Do Online Reviews Affect SEO?
Have you ever been so sure and set on a purchase until you scrolled down and read the customer reviews?
They might read a little something like this:
As hilarious as some reviews may be, studies have shown that 93% of consumers base their purchase decisions on the opinion of others. We know why online reviews are important. They help companies build credibility and enable consumers to make informed decisions. A study showed that 91% of 18- to 34-year-olds trust online reviews just as much as they’d trust a personal recommendation.
How much can a bad review cost you?
Aside from influencing consumer decision-making, online reviews play a big role in SEO. Like any good SEO strategy, reputation management is more important now than ever in a constantly evolving online-based world. Bad reviews can cost your business real money. In an instant, a single person can cause a review to trend or go viral on platforms like Facebook and Twitter where posts can be shared in a second. Just ask United Airlines that had a public relations disaster when the airlines damaged singer/songwriter Dave Carroll’s guitar and refused to pay for it. Carroll decided to take action and wrote a song titled “United Breaks Guitars,” which became a runaway hit with more than 19 million views. The video cost United $180 million in shareholder value and United’s stock fell by 10 percent.
The Impact of Online Reviews on SEO
Positive or negative reviews can affect where a business falls within search rankings. Search engines like Google have a fluctuating formula that determines organic ranking. While it’s hard to crack Google’s algorithm, what we do know is that Google places trust in consumers and not businesses. Google uses online reviews to gauge your brands’ popularity, authority, and trustworthiness. A site that has lots of good reviews sends Google a signal that your business is not only legitimate but also that consumers are having positive interactions with your brand. Adversely, a site that has lots of bad reviews will tell Google that your brand isn’t imparting the best solutions for your consumers. This will cause your search ranking to drop.
To determine where your website will show up in search results, quality backlinks are a strong factor. When websites get links from other relevant sites with high domain authorities — Google sees it as a vote of trust.
More Traffic, More Conversions
If you’re preparing for a date night and deciding on which local restaurant you want to eat at — are you more likely to go to a restaurant that has 2-star reviews or 5-star ones? More than likely, you’ll choose the best-rated restaurants. That’s because positive reviews allure more consumers to check out your brand and thus results in higher traffic. When Google sees the flow of positive engagement, the increase in traffic will boost your conversion rates.
Search engines crawl your website with “spiders,” that read and interpret data to help connect consumers to businesses. The more quality, keyword-rich content you have, the more information search engines like Google have to work with. Thus, when consumers write online reviews about your business, Google is learning more about your products and services and can tailor your brand to consumers that are searching for a solution.
Take Advantage of Review Sites
Although it may be uncomfortable to directly ask consumers to write a review, generally speaking, people love to share their opinions! Within the e-commerce world, 63% of consumers are more likely to pull the trigger and make a purchase if a website has reviews. This is why review sites are your friends. Review sites like Yelp, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and Google My Business are some of the best customer review platforms to pay attention to. When googling “best Greek restaurants near me,” Google will display top review sites like Yelp to help consumers make a decision. Taking advantage of review sites can be a powerful tool to increase the volume of consumers clicking on your website.
Deleting On-site Reviews
With the ability to delete reviews nowadays on on-site platforms, it may be tempting to get rid of negative reviews. However, we recommend against doing this. Reviews help consumers weigh the pros and cons of a product and service. Consumers are more likely to still purchase a product that they fully and accurately understand than one that is fabricated. Plus, it’s fishy to display nothing but glowing reviews and consumers often will see through it. Brands like global, fast-fashion clothing empire Fashion Nova, have been accused of deleting and filtering their negative reviews from their website. With an automated system that only accepts four and five-star reviews, consumers have started to leave 5-star ratings on their products, but with negative written reviews.
In essence, happy consumers do your best marketing. The more keyword-rich content, quality backlinks, and “data points” you have, the more you’ll convince Google that your company is popular and more importantly, trusted by consumers.
Contact TOTAL today to learn more about the benefits of online reviews and how it can improve your business!