Online customer reviews have consistently been shown to have the most impact on search rankings, especially for local search. A study in collaboration with the University Of California Irvine found that online reviews, or rather the keywords used in them, were the most important factor in local search, particularly with the Google Local Pack and Google Maps. And that means a better click-through-rate and more conversions. Here’s how they work.
How Online Reviews Help Your SEO
- They are a source of fresh and relevant content. You’re well aware that one of the main things a search engine considers is how often you put new content on your site and how relevant it is to the subject. But if you’re not always adding new products or have the time or budget to post regular blog articles, what to do? Why, you let your customers do it for you. You can feed online customer reviews to your website, social media sites, and review platforms to generate the fresh and relevant content you need, and you can automate the process, showing that your sites are active and valuable to your customers.
- Reviews generate SEO attributes for you. You use all the usual tools to boost your search ranking including keywords, internal links, and backlinks. Online reviews put your customers to work building links and writing keywords to enhance your SEO so you don’t have to.
- They help you choose long-tail keywords. Most of your keywords are general search terms that are very competitive. Long-tail keywords are more specific and much less competitive and easier to rank for. Determining which long-tail keywords are effective can be a problem though. Analyzing your online reviews allows you to determine the phrases your customers actually use when talking about you to create better long-tail keywords.
- Reviews are good for both auto and manual SEO. Search algorithms and spiders aren’t the only things scrutinizing your site and your online reviews. Google uses real people called search quality evaluators, judging things like reputation, expertise, popularity, and honesty, among other things. Positive customer reviews are effective for both rating methods.
- They increase click-through rates and conversions. Surveys have shown that the star rating displayed in search results is the first and most important factor that consumers consider when evaluating a business, and one study has shown that a good star rating can boost your click-through rates by as much as 35%. Yet another study by the Spiegel Research Center found that positive reviews can increase conversion rates by 270% on average.
Online customer reviews are a powerful tool to enhance your SEO efforts and increase click-through rates and conversions, but only if you employ the resources to make effective use of them.