that real people have interacted with a particular company. In turn, your responses prove to search engines that your business is active, which is favorable for your SEO strategy and search rankings.
In addition to search engines, reviews also build trust with customers. Online reviews help people determine whether or not they want to visit your website or do business with you. When users freely offer similar opinions about a company, potential customers will see the comments as a social endorsement, increasing the likelihood of them doing business with you.
It Increases Your SERP Rankings
One of the most beneficial aspects of responding to reviews is that it can help you rank better in local search results. Responding to reviews not only shows the algorithms that your company is trustworthy and authoritative, but it also shows new people that your company interacts with its customers and cares about their experiences.
Responding to reviews has also been shown to boost your ranking in local search results, resulting in more significant traffic to your website.
4 Tips for Responding to Customer Reviews
Keep these expert tips in mind when responding to reviews on your Google Business Profile (formerly referred to as Google My Business) and other online review sites.
- Respond quickly
- Use templates for automated responses
- Express your gratitude
- Record all customer feedback
Responding quickly is crucial whether you receive a negative or positive review from a customer. Responding shows that you value customer feedback and are grateful for what they have to say about your business.
Responding quickly to customers also gives you the chance to elicit more feedback by inquiring about specific features, unique experiences, or minor issues of contention. This will not only offer you helpful information, but it may also result in more positive feedback for your company.
Use Templates for Automated Responses
Brands with a large audience are frequently inundated with customer reviews and testimonials, which makes it difficult to respond to each one individually. Creating a variety of positive and negative response templates can save time and effort if you have hundreds of reviews.
However, response templates aren’t ideal in every case, and it’s critical to remember that each response must feel unique. Always greet customers by their name rather and avoid generic messages that may not seem genuine to online users. You should also create a system to determine which reviews to respond to personally.
Express Your Gratitude
Responding to reviews provides an opportunity to convert satisfied customers into ardent supporters. Expressing gratitude to a customer who left you a good review is just as important as responding to negative reviews.
When responding to a review, inquire whether the customer is willing to share their review with others. Alternatively, ask them whether you can share their review on your company’s social media pages. Sharing their experiences with their audience is a great way to increase customer acquisition.
Record All Customer Feedback
Lastly, reviews provide opportunities for businesses to learn more about their customers and the ways they use their products or services. A positive review can teach your staff just as much as a negative review can.
Negative reviews emphasize the most pressing problems with your customer experience and what customers believe you can do to fix them. On the other hand, positive feedback informs you of what your business is doing well and what you should keep doing to retain customers. Recording feedback to improve your customer service without jeopardizing their favorite features is essential.
RSM Marketing Makes SEO Easy!
Customers are only as loyal as the value they receive from your business. Demonstrating to customers that you respect their comments and take time out of your day to acknowledge their experience goes a long way. Whether dealing with good or bad reviews, engaging with your customers and responding to online reviews is an excellent (and FREE!) way to boost your website’s SEO value.
If you want to improve your search engine rankings and attract more visitors to your website, RSM Marketing is here to help.
We know how difficult SEO can be, especially when considering Google’s constant algorithm updates. SEO can be a fickle, complicated process, which is why we want to do it for you! Our team of in-house experts loves a challenge, and we want to make your life easier.
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