Online reviews are important for many reasons, mainly because of their ability to impact your rankings in local search engines and how they affect which search results rank highest. This makes online reviews critical to your SEO strategy.
We live in a world where your online reputation can either make or break your business. Employers, customers, and clients constantly check Google before making important decisions. Review content is significant to customers. In fact, 95% of customers read product reviews before they choose to purchase something, and 58% of these shoppers say they are willing to pay more for products that have good reviews (Global Newswire).
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Responding to Good Reviews
Many great things can happen when you take the time to respond to positive reviews. As a business owner, this is an excellent way to show your customers that you are friendly and caring and helps market your business. At the same time, this gives your SEO a little boost. Here are some essential components you should include in your response:
- Always thank your customers. Tell them you appreciate the positive feedback and thank them for their business.
- Acknowledge what the customer has included in their review with a personalized response. You want people to know that their response is from a human and is not an automated message.
- Include your company’s name, location, and services to help boost your response’s SEO. For example, “At Shelley Media Arts, we are proud to be one of Melbourne, Florida’s best Digital Marketing Agencies.”
- Market your company’s product or service. Use this as an opportunity to invite this particular customer back. Encourage them to try a new service or refer a friend or family member.
See this example:
Responding to Bad Reviews
There may be times when your business leaves a customer feeling unsatisfied. Responding to an unsatisfied customer’s concerns allows you to turn a negative review into a positive one. Customers may be more likely to make additional purchases or refer your business to a family or friend. Prospects will see your willingness and ability to solve problems, ensuring you are caring and trustworthy. Here are some important components to consider when responding:
- Respond as promptly as possible. This will help solve issues quicker and more efficiently.
- Thank your customer. Reviews may not always be positive. However, it is essential to thank your customer for taking the time to leave you a review and for identifying any potential weaknesses within your business.
- Acknowledge and admit your mistakes. Be sure to apologize clearly. Don’t make excuses for your customer’s poor experience.
- Identify what you’re going to do to fix the issue. Don’t just apologize. Figure out an appropriate resolution for the customer. Consider leaving them your customer service contact information to show others you are willing to go above and beyond to please your customers.
- Avoid using SEO-related terms like your business name, location, and services. It is best if this review does not appear in a Google search.
What not to do:
What to do:
Review Spam: What is it?
Unfortunately, review platforms like Trustpilot, Yelp, Google Business, Facebook, etc., are subject to spam. Review spam occurs when a user writes a fake or fraudulent review that misrepresents the business or their interaction with the business.
Users write fake reviews for various reasons, such as extortion or blackmail, revenge, manipulation of search engine rankings, protest or punishment, and altering public perception.
Here are some examples:
- The reviewer may have a conflict of interest as they appear to be associated with the business they are reviewing, potentially providing a misleading and biased perspective to influence public opinion.
- The reviewer may be affiliated with a competitor of the business they are reviewing, potentially undermining the integrity of their review.
- The reviewer has not engaged in any transactions with the business they are reviewing and appears to be posing as a customer to assist or harm the business.
- The reviewer was provided with an incentive, either monetary or otherwise, which influenced their sentiment and introduced bias into their review.
- The reviewer had a transaction but is inaccurately describing the details of it; it appears that the reviewer may have a personal agenda to damage the company’s reputation.
- The reviewer fails to adhere to the guidelines set forth by the platform on which they are writing their review, potentially including personal attacks, hate speech, or advertising.
It is important to note that a review isn’t considered spam when it is left by a genuine customer who experienced a legitimate transaction and the review adheres to the policies of the publishing platform.
How to Identify Spam Reviews
Spam reviews can be challenging to identify, but they feature some elements that cause them to look different than legitimate reviews. Fake reviews utilize strange patterns, language, timing, and numbers. They might also include obvious threats and guideline violations.
If you receive a review that you suspect to be spam, the best course of action is to report the review to the platform. The platform will evaluate the review; if they identify it as a form of review spam, they will likely remove it.
We strongly advise against reporting genuine reviews that portray a negative experience. Follow the steps outlined above to address negative reviews.
Putting This to Action
Whether your business receives positive feedback, negative feedback, or spam, you should always take a moment to respond. By sharing your acknowledgment and gratitude, you build trust and expand your community, all while reaping the benefits of an effective SEO strategy.
Looking for more ways to improve your SEO? Check out our SEO Guide below.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on October 5, 2018, and has been updated with fresh content.