Whilst the truth is that as with all areas of SEO, only Google know for certain what they actually look for when taking the reviews of businesses into account.
However, our experience tells us that there are 6 key areas. To help narrow this down, we have drawn up a list of 6 areas to target below.
No. 1 – The Number of Reviews
It is fairly clear that Google loves to have popular businesses ranked near the top of its rankings wherever possible and one of the easiest (and in theory most accurate) ways to do assess this is to factor reviews into their ranking algorithm.
When all things are considered, it is difficult to argue against the fact that popular businesses are more likely to serve a greater number of clients than less popular businesses.
If you can generate a higher number of (positive & genuine) reviews, you have a good chance of forging ahead of your competition in the quest for rankings.
No. 2 – What Do Your Reviews Say?
There are a number of ways that the content of the reviews left on your profiles/citations can impact Google’s ability to find them. The use of positive words and phrases along with words relating to your line of business can both be extremely helpful.
Whilst we understand that any attempt to try and control the content of your customers’ reviews is wrong on a number of levels, a little detail about the level of service and the actually services that your business has provided can go a long way.
No. 3 – Keep Things Fresh & Diverse
A large number of reviews saying ‘Excellent service, happy to recommend and use again’ may well be complimentary and may also be true, a bit of diversity wouldn’t go amiss though! Also, whilst Google Maps & FB reviews are of obvious importance, the generation of reviews on a variety of different platforms is also likely to be beneficial. Yell, Yelp, FreeIndex, Thomson Local & FourSquare are all highly reputation sources.
No. 4 – What Type of Picture Do Your Reviews Paint of Your Business?
This may be surprising to some people but having 5* reviews across the board is not actually as important as you may think it is. Google always aims to provide the most accurate results and with the best will in the world, no-one pleases everyone all of the time!
Whilst aiming for the top and offering the best possible service to all of your customers is certainly advisable, the chances are that from time to time, someone is going to have an experience with you that is less than they hoped for. This does not have to be your fault in any way but the modern world often means that people are more likely to put pen to paper (in a digital way!) if they are angry than happy.
Therefore, a few negative reviews may even help to create an air of realism about your business.
No. 5 – Who Has Left The Review?
Did you know that reviews from members of the Local Guides Program are likely to carry extra weight? A review left from someone who regularly uses the account on that particular platform is highly likely to carry more weight than a review from someone who leaves a review and never uses the account again.
No. 6 – Velocity
A BrightLocal survey highlighted the fact that ‘73% of consumers think that reviews older than three months are no longer relevant’. Whilst Google does not remove reviews from an account for much longer than that, it’s worth bearing in mind that a steady drip feed of reviews over a prolonged period of time is much more likely to be beneficial than a deluge over a short period and then nothing for months.
Tapping Into Customer Feedback
We are now firmly in the grip of the digital age and a very strong case can be made regarding the fact that online reviews have largely taken the place of word-of-mouth referrals.
Such is the ease of access that potential customers have to the internet through their smart phones, tablets, PCs and laptops, it has never been easier to seek out online reviews of products and services offered by various companies all around the world — including people who have used your business in the past.
If you run a business, you have the perfect opportunity to tap into customer feedback by providing your customers with the opportunity to leave their views regarding your products and services in the form of online reviews.
These reviews can either be sent directly to your website or Social Media pages, such as Facebook, Twitter & Google +, or to one of the many online directories which aggregate online reviews, such as Yelp or Yell.
Need Some More Help
Would like to find out more about dealing with poor reviews? Give the Footprint Web Design team a call on Tel. No. 01883 372488 today.