Can Online Reviews Help My Website’s Search Ranking?

Online reviews can help improve your website's search engine ranking. Read our tips for getting more positive reviews and combatting the negative ones.

The concept of reviews for products and services is not new. You’ve most likely read or even left reviews for a good or service in the past.

Now more than ever, reviews are an integral part of your company’s online presence. Failing to deliver on the promise you made to your customers can be a death sentence for your business. Too many bad reviews and potential customers will take their money and shop elsewhere.

Positive reviews are what you need to stay competitive.

The Importance of Online Reviews

Today’s consumer will do their own research about you and your business before making a purchasing decision. Often, this research leads to reviews.

A Majority of Consumers Read Reviews Before Making a Purchase

leave a review

Did you know that almost 90% of consumers will read a review before moving forward with a business? Additionally, over 70% of consumers will only make a purchase after reading a positive review.

Knowing these statistics should be encouraging for you and the quality services and products you provide.

Search Result Rankings and Reviews

Many different factors contribute to a website’s search engine rankings. Google has over 200 ranking factors that make up its algorithm … reviews are included. While there isn’t a specific list of how ranking factors are weighted, we do know they provide a major impact. So don’t overlook this crucial element of your brand marketing.

Make sure you focus your efforts and improve:

  • Number of reviews for your business
  • How often a review is submitted
  • Number of websites where your business has reviews
  • Quality of the person leaving a review – do they review other businesses regularly or are they a one time reviewer

Stay Positive!

It’s no secret that you should strive to receive lots of positive reviews from your clients and customers. But, the real challenge is getting them to take the time and submit a review.

Overcoming the Challenge

What is the best way to receive positive reviews? Simply asking your customers!

Let me share from previous experience: At one point, I worked for a multi-family housing company (a fancy phrase for an apartment complex). In addition to our daily tasks, we were expected to get reviews from our resident. These ranged

overcome bad reviews

from maintenance service request completions to lease renewals to overall satisfaction of the community. I’ll be honest, we struggled getting reviews. Not that we struggled getting positive reviews, but that no one really wanted to participate in the surveys. Our sister properties were getting reviews and survey completions like it was all you can eat night at the seafood buffet. People were leaving reviews left and right.

This created a dilemma, as part of our performance was based on the number of reviews we received – and we were losing face. Finally, my team reached out to the manager of the top property in our region to find out what their secret was to all the reviews.

The answer was simple: just ask for it.

So, with that new bit of information, our team began the process of asking every resident to leave us a positive review on the survey. Within weeks, we were on track with our numbers, and we saw vast improvement in the quality of our review scores.

What Does All This Mean?

Basically, it all boiled down to the residents not feeling like they needed to complete the survey. Once we verbally requested the review, and explained the importance, our residents were gladly willing to leave reviews for us. They just didn’t have an incentive before.

Now, that doesn’t mean that we gave them anything above great service, but the resident felt connected to us personally and wanted to help us succeed. Now, had the residents been upset with our service, the results might not have been so great.

Always follow up with your customer by sending an email a short time after you have completed your business transaction with them. This will help build a good customer relationship that should both help you repeat business and receive more positive reviews.

How You Can Take Advantage of Positive Online Reviews

Keep a list of satisfied customers who you think will leave a positive review. While you can never be too sure of their actual review response, you shouldn’t actively seek reviews from unhappy customers.

Have your customers leave you reviews on multiple review sites like Google, Yelp, Angie’s List, or any others that are pertinent to your industry. Send out an email to your customers with a quick message about the service or good that you provided and then link to the review site you wish them to use

It’s as simple as that.

Remember that the more positive reviews you get, the more it will improve your website’s visibility. Don’t be satisfied with getting a few good reviews and a star rating. Try to get as many as you can without becoming pushy.

What Can I Do If No One Wants to Leave a Review?

Give them a reason!

Create a giveaway or some other incentive for leaving reviews. Set up your rules so that leaving a review is the qualifier for the contest. There are creative ways to get your clients to engage with you. Just tailor your approach to your audience and the results will come.

Overcoming the Negative

You’ve probably read many bad reviews. This is because people LOVE to tell their horror stories and “get back” at those who they feel have wronged them.

Think about the last time you had poor service somewhere. Likely, you told your friends how bad the experience was.

Now, can you remember the last time you raved about someone’s great service? Probably not. That’s because great service is expected. That is one of the main difficulties with overcoming negative reviews – data has shown that people are far more likely to leave a complaint than they are to leave praise.

The best way to overcome negative reviews is to first, give great customer service and complete the job you are tasked with to perfection. Don’t leave room for negative critique.

Again, I will share an example from a previous employer. When I was in my early 20’s, I worked as an installer for a custom counter-top and cabinet company. In this particular example, I was part of a crew tasked with installing granite counters and a bar in a home. We had to tear out the old counter and re-install the new granite. The original counters had crown molding attached underneath the bar, which had to be removed before installing the new top. We pulled off the molding and set the wood pieces on the table next to where we were working and then completed the job.

Now, the point is that once we got back to the shop, our owner came to speak with my team and stated that the homeowner was displeased with his install. We all were confused and wanted to find out why.

Can you guess?

It was because we left the crown molding on the table. The client called our boss and stated that his table was damaged and that our company was responsible. No mention of how great the new granite counters looked or that everything else was great. The focus was on what we did wrong, as minor as it was. That was a valuable lesson learned.

If you leave any room for someone to complain, then chances are, you will get that complaint.

taken down by bad reviews

Don’t Get Taken Down by Negative Reviews

Unfortunately, there aren’t many options to help here. Google will not remove reviews from your business listing unless you submit the review to their quality assurance department. Only if they deem the review was malicious will they flag it and potentially remove it. Your only real option is to try and bury the bad review with positive ones. Basically it boils down to showing that this one bad review is exactly that, an anomaly.

Respond to Your Reviews

Regardless of your reviews being positive or negative, it is a good idea to respond to each one. Be careful with your emotions, as you don’t want or need to get into a text sparring match via your review element.

Suggestions for Responding to Negative Reviews

It is a good idea to thank them for their review, make a statement about how you are sorry that their experience was not up to their expectation. If you want to go further to remedy the problem, ask them to contact you to speak about the issue further. If you are able to come to a positive resolution, then the client may even be willing to update their negative review with a favorable one.

negative review response

If not, then you have tried and any potential client that comes across the negative reivew will recognize the effort on your part.

Responding to a Positive Online Review

This is an easy one! Thank your client, make sure you let them know you value their business and are hoping they are enjoying what you provided (don’t go into detail here for privacy reasons), and remind them to touch base with your company should they again need a service or good that you provide.

positive review response

Do You Need Help Improving the Reviews for Your Website?

Now you should have a better understanding of why your business needs online reviews and how it can help improve your overall search engine ranking. Remember that the opinions of your customers and website visitors provide value to Google and other search engines. Take advantage of these valuable resources and see how it helps the improvement of your website ranking.

If you are in need of reputation management, TheeDigital can provide that solution. Contact the internet marketing professionals at TheeDigital in Raleigh, NC at 919-341-8901 or schedule a consultation to find out how your business can benefit from strategic social media marketing.